How did Gregor Huebner, a German composer, and violinist of contemporary music, fall in love with Latin Music, and bring El Violín Latino to life? Blame it on Johnny Almendra, a Brooklyn born percussionist and bandleader, who hired him to play with his hip Salsa band, Los Jóvenes del Barrio. This was in 1995, around the time Gregor decided to move to New York City.
For his album EL Violín Latino Vol. 3, Gregor composed a song titled “Los Soñadores/Dreamers”. The song pays homage to the young adults who immigrated to the United States as little children but remain out of status —no human being is illegal. Under the Trump administration there is great risk of deportation.
Yumaria Grijt, vocalist and lyricist, traveled to New York from Curacao (her native land and where she still resides) for the recording session with El Violín Latino. Yumaria learned to speak Spanish, as a little girl, by watching Venezuelan telenovelas (soap operas) with her grandmother. As a result, she is able to sing fluently in English and Spanish. The same languages that many DREAMers speak.
As I was filming the recording session and heard Yumarya Grijt singing the lyrics she wrote, I felt there was a story we needed to share; and I felt an urgent need to shout our support for the young immigrants. This video represents our shout to all who might not know what DACA is or what a DREAMer means to this country. It is our hope that the message resonates with you.
The other musicians involved in the project are: John Benitez (acoustic bass), Louie Bauzo (old school percussionist), Klaus Mueller (German pianist), Ludwig Afonso (Cuban drummer), and Jerome Goldschmidt (Luxembourger percussionist).
I am immensely thankful to all the great photographers who permitted use of their work for this cause. And I am elated with my involvement.
Video Producer of Los Soñadores/Dreamers
El Violin Latino will release the first song from their upcoming album on Thursday, May 3, 2018.
The song is called Los Soñadores/Dreamers. It documents the constant fear and uncertainty “dreamers” experience daily in America. I composed the song. The singer Yumarya wrote the lyrics.
Videographer Richie Briñez filmed the recording session. He captured an amazing event and he spent the past 6 months creating a masterpiece.
Join us for the premiere of Los Soñadores/Dreamers video on Thursday. We can’t wait to share it with the world.
Join us for a unique, curated show on Friday, April 27, 2018 beginning at 7pm at Spectrum, 70 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY.
8:30 PM – Shoko Nagai/Gregor Huebner Duo
For Living Lovers is the acoustic duo of guitarist Brandon Ross and acoustic bass guitarist Stomu Takeishi. Founded in 2002, For Living Lovers developed out of a shared musical sensibility and sonic influence of instruments designed by legendary master luthier Steve Klein. The duo has recorded and toured the film music of Toru Takemitsu, played the prestigious Saito-Kinen Festival in Nagano, Japan, and released their debut Recording, “Revealing Essence” on Sunnyside Records (2014) to superlative reviews.
Brandon Ross is a New York City-based guitarist/composer/singer/songwriter. As a performing and recording artist, Ross has collaborated with many innovative voices in modern music, such as Wadada Leo Smith, Cassandra Wilson, Henry Threadgill, Me’Shell N’degeocello, and many others. Ross also leads For Living Lovers, his Chamber Music for Improvisers acoustic duo with acoustic bass guitarist, Stomu Takeishi, and is a co-leader of the power trio Harriet Tubman (with bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer JT Lewis). Ross is a 2014 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grantee, an ASCAP Foundation commissioned composer, Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant recipient, NYSCA Composition grant recipient, and ASCAP writer and publisher member.
Stomu Takeshi is a Japanese jazz bass player. He generally plays fretless five-string electric bass guitar, as well as a Klein five-string acoustic bass guitar. He often uses looping or other electronic techniques to enhance to sound of his instrument. Takeishi began as a koto player. He came to the US in 1983 to attend the Berkeley College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. After completing his degree in 1986, he moved to Manhattan to continue his studies at the New School. He has lived in New York ever since.
He has performed and/or recorded with Bon Cherry, Henry Threadgill, Rutsch Morris, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Paul Motion Myra Melford and many others. In Downbeats 57th Critics Poll in 2009, Stomu was the poll winner for the category of Electric Bass, Rising Star.
Shoko Nagai / Gregor Huebner Duo
Within all genres of music, there exists a delicate balance between that which is premeditated and that which is spontaneous. Even the most intricately composed piece requires the soul and energy of the artist to breathe life into every performance, while the simplest creative musical impulse can give rise to an entire symphony.
Within this mysterious grey area, the NYC-based Duo has carved out an unmistakably distinct path. Taking a traditional model and redefining what it can be, they approach the duo as both composers and performers, as both adherents to the written music on the page and impulsive improvisers willing to throw it all away in the moment and let intuition take the lead.
Shoko Nagai (Composer/ Pianist/ Accordionist/ Improviser) Born inNagoya, Japan, Shoko Nagai has been evolving as a professional musician for 20 years. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1999 she moved to New York City and quickly established herself in the downtown jazz scene performing with such renowned artists as John Zorn, Rasheid Ali, Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), Ikue Mori, Satoshi Takeishi, Butch Morris, Elliot Sharp to name a few. The Shoko Nagai Quintet which features some of New York’s best musicians has performed extensively at the BlueNote, The Stone, Joe’s Pub, Vision Festival, Roulette and The Kitchen as well as at other top New York clubs. Shoko Nagai is a versatile musical artist who improvises and performs with world-renowned musicians on piano and accordion and composes original scores for films and live performances.
Gregor Huebner is an award-winning composer and violinist, celebrated by audiences and critics alike for his visionary work across genres. His music has been described by The New York City Jazz Record as “challenging and vivid… seamlessly incorporat[ing] chamber elements with avant garde jazz,” while All About Jazz describes him as “a virtuoso with broad experience in large and small classical ensembles.” Huebner’s recent El Violin Latino, an album exploring the role of the violin in traditional Latin American music, was praised by The Wall Street Journal.
His duo playing with Richie Beirach for over 20 years is well documented on numerous CD’s. Gregor is also a member of Sirius Quartet.
I am gearing up for a great week at the International Theaterhaus Jazztage in Stuttgart where a new ensemble, the European New York Jazz Collective (EUNYJC), is coming together for their premiere performance. The group features Gregor Huebner (violin, piano) Gregoire Maret (harmonica) Mino Cinelu (percussion) Lage Lund (guitar) Hans Glawischnig (bass) Theo Bleckmann (vocals) Ferenc Nemeth (drums). The Annual Theaterhaus Jazztage takes place in Stuttgart from March 28 – April 2, 2018. View Entire Program >>
We have 2 full days of rehearsals and a concert on Friday March 30, 2018 in Hall 1 at the Theaterhaus in Stuttgart. It is a great honor to share the evening with Lee Konitz Quartet – Lee Konitz (saxophone) Florian Weber (piano) Jeremy Stratton (bass) George Schuller (drums).
The idea for the European New York Jazz Collective came to me as a figment of my imagination one day. Fortunately, in the summer of 2017, Werner Schretzmeier and I decided to get the whole thing happening for this year’s Jazz Festival.
In order to make the dream a reality, we had to bring together musicians from both sides of the Atlantic. The concept of the group was to bring together New York-based, European-origin jazz musician from as many different European countries as possible.
As a European in New York, you usually know other top-notch musicians, because you are moving in certain musical scenes, and of course you are musicians with whom you would like to play or have already played. I have often played and recorded with Hans Glawischnig, who is also a member of my NY-NRG Quartet. I’ve known Gregoire and Theo for a very long time, since we came to New York at about the same time. I played with Theo in Uri Caine’s Ensemble at the Music Festival Bejing. Mino, Ferenc and Lage are musicians I have always wanted to play with and I really appreciate their musicianship.
Everyone in the group has performed with Jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Lionel Loueke, Richie Beirach, Joe Zawinul, Uri Caine, Ron Carter, Meredith Monk and many others.
It was spectacular when we had our first meeting in February 2018 to discuss the program for this project. We are truly grateful to Theaterhaus Jazztage for providing an amazing venue for us to practice and perform. We look forward to a wonderful evening with a unique group of musicians, performing new compositions as our new group, the European New York Jazz Collective.
“I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles
Arranged by Gregor Huebner
Sirius Quartet is
Fung Chern Hwei, Gregor Huebner, violins
Ron Lawrence, viola
Jeremy Harman, cello
Recorded at Bauer Studios, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Audio recorded by Johannes Wohlleben
Video recorded and edited by Philippe Ohl
We are now in the LAST STAGE of the new album, El Violin Latino – Vol. 3: The Cuban Volume. We did most of the mixes this weekend.
Next week I go into the studio one more time with Edmar Castañeda to record the duo with the harp.
We are nearing completion and we cannot wait to share this amazing music with you! Thank you all for your support.