#118 Diego Alvarez- Percussionist and Cajon Master
This week’s guest, Diego "El Negro" Alvarez, is a master cajón player born in Venezuela. He lived 16 years in Spain where he developed his career alongside the most prestigious flamenco dance companies such as Joaquin Cortez, Antonio Canales, Sara Baras, Nuevo Ballet Español and Paco Peña among others. With more than 12 nominations to the Latin Grammys, winner of a Latin Grammy in 2010 for best Rock album of the year for "Sera" by La Vida Boheme. Promoting El Cajon as a universal instrument, showing its main roots the Peruvian and the flamenco. Now lives in Los Angeles California, where he continues working with different musical projects between flamenco and jazz.
Damon is still on the road with Morgan James with new dates just added.
Marcos will be playing in the pit at Sacred Heart University and then performing at 54 Below in Midtown Manhattan with Nick Cordero feat. Zach Braff, Kathryn Gallagher and others on April 10th and 11th.
April is National Jazz Appreciation Month. This week’s feature is the Miles Davis album called “Bag’s Groove”. The track we are featuring also has the same name. Written by Milt Jackson and titled after his nickname.
“You’re The Man” is an album by Marvin Gaye that was just released. It features Eddie “Bongo” Brown on percussion and the bass player Damon couldn’t think of is Michael Henderson, better known for playing with Miles Davis. If the drummer is the same as the “What’s Going On” album personnel, then it is Chet Forest.
If you are looking to buy or sell gear, there are many ways to do so. You can search for a music store near you by clicking THIS LINK. The drum centric ‘mom and pop” stores include: Steve Maxwell’s, Chicago Drum Exchange, Fork’s Drum Closet, Memphis Drum Shop, Drum Center of Portsmouth, & Vic’s Drum Shop (There’s probably a couple we are forgetting about).The chain music retail stores could be Guitar Center or Sam Ash. Some of the online stores include: Musician’s Friend, Sweetwater, Steve Weiss Music, & Lone Star Percussion. Craigslist (make sure to search the city you’re in) and Ebay are always a gamble, but for a more reliable online spot you can check Reverb (dot) com. And lastly, Government Liquidation (dot) com is where the military and other government institutions are getting rid of their equipment.
Music News for this week…….
11 essential online music marketing tools you can use to help further your career. Friend of the show Ari Herstand wrote an article about boosting your online presence to help sell your music and grow followers organically and not buying ads or bots. The online course he is featuring with the hip hop artist Lucidious is available HERE. Logistical Failures Leave Furious Ultra Music Festival Fans Stranded in day one, but issues are being fixed for day two and going forward. In an Effort to Curb Potentially Costly Damages, Peloton Removes Key Workout Classes. R.I.P. to Nipsy Hussle. In addition to other businesses and music, he was in the middle of working on a documentary on Dr. Sebi on eating and living healthy. Nonagenarian Cándido Camero Takes Center Stage at Cachao Tribute Concert and plays an almost 20min conga solo in Miami.
Special shout-out to Jackeline Rago and her music career and education of Afro-Venezuelan music in the USA.
Diego learned the cajon in Venezuela and realized it was not a popular instrument at the time and he was intrigued to learn more. That’s when he realized he had to go back and learn the music of the cajon which originated in Peru (like the video of the groove Festejo below).
The rhythm that Diego brings up that is played in Cuba with influences from Haiti is the Tumba Francesa.
Rubem Dantas from Brazil, is the one who introduced the cajon to the use of the cajon in Flamenco music as Paco de Lucia’s percussionist. After Rubem, comes Manolo Soler the dancer turned cajon player. After Manolo comes Antonio Carmona and then Ramon Porrina, the brother of Israel “Piraña" Suárez.
After 18 years in Madrid, Diego made his way back to Venezuela and ended up getting nominated for Latin Grammys and won one for "Sera" by La Vida Boheme in 2010 for best rock album.
To become a US citizen, you have to take a test. If you were born in the USA (making you a citizen already) and paid attention in your U.S. history/Social Studies classes in school, you should be able to pass THIS TEST.
Diego talks about meeting people in Los Angeles by attending the Floor Improv sessions. Thanks to Alberto Lopez for helping Diego get his footing in a new country and big city in L.A. in the USA.
Diego mentions using both a cajon and a drumkit simultaneously. Below is an example of that…..
So you don’t miss a date or double book yourself, here’s a link to download PRINTABLE CALENDARS.
Diego mentions for the future, he would love to see cajon players studying the history of the cajon, whether that is Afro-Peruvian rhythms or Bulerias from Flamenco in addition to pop and singer-songwriter styles.