The new Raíces CD!

The new Raíces Latin Jazz CD will be released September 12, 2022 and features 8 original tracks. Scroll down to pay for a CD you’ve already received or order your new CD here now. $20 includes tax and shipping.

(Read expanded track notes below.)

Raíces Debut CD

CD will be available Spring ’22 Enter Quantity

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Expanded CD Track Info:

1) Caramelo 6:04 (Sonnefeldt) was composed in 1984. It was originally titled “Jellybean” and conceived with a shuffle/swing feel. The 20-bar melody section is loosely based on a minor blues. The Eb pedal introduction was added at the suggestion of bassist Edo Castro who first played the tune with Joe in the ‘80s. The introduction soon became a part of the solo form. Jellybean adapts easily to the Cha Cha style and Joe and Ruben collaborated on the arrangement as it’s heard here. Ruben suggested the new title en español. 

2) Bembe Blues 7:05 (Alvarez) was inspired by the iconic jazz standard Afro Blue composed and recorded by Mongo Santamaria.  Bembe Blues was included as a combo practice track and heard on the  “Sheddin’ the Basics-Latin Jazz” educational CD that was released as a jazz minus one combo practice track coauthored with noted percussionist and music educator Dr. Marc Jacoby. The 6/8 Bembe groove is a nice vehicle for the inventive soloing and the exciting phrases that are traded between congas and timbales.

3) Cha A Mi Manera 7:15 (Ferrer Yard) was written in 2019 and is Eric’s first composition for Raíces. He wrote it on guitar while singing the melody above the chords . The title translates “Cha my way”, and the music gives a window into Eric’s “way” and original approach to the music of Cuba, his home. The final B section provides the backing to Bobby Delgado’s tasty bongo solo.

4) Raíces 5:32 (Sonnefeldt) was written in November 2018 shortly after Ruben Alvarez invited Joe to join Raíces. It’s a tip of the hat to the classic mambo recordings of artists like Cal Tjader and Tito Puente with a modern harmonic approach. Raíces is comprised of two contrasting sections: the Bb Dorian “A” section has a rhythmically driving and syncopated melody while the Db Lydian section’s melody is more spacious and soaring, allowing the band to really cook underneath it. 

5) Bolero Para Ruben 6:22 (Jacoby) was written for the educational CD-ROM project (referenced above) that Ruben and I collaborated on in 2002. To avoid the costs of licensing copyrighted songs, I wrote this bolero so that it would sound so familiar to the listener that they would assume it was a standard- hence the original title An Old Bolero. Even after the project was completed and I moved away from Chicago, Ruben kept the song in his band’s repertoire, and I am honored that Joe included it on this album. Ruben has been my teacher, mentor, and such a dear friend that it only seems fitting to rename it in his honor. – Marc Jacoby

6) Whiskey & Weed 4:42 (Quarantine Cha Cha) (Sonnefeldt) was inspired by a harmonic/scale device which was shared with Joe by world-renowned jazz vibraphonist, Joe Locke.  The opening montuno and the melody both came from the composer experimenting with this scale device. Later, the montuno provides the background for Jorge Leal’s conga solo.

The title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to how one may have passed the time during the darkest days of the 2020 pandemic shutdown when they may have nearly run out of positivity or ways to stay productive.  Hopefully the fun of the music and the Cha Cha feel are enough to lift one’s spirits!

7) Palisades 4:38 (Sonnefeldt) was inspired by Joe’s 3-day trip to Mississippi Palisades State Park in northwest Illinois that he took with his wife, Amy in the fall of 2021. The rhythm and contour of the melody are meant to invoke the winding hiking paths that snake their way up the Illinois side of the towering bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River and westward into Iowa. This recording was made before the band had ever performed Palisades live, so it demonstrates the band’s very first encounter/interpretation of this material. 

8) Chango’s Songo 9:49 (Alvarez) is based on one part of a four-movement suite commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago to perform with the Gallery 37 Latin Big Band. It was performed in Humboldt Park, Chicago in 1987. Chango’s Songo was later rearranged as a small ensemble practice piece for the “Sheddin’ the Basics-Latin Jazz” educational CD.  Ruben and the members of Raíces made some changes to the arrangement for this recorded version.