Remembering Carlos Averhoff: La Molinaria (Variaciones Sobre La Opera) by Irakere

by chipboaz on January 16, 2017

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We recently lost one of a ground breaking Cuban musician who contributed a great deal to the art of Latin Jazz – saxophonist Carlos Averhoff. Born in Mantanzas, Averhoff refined his musical skills through classical training in his younger days. In 1973, he earned a major gig on the island, replacing Paquito D’Rivera in the Orquesta Cubans de Musica Moderna. This was not the only time that Averhoff would follow D’Rivera in an important group, as he later joined Irakere. He had a long standing relationship with Irakere, playing tenor sax with Irakere in many recordings and countless concerts. During the nineties, Averhoff was right in the middle of the birth of timba, playing in the first incarnation of NG La Banda and then later joining Issac Delgado’s wildly popular group. Averhoff later moved to Miami, where he influenced a new generation of saxophonists through his work as a professor at the Florida International University School Of Music and Miami-Dade College. He released an album in 2005, Jazz’tá Bueno!, showing the benefits of his experience. Averhoff made a huge impact upon both jazz and modern salsa during his time in Cuba and the States, leaving an unforgettable mark upon the music.

This video find Averhoff featured on both tenor saxophone and flute during his influential tenure with Irakere. This piece, La Molinaria (Variaciones Sobre La Opera), is a fantastic example of the group’s ability to bring together all of their influences into one place, blending classical music, jazz, and Cuban culture. It also show Averhoff at the height of his powers, delivering an absolutely jaw-dropping display of musicality and technical virtuosity on his instrument. The ease of moving between blistering fast runs, screaming high notes, and lean forward soft flights of freedom is telling of Averhoff’s complete command of his instrument. There’s not a lot of clave in this video but there’s an incredibly engaging performance from a master that’s well worth the watch. Enjoy the video and take a minute to remember this important saxophonist in the Latin Jazz world, Carlos Averhoff.

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