Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
My Dear Friends ,
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra will be hosting the first bi-annual Celebracion Artistica de las Americas celebrating the vibrant musical offerings of the Latino community.
Both shows begin at 8:00pm at Symphony Hall in Phoenix Arizona. To find out more and purchase your tickets please visit this Phoenix symphony website or call 602.495.1999.
Amigos , les mando una invitacion para los proximos conciertos que tendremos en Phoenix con la orquesta sinfonica , espero verlos por alla y saludarlos .
Sep 30, 2011
Doc Severinsen and the San Miguel 5 with the Phoenix Symphony CALA Festival Celebration
Website (602) 495-1999
Oct 1, 2011
Doc Severinsen and the San Miguel 5 with the Phoenix Symphony CALA Festival Celebration
Monday, September 5, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Check out this film and listen to the finale of an energetic concert with Arturo Sandoval and Ed Calle in Mexico City here. You can also view Part One and Part Two of that performance. It was thrilling for me to play with these dynamic and legendary musicians.
The picture above is from the International Gathering of Trumpets where I played with Arturo Sandoval and Doc Severinsen and you can check out the video here.
Friday, July 29, 2011
For two hours, the audience got to savor the band’s delicious fusion of tango, flamenco, classical, swing and Gypsy jazz, ala the great Django Reinhardt.
Check out this review and photo by Mimi Beck Knudsen
in the Reno Gazette.
Our thanks go out to the incredible audiences we connected with this July at the High Sierra Music Festival in Grass Valley, California, The Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater in Reno, Nevada.
Monday, July 4, 2011
The newspaper La Jornada describes "how the chilly night was heated up with performances by international masters who expressed themselves in an explosive way through the power of Latin Jazz." It was thrilling to be a featured performer with these legends and please click here to read the review.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Gil Gutiérrez, Doc Severinsen and the San Miguel 5 team up with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall
Snow was piled high on the New York sidewalks when Gil Gutiérrez, Doc Severinsen and the San Miguel 5 strode onto the stage of Carnegie Hall on Friday night to raise the temperature with their inimitable, high-powered music. The group plays an uncategorizable but bubbling mix of classical, Afro-Latin and Gypsy jazz so infectious that it’s almost impossible to hear it and sit still.
Backed by the New York Pops orchestra on Friday, under the baton of Steven Reineke, they lit into the introduction to “El Amor Brujo” by Manuel De Falla, then segued into their signature Latin-jazz-rockets-round-the-world sound with “El Farol.” By the time Doc’s soaringly beautiful, opening trumpet solo had given way to the Gypsy-style violin of Charlie Bisharat, and the lacy, Arabic-inflected guitar of Gil Gutiérrez, riding the propulsive rhythms of Cuban percussionist Jimmy Branly and bass player Kevin Thomas, these consummate musicians had the entire audience in the palm of their collective hand.
People bopped in their seats through the infectious Django Reinhardt/Stéphane Grappelli standard “Minor Swing,” and were entranced by the evocative Piazzolla/Laurenz tangos “Adiós Nonino / Milonga de Mis Amores.” By then there could be no doubt that some brilliant Mexican sunshine had arrived in grey and chilly New York.
“How many of you out there are from San Miguel?” Doc queried the audience between numbers.
Several groups in the audience cheered loudly in response. Besides a number of hardcore San Miguel residents who’d flown north for the event, numerous audience members were part-time residents, and many more were occasional visitors and devotees of the town.
But the bulk of the audience was made up of regular subscribers to the New York Pops series, which has been playing Carnegie Hall since 1983. Founded that year by former NBC music director Skitch Henderson, who was a close friend of Doc’s, the New York Pops is now led by Steven Reineke. A young conductor and arranger from Cincinnati who began as a trumpeter in the 1980s, Reineke told the audience that when he was a teenager he idolized Doc. In tribute to his early role model, Reineke appeared for the second half of the show decked out in an orange-and-black print jacket that seemed to take its design cues from the hide of a giraffe.
True to form, Doc was dressed to the nines himself. He strutted around the stage in a black shirt, emblazoned with silver sequins, and tight, intensely purple leather pants.
But if Doc is a peacock when it comes to fashion, he’s a more social animal when it comes to music. During the evening, he repeatedly paid tribute to his musical partner Gil, as the founder of the group, which had its early genesis in San Miguel, long before Doc arrived in town.
As many San Miguelenses know, in addition to being a virtuoso guitarist, Gil is a composer in his own right. But no matter who the composer and arranger of a particular piece may be, he puts his musical stamp on it with his fierce guitar work. In the evening’s rousing final number, “Camino del Pan Bendito,” written by Los Elementales and arranged by Eugenio Toussaint, Gil launched into a super-charged flamenco bulería that morphed into rumba as the other instruments joined in. The finale nearly brought down the house.
If it hadn’t been for a fateful encounter five years ago, Gil and Doc—these two extraordinary jazz virtuosos—would never have shared the stage together at Carnegie Hall on Friday night. In fact, they wouldn’t be making music together at all. As anyone knows who has heard these artists riff off each other, that would be a loss to the world. The 83-year-old Doc has long been one of great trumpeters of our time. His lines are supple and melodic, his tone is silky. In mood, he can swivel from southern sunshine to deepest blues. Gil is far less well known but equally brilliant. Seeped in classical, Latin American and jazz traditions from an early age, he plays guitar as if he were born to it.
The roots of the Gutiérrez-Severinson collaboration go back to 2006. It began one night when Doc, who is best known for leading the NBC Orchestra on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show for more than 20 years, walked into a restaurant in San Miguel, and heard Gil and his group playing Latin jazz.
Gil, who’d lived in San Miguel for 30 years, had a regular gig with violinist Pedro Cartas and their group at the local restaurant Bella Italia. Many people in town knew and loved the music. But until Doc walked in that night, Gil Gutiérrez was San Miguel’s best-kept secret. Doc was 79 years old at the time. He’d just moved to San Miguel and he considered himself retired.
He didn’t have to listen long before he knew he was in the presence of something extraordinary. “My God,” he said to his companions. “These musicians aren’t just good. They’re world class!”
Before the night was over, Doc had introduced himself to Gil and was talking about jamming. Not long after that, he began performing with the group, and even recorded a few numbers for their album En Mi Corazon. Group gigs with various symphony orchestras soon followed. By then, Doc had realized he was too inspired to stay retired. As for Gil, he wasn’t San Miguel’s secret anymore.
“Now wherever we go,” Gil says, “the theaters are packed.” Recent gigs have included performances with symphony orchestras in Nashville, Minneapolis and Seattle, and an appearance at the International Trumpet Festival in Mexico City, where they played with another legendary trumpeter, Arturo Sandoval.
“I love playing with small groups, but I also enjoy performing with symphony orchestras,” says Gil, who currently divides his time between small venues in San Miguel and orchestra dates in the United States. “A quintet is more intimate. But being part of a symphonic orchestration is beautiful!”
Last August I was privileged to hear four members of the group perform at San Miguel’s Angela Peralta theater, along with pianist Eugenio Toussaint and violinist Pedro Cartas. Nobody who was there will ever forget their fierce and poetic performance.
“Although we were in an old opera house in the middle of Mexico,” says David Melville, an American expatriate who was there that night, “the music transported me around the world, to smoky Parisian cafes, Italian piazzas, Cuban beaches and the peaks of the Andes.”
How is it that some musicians are able to locate the spirit of a tune and soar with it, while others idly embroider it with their trills? I suspect it’s a special musical sensitivity that appears in childhood, long before an artist begins the arduous practice and the scales.
Born in the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca, Gil first fell in love with classical music as a 9-year-old boy, when his single mother enrolled him in sculpture classes at the local arts academy. As he worked with clay, he could hear the seductive sounds of cellos and pianos coming from nearby rooms. But when he was finally allowed to study cello, the young Gil encountered a major obstacle. There weren’t enough cellos to go around at the school, and his family didn’t have the money to buy him one. He quickly shifted over to the guitar, a much more affordable instrument.
“In the beginning, I liked the Beatles,” Gil reminisces. “My favorite song was ‘Something.’ But, after I heard Bach and the great composers, I forgot about the Beatles.”
By the time he was 14, Gil was playing classical guitar in the restaurants of Oaxaca. At 17, he teamed up with jazz guitarist Wolfgang “Lobo” Fink, and they traveled north to San Miguel where they landed a gig at local bar Mama Mía. Then came a stint in Mexico City, where Gil studied jazz and paid his dues playing on the city buses. Eventually, he returned to San Miguel to marry, raise a family and become the darling of town’s large community of American and Canadian expatriates.
Although these days a move north might make some career sense for him, Gil is passionately devoted to this town in foothills of the Sierra Madre. “The quality of life in San Miguel is incredible,” he says. “I cannot imagine living any other place.”
Once Doc retired to San Miguel, it was only a matter of time before the paths of the two musicians crossed. When they did, Doc’s early career in New York during the fifties, playing in the Latin bands of Tito Puente and Noro Morales, insured he and Gil would connect on the same wavelength.
“Gil gave me new life with his music,” Doc is now famous for telling everyone. “I thank Doc for teaching me to appreciate music with my heart,” Gil answers back.
Last Friday evening at Carnegie Hall, New Yorkers had a chance to hear Gil, Doc and the San Miguel Five in action. It was a thrilling experience no one who was there is likely to forget. And the town of San Miguel de Allende couldn’t ask for better ambassadors. Gil and Doc gave the town a human and artistic face.
“San Miguel is one of the most beautiful, and safest towns in the world,” Doc told the audience. After Friday’s concert, more New Yorkers may be inspired to head south, where they can hear these consummate musicians on their home turf.
By Mona Molarksy
Monday, January 24, 2011
"If it hadn't been for a fateful encounter five years ago, two extraordinary jazz virtuosos, gutiartist Gil Gutiérrez and trumpeter Doc Severinsen, wouldn’t be performing together at Carnegie Hall on January 28. In fact, they wouldn’t be making music together at all. As anyone knows who has heard these artists riff off each other, that would be a loss to the world."
"Amidst the mad, high energy of the show, filled with Severinsen’s sparkling trumpet solos, demon guitar work by Gutiérrez, propulsive Cuban beats, and a moment when percussionist Branly rushed center stage to drum on Gutiérrez’s guitar, there were also meditative pieces that linger in the memory still."
These two excerpts are from a fantastic article with photos in the New York City Life Examiner. Click on the link below to read the full story by writer Mona Molarsky:
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Sitting around the wooden kitchen table with Gil Gutiérrez in the bohemian artist colony of San Miguel de Allende you get a sense of where his magnetic and profoundly beautiful music comes from. For more than thirty years Gil has made his home on the Mexican altiplano in a surreal town of winding cobblestone streets lined with colonial buildings whose warm tones resonate the earth's core. It is a vibrant place that artfully mixes the old and new. If you listen carefully the textured walls and massive doors seem to have a pulse that whispers ancient secrets. Magically that rhythm is best expressed in the evocative compositions of Gil's music. Simply walking around town with him you recognize the passion people feel for this world class guitarist whose authentic style gives voice to the well worn streets. There is the gypsy jazz, influenced from Spain and South America coupled with a uniquely compelling sound that gets inside you just like the town.
Gil Gutierrez began his artistic journey in Oaxaca, the spiritual and cultural epicenter of Mexico. At age eleven, his single mother enrolled him in fine arts classes at the Bellas Artes. As he worked with clay in the sculpture taller he could hear the captivating call of classical music filtering through the archways resonating off the vaulted ceilings. Eventually unable to focus on anything but the irresistible sound he was led to the music studio and a cello waiting patiently for his hands. He began to study in earnest but with only six cellos for all the students he learned how to switch to the piano and take turns. Luckily a neighbor across the street heard of his plight and had an extra guitar to lend to the young musician who could not afford an instrument. Impressed by his fervor for music Gil’s older brother ultimately gave him the gift of his first steel stringed guitar. He practiced until his fingers bled and from the moment he picked up the guitar he never put it down.
As his passion for guitar progressed there was never enough time to rehearse and so he began to sneak out of public school to practice. At fourteen he was playing classical music in a local restaurant and was paid with horchata and pizza. He continually pleaded with his mother to understand how serious he was about music. She insisted he return to public school and focus on developing a real career. It was then he met German born guitarist Wolfgang “Lobo” Fink who immediately recognized his talent and they played together at a bar called Sol y Luna in Oaxaca. Gil was now seventeen and Lobo suggested a weekend trip up North to picturesque San Miguel de Allende. There they were offered the chance to perform at Mama Mia, a popular night spot near the zocalo and Gil never looked back. When he turned nineteen, Lobo returned to Germany so Gil traveled to Mexico City to study jazz guitar. To earn a living during this period he played his guitar on city buses.
When he returned to San Miguel Gutiérrez began performing regularly and in 1990 formed the duet Gil y Oriente with Cuban musician Oriente López, director of Afrocuba. Oriente introduced him to classically trained, Cuban born violin master Pedro Cartas and one year later they became Gil & Cartas. Their notoriety grew with the town of San Miguel de Allende as they played to packed houses of loyal locals, expatriates and tourists. For years fans and followers insisted their unique sound needed to find its way to an American audience.
It was destiny that in 2006 Gil’s path crossed trumpet legend Doc Severinsen. On an extended visit to San Miguel, Severinsen bought Oaxacan rugs from La Zandunga owned by Gil’s wife Rebecca Kamelhar who recognized Doc's name. She delivered the hand crafted carpets with her husband’s compact discs cleverly rolled inside but Severinsen who was now in his eighties and building a house in San Miguel never saw them. Call it fate, but Doc kept hearing about Gil from neighbors and complete strangers so one night he finally came to hear the duo play at Bella Italia.
After the performance the personable musician approached Gil and told him how much he enjoyed the music and that he would be back. Not knowing at first who he was, Gil’s friends directed him to the Internet and he was speechless watching videos of the trumpet genius’s incredible performances. True to his word, Doc came every Friday and Saturday listening quietly with his eyes closed and after two months inquired what they musicians were up to. Gil invited him to contribute his incomparable sound to several songs on a compact disc they were recording called En Mi Corazon. Severinsen put on the headphones to record his track and after a few seconds took them off again and said “this song is by Noro Morales.”Amazed Gil asked how he knew this composer’s music as it was so uniquely Latin American. Doc replied “I played with him in the fifties in New York.”Adding his mesmerizing trumpet to a Cuban song Almendra and a Django Reinhardt gypsy jazz tune Nuages, Doc proposed they also add an classic and beautiful song called Estrellita by Manuel M. Ponce. Although he had come to San Miguel de Allende to retire Doc told Gil “ you give me life with this music,” and he began playing the trumpet more than ever. In the past he had spent many hours conducting and once he picked up the trumpet he simply couldn’t put his horn down.
It was the summer of 2007 and Severinsen told Gil they had better start practicing tirelessly to be ready to play with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra that following November.
Sold out performances and rave revues followed them all around the country as they played with symphony orchestras in Cincinnati, Naples, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Toledo, Seattle, San Antonio, Knoxville, Jacksonville and Nashville.
In Chicago’s Millenium Park they played to an enthusiastic crowd of 10,000 people. Gil learned many things from the trumpet master, like how to give 100%, to fully enjoy the music and savor life. On January 28, 2011 Gil and Doc will be playing Carnegie Hall in New York.
San Miguel de Allende is a powerful influence on Gil's music. Despite its location in the corazon of Mexico, he was exposed to world music from countries like Turkey or Syria before the Internet. These songs were given to him by expatriates who had come to live in the UNESCO world heritage city. Walking through the markets or sitting in a cafe Gil listens and synthesizes the sounds and emotions of the town. Sometimes it is subconscious or accidental but the energy of the city finds its way into his compositions.
The town is also home to exceptional artisans and craftspeople. A humble art from practiced in Mexico are small retablos or laminas painted on tin. Deeply rooted in Spanish history they tell stories of miracles and represent the heart, soul and religious traditions of Mexicans from the 17th-19th centuries. Gutierrez is building a second home out in the countryside where he is planting fields of lavender. In the fall of 2010 he was unexpectedly attacked by a rottweiler abandoned near his land. His arm was injured but healed quickly and a friend, artist Rafael López painted a contemporary lamina on tin to give thanks that Gil was again playing his guitar.
Living in San Miguel can be like a perpetual vacation and the native color of street life teaches you to see things from a different perspective. Gutiérrez also savors the joy of travel, of going places and getting to know the people there. The opportunity to work closely with great musicians and orchestras. Flying into a city Gil starts by taking a walk, a look around to get the vibe and then channels a bit of that local energy into each performance. He has found that by sampling the rhythm and spirit of each venue he can strongly connect the audience to his music. Gil has also composed movie scores for three documentary films and really enjoys the challenge of reading scripts or watching a film then letting the music take over. In the future he looks forward to composing movie soundtracks as he has always imagined pictures when making music. His finely tuned senses lead him in the direction of each composition to communicate the emotions of a scene.
There is a visual landscape in San Miguel that makes the senses more acute, and the sounds, images and colors get inside Gil Gutiérrez and his vibrant music.