Latin Jazz Corner 001: Brian Andres Interview (Part 1), Bill O’Connell, Chocolate

by chipboaz on November 17, 2016

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Welcome to Episode #1 of the newly refreshed Latin Jazz Corner Podcast! I’m excited to be bringing some of the long standing features from the site into an audio setting. I’m hoping that this will add a completely new layer of support to the Latin Jazz community and help you connect with the music that you love.

As I get things started, I’m experimenting with the format for the show, trying to find the best way to create an incredible new resource for our community – if you’ve got suggestions about things you like or things you’d like to hear on the podcast send me a message and let me know.

I’d love a little help in getting the show started in the form of theme music and artwork. If you’re a musician with a short instrumental Latin Jazz track between one and two minutes, I’d love to use it to open and close each show. Of course, I’d be happy to mention your name and direct people towards your music on the show and on the site, so it’s a great way to connect with the community! I’m also looking for some artwork to represent the show online, so if you’ve got some good graphic skills, I could really use a 1400 pixel x 1400 pixel image. Once again, I’m happy to recognize you on the show and share any links to your work.

We’re going to start a tradition of including a listener poll in each episode, based around a question about the music. This will be an opportunity for us to include more voices from the Latin Jazz community and present a wider variety of perspectives. This episode’s listener poll is:


The Grammy will be awarded by the time this goes out, so let us know – do you think the right person won? Would you have picked a different nominee? Would you have picked someone that didn’t even get nominated? Send me your response and I’ll read it on the next show.

Our Featured Album in this show is the wonderful new release from pianist Bill O’Connell and The Latin Jazz All-Stars entitled Heart Beat. It’s a fantastic collection of compositions and arrangements from O’Connell, interpreted by some amazing musicians. I dig into all the different ways that O’Connell inspires his musicians to outstanding performances through commentary and clips from the album. This is a recording that you don’t want to miss – you can pick it up by clicking on the album cover!

In the spotlight segment of the show, we take a minute to reflect upon an extremely important musician that we lost earlier this year to prostate cancer, the Cuban trumpet player Alfredo “Chocolate” Arementeros. This was a major loss – Chocolate spent decades performing and recording Latin Jazz, salsa, and traditional Cuban music all over the world. I take some time to dig into his history, looking at his early days in Cuba, his move to the United States, his work alongside the best of the New York Latin music scene, his recordings as a leader, and more. Chocolate was an essential to the growth of Cuban music in the United States, passing on his knowledge to generations of young musicians. I’m sure that lots of you out there have stories about your connection to Chocolate, whether it’s hearing him live, knowing him in person, or working with him – send me your stories and I’ll share them on the next episode!

Our feature segment features part one of my interview with drummer and bandleader Brian Andres, who just released the exceptional This Could Be That with his band The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel. It’s a fantastic reflection of Brian’s connection with the music, a link that spans between Ohio, where he started his musical journey, to the exciting Latin Jazz scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the first part of our interview, we dig into Brian’s musical childhood, his move into work as a professional musician, his discovery of Afro-Cuban music, his move to the Bay Area, and eventual start of the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel. It’s a great look at a wonderful musician who is making large strides towards creating a unique voice in Latin Jazz and taking the sound of the Bay Area Latin Jazz community into the world.


You can get more information about Brian Andres & The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel at:
Brian Andres’ Website
Brian Andres And The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel Facebook Page
Brian Andres And The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel Twitter Account

Check out all of the albums from Brian Andres & The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel:

This Could Be That

San Francisco

Drummers Speak


I hope that you enjoyed our debut episode of the podcast – I’m excited what the future holds for the Latin Jazz Corner show! I’ll be back in the next two weeks with episode #2 which will feature part two of my interview with Brian Andres, a look at more great music, and much more! As always, the most important thing to me is to create a resource that will support the musicians and fans around the world that keep Latin Jazz alive – if you’ve ideas, suggestions, or even compliments, send them my way! Thanks so much for listening, enjoy the show!

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