Every combination of instrumentalists, large and small presents distinct freedoms and limitations to it’s members. Large ensembles often rely upon tightly arranged pieces of music that allow several musicians to navigate complex pieces while remaining organized. Smaller groups open their members to more improvisational freedoms, but they lack the textural variety and overlaying rhythms of a large ensemble. While these challenges and opportunities pop immediately from the instrumentation itself, it really comes down to the ways that musicians creatively manipulate these contexts that dictates their success.
Traditional jazz artists have made an art form out of trio performance, but it remains a challenging context for Latin Jazz – a fact that has not stopped Negroni’s Trio from creating some exciting and innovative music. Pianist Jose Negroni holds the core of the trio, mixing his experience in the Latin dance, jazz, and pop worlds into an explosive musical combination. A long time musician on Puerto Rico’s music scene, he studied extensively with Papo Lucca, pianist for La Sonora Ponceña. He spent over a decade sharing his experience with another generation of musician at the island’s conservatory before moving to Miami to work as director of music publishing at Sony Records. One musician that felt the impact of Jose’s teaching was his son Nomar, who quickly gravitated towards the drum kit. Nomar carried his passion for the drums to the Berklee School Of Music, where he honed his skills in the jazz, Latin, and pop worlds. Moving into the professional world, Nomar joined his father to form Negroni’s Trio, and together with bassist Rafael Valencia, the trio released Naturaleza – Nature in 2003. The trio solidified their powerful sound over the following years, returning in 2005 with the Grammy nominated album Piano – Drums – Bass. As the musicians moved onto a national stage, they also held onto their local roots, recording a small performance in a Florida theater that turned into the album Negroni’s Trio LIVE. The band reappeared on the Cacao label in 2008 with the stunning release Father & Son which displayed the group’s now highly evolved compositional style and almost telepathic interactive performance approach. This album extended the trio’s reach, taking them to jazz festivals around the world, earning airplay on major jazz stations, and gaining several LJC Best Of The Year Nominations. Their 2010 album Just Three finds the band playing a repertoire that explores edgy Latin arrangements, integrates electronics, and presents challenging compositions that redefine the role of the trio in Latin Jazz.
Negroni’s Trio shows us the Latin Jazz possibilities inherent in the trio setting, once again proving that creative musicians hold the ability to make any instrumental combination a powerful force. In honor of the ground shattering trio work found on their latest release Just Three, today’s Weekly Latin Jazz Video Fix is dedicated to Negroni’s Trio. The first video finds the trio performing the piece “Fingers” live at The Broward Center For The Performing Arts. The next clip features the band performing the piece “Los Duendes” from the same performance. The third snippet features the group in a live performance that features a guest appearance from saxophonist Ed Calle. The last video returns to a pure trio format with the band performing the piece “Milani.” There’s a lot of great music coming from “just three” musicians in this trio, something to hear – enjoy!
Negroni’s Trio Performing “Fingers”
Negroni’s Trio Performing “Los Duendes”
Negroni’s Trio Performing With Guest Saxophonist Ed Calle
Negroni’s Trio Performing “Milani”
Want to hear more from Negroni’s Trio? Check out these albums:
Piano – Drums – Bass
Do you have a video to contribute to satisfy our weekly Latin Jazz video fix? If so, send it in – it’s time to feed our addiction. I’m looking for live performances, from any context. I’ll most likely be posting one video per week, but if you’ve got another idea, let’s talk. So come on Latin Jazz videographers, musicians, and fans – let’s share some of our memorable videos! Get my contact info HERE.
Check Out These Related Posts:
Album Of The Week: Father & Son, Negroni’s Trio
Weekly Latin Jazz Video Fix: Pedro Bermudez
Finding A Voice As A Record Label: Cacao Musica’s Second Wave Of Releases
Weekly Latin Jazz Video Fix: Hilario Durán