LJC Best Of 2011 Awards: Composition, Arrangement, Record Label & Album Artwork

by chip on December 27, 2011

The Latin Jazz Corner Best Of The Year Awards is an annual event fueled by the will of our readers – the winners are selected through a voting process open to LJC readers, Latin Jazz artists, Latin Jazz fans, and the general public. The voting for our fifth annual awards ran from December 8, 2011 – December 23, 2011 and drew over 20,000 participants from around the world. It was an exciting process that engaged numerous artists, fans, and music business professionals from all areas of the Latin Jazz world. You can learn more about the LJC Best Of The Year Awards by checking out this post – What Are The LJC Best Of The Year Awards?; on that page you’ll find links to frequently asked questions that should give you the complete scoop on the awards.

In the remaining days of the year, we’ll be taking a look at the winners in each of the Best Of 2011 Award categories, revealing a small number with each passing day. In today’s post, we’ll be looking at the winners in Category 3 – Composition/Arrangement and Category 4 – Business/Promotion. This covers four awards – 2011 Latin Jazz Composition Of The Year, 2011 Latin Jazz Arrangement Of The Year, 2011 Latin Jazz Record Label Of The Year, and 2011 Latin Jazz Album Art Of The Year.

2011 Latin Jazz Composition Of The Year

“Pueblo [Village]”
Composed by Pedro Giraudo
Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra

The ability to turn ideas into song and then translate that sound into meaning within a listener’s ears sits at the core of a composer’s task. It’s not an easy job – it’s a process that requires a complete understanding of your core concept, a wide range of musical tools to express your idea, and then the skill to create a product that will allow musicians to adequately execute your creation. Bassist Pedro Giraudo put all these pieces together into a multi-movement piece that drew together imagery from his hometown of Córdoba, colorful jazz harmony, rhythms from Argentina and beyond, as well as his distinctive approach to texture and arrangement. “Pueblo (Village)” clocks in at over 20 minutes and elegantly brings Giraudo’s ideas to the listener in an unforgettable listening experience that overflows with a power and expression that can’t be beat.

2011 Latin Jazz Arrangement Of The Year

“El Cumbanchero”
Arranged by Aruán Ortiz
El Cumbanchero
Mark Weinstein

When exploring new musical settings in Latin Jazz, any project requires a solid architect, that can construct original settings to inspire improvisation. Mark Weinstein’s El Cumbanchero explored combinations of jazz, danzon, and charanga instrumentation, requiring an architect that could bring together strings, rhythmic structures, and jazz harmony. Pianist Aruán Ortiz was the perfect musician for this job – his studies in Cuba as a violist gave him ample background in strings and charanga settings, while his work in the United States as a jazz pianist left him with a thorough understanding of modern harmony and improvisation. This allowed him to take a standard like Rafael Hernandez’s “El Cumbanchero” and turn it into an intricate and exciting vehicle for improvisation. The memorable musical result is a tribute to Ortiz’s musical skills and his ability to envision the possibilities of an inspired artistic setting.

2011 Latin Jazz Record Label Of The Year

2011 Latin Jazz Releases:

Jazz Brasil
Mark Weinstein

Tito Puente Masterworks, Live!!!
Bobby Sanabria Conducting The Manhattan School Of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra

El Cumbanchero
Mark Weinstein

We’re living in an era where large record companies with a financial bottom line are being replaced by smaller, artist-run labels with an eye for artistic concerns. Pianist Randy Klein runs Jazzheads, a label that most certainly falls into the latter category. Klein has put ample effort into creating a label where the highest quality improvised music makes its way into the world, and as a result, Jazzheads has long been a serious supporter of Latin Jazz. Each year, Jazzheads releases albums from some of New York’s top Latin Jazz musicians, including Bobby Sanabria, Mark Weinstein, Chris Washburne, and more. This type of support and integrity insures that the world hears artistic, challenging, and exciting Latin Jazz consistently, making Jazzheads a jewel among modern record labels.

2011 Latin Jazz Album Artwork Of The Year

Cover Design: Felipe Taborda & Lygia Santiago; Illustration: Bruno Liberati
Chora Baião
Antonio Adolfo

In our current digital era where pictures are manipulated and contorted into anything that our minds can imagine, it’s always refreshing to be reminded that people still put a brush to a canvas. When looking at the album artwork for Antonio Adolfo’s Chora Baião, the striking combination of bold colors and large imagery is the first thing that catches your eye. When you look more closely, you can actually see the brush strokes and the texture of the paint against the canvas, helping the image capture the human feeling of the album’s music. This amazing detail comes from Bruno Liberati’s strong artwork and Alex Sandro’s photography, put together into the album format by Felipe Taborda and Lygia Santiago.

Check out LJC on a regular basis to keep up to date on the great Latin Jazz that we hear throughout the year – Click here to have these posts delivered via email. Or, click here to subscribe to the full text RSS feed and never miss another post!

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