February 25, 2021

Natanael Ramos: “With ‘The Great American Songbook’ we seek to bring jazz closer to the public”


The trumpeter and musical director of the Atlantic Jazz Ensemble who performs 'The Great American Songbook', Natanael Ramos.  |  |  AIRAM ABELLA

The trumpeter and musical director of the Atlantic Jazz Ensemble who performs ‘The Great American Songbook’, Natanael Ramos. | | AIRAM ABELLA

The Atlantic Jazz Ensemble, under the musical direction of Natanael Ramos, will perform on the 19th at the Guiniguada Theater ‘The Great American Songbook’ that reviews the North American song, with music by Duke Ellington, Ray Charles and other great jazz and jazz classics. Hollywood cinema.

How is this project from The Great American Songbook presented?

It is a project of the Atlantic Jazz Ensemble, the formation that represents it. The Great American Songbook arises from the connection between film music and jazz. Although jazz is now a genre that transcends the culture of the United States and encompasses much more, it really must be remembered that American popular music is developed on it and based on it the cinema has built various melodies or has made them very much its own. Within this development of American popular music there are two aspects: one more lounge, more Hollywood and even white, one could say, but also the blacker, more African-American aspect.

And in the program they try to contribute the two variants?

Yes, the one that is more of Hollywood, but also a deeper one, like Ray Charles, one of the most influential of the 50s and the birth of all soul with what it has brought us. With The Great American Songbook we created a compilation and brought it closer to the audience with the intention of bringing them closer to jazz, because many times stereotypes about this musical genre are seen when it is said that it is too intellectual and not very accessible to the general public. while we try to make him understand the other side, that it really is something popular that we have ringing in our heads, in multiple moments, without realizing it.

What familiar topics will they include?

Take the A train, It don’t mean a thing or Hit the road Jack, among many others.

“Sometimes there is a very intellectual vision of jazz, but its basis comes from swing and rhythm & blues”

They’re going to offer an American swing and rhythm and blues approach, right?

That is the central axis. Rhythm and blues and swing are part of the foundation of jazz. We mean the blues of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta. It would be what we know today as soul-funk. Sometimes there is an overly intellectual vision of what jazz means when its origin, in reality, comes from these genres.

Will this music reach the general public well?

One of our objectives with the Atlantic Jazz Laboratory, the platform that produces this concert, is to bring the genre to all viewers. Our projects are always in this line of breaking the taboo on jazz so that people can enjoy it in another way. Even musicians from the Canaries have a bit forgotten to give it a different approach.

What artists will you include in the show, other than Duke Ellington and Ray Charles?

Those would be the authors of the melodies that a group of Canarian artists interpret, including Zaida Almeida and Héctor Quintero as soloists; as a saxophonist, Fernando Barrios; Francis Hernández at the piano; Juan Carlos Baeza on double bass; Daniel González on drums and I on trumpet and as musical director. They are people from different generations sharing the stage, which says a lot about the development of music in the Archipelago, with jazz performers from different eras who come together in the same project, something enriching.

How are the voices of Zaida Almeida and Héctor Quintero described?

Héctor comes from rock & roll and blues, from very raw and American sounds. Participate with many bands of these genres. However, Zaida has a less defined, more versatile voice. He does pretty much everything from reggae to pop choirs to jazz with his own band and brings freshness to the songs. We do not have the typical jazz singer, but she brings her personal air to the arrangements we have prepared.

“The songs of the repertoire appear in the subconscious and the retina of all of us”

What newly created contributions do you bring to viewers, apart from classical authors and themes?

The Atlantic Jazz Ensemble leaves the Atlantic Jazz Lab platform with which we have rescued music, for example, by Miles Davis. We are now producing a monograph on Louis Armstrong. We have featured original music and also from Jazz Messengers. On the other hand, we have the Atlantic Jazz Orchestra, another larger group, with which we have done monographs on Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Thad Jones, that is, we have explored countless projects in recent years to get closer to the general public.

Won’t these tunes from The Great American Songbook you play sound outdated?

These songs appear in the subconscious and on the retina of all of us. Many of them are versions that we have found to enrich the repertoire. Actually, the jazz genre is very personal, very individual, with a lot of interaction between the soloists and the band, so when you listen to a jazz standard that is over 40 years old, a certain freshness always appears because the soloists bring something new that is not It has been heard before, which causes the genre to live on due to the change of the notes according to the moment and because there is an interaction between the musicians.

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