Alberto Nacif & Aguankó





Alberto Nacif & Aguankó

A Latin Holiday

  • $30 Assigned Rows 1-2
  • $20 Assigned Rows 3-5
  • $15 General Admission
  • $5 Student
  • Jose "Pepe" Espinosa, timbales
  • Rick Roe, piano
  • Pat Prouty, bass
  • Russ Miller, saxophone/flute
  • Anthony Stanco, trumpet
  • Alberto Nacif, congas
  • Chris Smith, trombone

Event Details

Aguanko will perform original Latin Jazz from their critically acclaimed releases Elemental (2013) and Invisible (2015), and from their upcoming Christmas Latin Jazz recording. Per the liner notes:

The Christmas season and its music have deep emotional ties to our childhood and to important people and events in our lives, along with spiritual and religious meaning. Our emotions can be joyful, contemplative, and sometimes bittersweet. I wanted to capture some of those feelings within the framework of Cuban rhythms, and discussed this with my friend and bassist Pat Prouty 2 years ago. I suggested the Christmas pieces and the Cuban rhythms that I felt would express the message in the song, and Pat Prouty dutifully took notes and within a week put together a masterful "Aguanko Christmas Book", to be played for years to come. As it turns out, not only are the evocative songs of Christmas and musicianship of the members of Aguanko on display here, but the formidable musicianship and arranging skills of Pat Prouty, Russ Miller (Santa Baby) and Paul Finkbeiner (We Three Kings) are the real gift. Pepe Espinosa again helped to produce this recording, and to create percussion breaks for the recording, and was again instrumental in getting the special sound that is in every Aguanko recording. We wish to celebrate this heartfelt holiday music with our families and friends, and send out our cool sounds with warm wishes to all!  

This performance is made possible in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and through the generous support of the Don Chisholm Friends of Jazz at the Kerrytown Concert House.

Jose "Pepe" Espinosa

Born in Havana, Cuba, Jose "Pepe" Espinosa in one of the best known and most versatile percussionists today. A veteran of over 80 recordings, his extensive resume boasts tours with Cubanismo, the Afrocuban All Stars,Arturo Sandoval, Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Frank Emilio Flynn, and many other orchestras and small groups. His vast knowledge as a professional musician in so many different settings along with his expertise in the recording studio make him an ideal partner in Aguanko’s debut recording “Elemental”. His musicianship and guidance have helped the debut recording to be a successful, high-quality release. His work in the studio included recording timbal, bongo, and small Percussion instruments, but also in mixing (along with Alberto Nacif and studio engineer Geoff Michael) to achieve the special sound of this recording. Look for Jose “Pepe” Espinosa’s first CD release as a leader later this year!

Rick Roe

Rick Roe won first place in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in 1994, was twice a semifinalist in Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, in 1993 and 1999, and has been a featured performer in the Jacksonville (Florida) Jazz, Savannah (Georgia) Onstage International Arts, Montreaux/Detroit Jazz, Birmingham Jazz, Lansing Jazz, Flint Jazz, and Hawaii Jazz (with Frank Morgan) Festivals.Read more.

Mr. Roe has served as an educator/clinician at the University of Arizona, North Texas University, Michigan State University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Michigan, and the Montreaux/ Detroit Jazz Festival. He has given performances with Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, Rodney Whitaker, Frank Foster, Andrew Speight, Wycliffe Gordon, Gerald Cleaver, Victor Goines, Louis Smith, Randy Gelispie, Vincent York, Wendall Harrison, Dwight Adams, and many others. His recordings include "The Changeover" (1997), "Monk's Modern Music" (1995), and "Sphere" (2005). 

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Pat Prouty

Patrick Prouty is a veteran bassist/composer from Detroit. In 1997, he earned the bass chair with legendary blues guitarist Johnnie Bassett. With Johnnie Bassett, Patrick toured the U.S., played his first gigs in Europe and got to work with pianist/organist Bill Heid. As Patrick’s profile as a bassist grew, he became interested in writing and arranging music. Along with his duties as a bassist, he began to write for many of the groups he was working with. He became the musical director of the Lucky Strike Swing Orchestra in 2001 and continues to write and arrange music for this eight piece group. In 2000, the Patrick Prouty Trio was formed as a vehicle to play Patrick’s own original music. The trio started working whenever Patrick was free from his duties as a sideman in the many groups he was playing with. With Bettye Lavette, Patrick toured relentlessly in the U.S. and made 24 European tours playing some of the most prestigious festivals all over the world including Bonaroo and the North Sea Jazz Festival.Read more.

In September of 2006, Patrick took his own working group, now a quartet, into Big Sky Studios in Ann Arbor to record nine of his original compositions. This session produced his first cd as a leader, The Charmed Life. Feeling the urge to lead his own group and play his own compositions, he left Bettye Lavette in October of 2007 to pursue his own career as a band leader. The Charmed Life was released in October of 2007 to rave reviews and won a Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording in 2008. New American Daydream, Patrick’s fourth CD as a leader was released in November 2012 earned the Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording. 

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Russ Miller

Saxophonist, flautist, composer and arranger Russ Miller is currently an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where his duties include teaching jazz improvisation, jazz lab bands and jazz arranging and orchestration classes. His 30-year professional music career includes performances with Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy DeFranco, J.C. Heard, Rob McConnell, Jon Faddis, Joe Williams, Milt Hinton, Rosemary Clooney and Sammy Davis Jr. among others. In addition Russ has performed with his own group and with others at the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Michigan Jazz Festival, Music on the Plaza in Grosse Pointe and at various local venues. Recorded performances include: J.C. Heard Orchestra - Some of This, Some of That (Hiroko Records), Bill Heid - Wet Streets (Savant Records), John Cooper Orchestra - Baecker Jazz Worship Service (Baecker Music Productions) and on Jeannine Miller’s recently released recording Two For The Road (PKO Records) which in addition to featuring Russ on sax and flute, features his arrangements of classic jazz standards for big band, woodwinds, brass, strings and jazz quartet.

Anthony Stanco

As a trumpet player, composer and educator, Anthony Stanco is a rising talent in today's music scene. Anthony’s brilliant trumpet style is exciting and demonstrates his understanding of the jazz tradition. Anthony is equally passionate as an educator and composer.

Anthony Stanco started playing trumpet in the fifth grade in the Fraser Public School System. His musical education was elevated when he joined the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra and Civic Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Marcus Belgrave and Rodney Whitaker. When Anthony was in high school, he established himself as a professional musician in the Detroit area. He performed as a leader at the 2006 Birmingham Jazz Festival with his quintet, as well as the 2007 Detroit Jazz Festival. Anthony was also selected as the top high school soloist during the 2007 Detroit Jazz Festival for his performance with the Fraser Jazz Ensemble.Read more.

After graduating from high school in 2007, Anthony was accepted at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music to pursue his bachelors in jazz performance and also studied privately with trumpet technician Laurie Frink. In 2014, he finished his graduate degree at Michigan State University where he had the chance to learn from jazz greats including Rodney Whitaker, Reginald Thomas, Michael Dease, and Etienne Charles.

Anthony’s professional work has consisted of concerts, workshops, and studio sessions. In 2008 Anthony recorded a live album with Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Bobby Sanabria called Kenya Revisited LIVE! This record was nominated for a Latin Grammy. He has also recorded with renowned trombone player Michael Dease and has been featured on his latest CD entitled “Relentless”. Anthony has performed with world class musicians such as Winard Harper, Michael Feinstein, Tye Tribbett, and Aretha Franklin to name a few. In June 2013 Anthony took the 1st place prize in the International Trumpet Guild, Jazz soloist division. Anthony is also an established composer and has recently premiered his five-movement suite entitled Look up Hannah: A Suite for the Protester.

As an Educator, Anthony was privileged to start at a young age. He had his first private student when he was only twelve years old and continues to teach privately to students of all ages. At Manhattan School of Music, he was part of their outreach program, Music Arts-In-Education, and taught at various public schools in New York City. In 2011 he returned to the Civic Jazz Orchestra as a mentor and director of Civic Jazz Combo B. Anthony was also a graduate assistant in Jazz Studies at Michigan State University and also teaches at the MSU, Community Music School in Lansing, MI. He has also had the opportunity to teach at Ohio State University, Birch Creek Music Performance Center, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and many other music programs.

Currently, Anthony is proud to represent the government’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. Anthony Stanco and The Crucial Elements have done two international tours with American Music Abroad. On tour they partake in cultural exchange, masterclasses, and live concerts.

Anthony has recently released his first record entitled The Crucial Elements. He produced the record himself and released it on his record label, AJS Records.

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Alberto Nacif

Alberto Nacif was born in the isthmus state of Oaxaca in Mexico's west coast where Cuban derived rhythms were part of the everyday music. He began playing conga and bongo drums at a young age with local musicians. He immigrated to Michigan as a teen, and became involved in the music scene by playing with Jimmy Stefanson's "La Combinacion." Originator and host of the Cuban Fantasy program on WEMU-FM for 10 years, Alberto honed his percussion skills with conga/bongo master Armando Peraza (of Santana fame). Alberto also studied Cuban percussion with Esteban Vega Bacallao "Cha-Cha," Jesus Alfonso, Danilo Perez, of Los Munequitos De Matanzas, Tomas "Panga" Ramos of Cubanismo, and Manuel "Anga" Diaz, of Irakere. He has performed nationally and internationally with Dizzy Gillespie, John Faddis, Jane Bunnett, Munequitos de Matanzas, and Frank Emilio Flynn.Read more.

He led the Latin Jazz group “Cubop” in the early 1990s, and has recorded with the Lunar Octet, Francisco Mora, and Marcus Belgrave. Nacif was also on the board of directors at University Musical Society and was instrumental in hosting many Cuban music shows including Tito Puente, Celia Cruz Albita, El Canario, Arturo Sandoval, Afro Cuban All Stars, Buena Vista Social Club, Ibrahim Ferrer, Cubanismo! and Los Muñequitos de Matanzas.

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