Venissa Santí Performing I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

by chipboaz on January 23, 2017

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Walking the line between jazz and Afro-Cuban music often presents a slippery slope, sometimes dividing the two musics more than connecting them. When a musician really only finds a comfort zone on one side of the musical equation, it forces further definition upon the opposite side. The result is a broken kind of broken hybrid that doesn’t respect the lineage of either musical tradition. In order to find a natural place within both jazz and Afro-Cuban music, building an organic connection to both traditions. When they do this, there’s a fluid movement between style that becomes more of a multi-linguistic communication. This takes some deep study and dedication, but the results are comfortable, inspiring, and powerful.

Vocalist Venissa Santí is a musician that has walked in both musical worlds with grace and style for many years. Born in New York, Santí grew up around a variety of musical influences, ranging from the classical elegance of Ravel to the fire of Celia Cruz and the funky groove of Michael Jackson. She moved to Philadelphia to study at the University Of The Arts, where she refined her approach to singing jazz. During this time, she discovered her grandfather’s compositions which connected her to her Cuban roots. Thus began a multi-linguistic musical life that brought the past and present together into one cohesive approach. Santí released her first album, Bienvenida in 2009, garnering attention and acclaim from respected musicians like Ruben Baldes. She followed with her sophomore release Big Stuff – Afro Cuban Holiday in 2013, paying tribute to one of her heroes, Billie Holiday. Along the way, Santí built a strong career performing and teaching in the Philadelphia area, spreading her knowledge of jazz and Afro-Cuban music. Today’s video is a great example of Santí’s approach which seamlessly integrates jazz and Afro-Cuban influences in an organic way, as she brings both worlds together in an arrangements of Cole Porter’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.”

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