By Truth Revolution Records

“Trombeatz” Releases “A Caribbean Thing” 


The members of Trombeatz are all professional artists, but above all else, they are friends, whose only interest is to create and disseminate music. Trombonist Hommy Ramos, who also serves as the ensemble’s musical director, began forming the initial incarnation of Trombeatz in 2005. Nelson Bello is the band’s primary percussionist and conga player. Ramos and Bello met while working together in different “Latin” bands during Ramos’ studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. At that time, neither man knew that a common thread between them was their shared connection to both pianist Zaccai Curtis and bassist Luques Curtis, better known to many as The Curtis Brothers, and core creators of what is now Truth Revolution Recording Collective. According to Hommy, “Nelson is a friend and my right hand man, who is in charge of representing ‘Trombeatz’, in addition to his excellent work as a percussionist.” Joel Mateo is a Puerto Rican drummer based in New York City. Ramos and Mateo have performed together with several artists of great caliber, in addition to shared appearances on recordings with Truth Revolution Recording Collective Artists over the years. Vibraphonist Felipe Fournier is from Costa Rica, while bassist Alex “Apolo” Ayala hails from Puerto Rico. Hommy Ramos had the pleasure of discovering them while teaching at The Puerto Rico Music Conservatory. He immediately recognized their respective skills as musicians. Years later, these men made the move to New York City, and became an integral part of the Trombeatz family.

“A Caribbean Thing” is an invitation to The Caribbean experience through music. The title invites you to want to know more about The Caribbean as a geographic region: its culture and the music. The album begins with  “Bomba Indiscreta”.  Ramos states, “The ‘bomba’ is an indigenous rhythm” of Puerto Rico. In the island nation’s colonial political condition, the powers that be have tried to eradicate the ‘bomba’. This national music is one of the most affected musical styles in my country. In my commitment, as a Puerto Rican composer, I always said that I would create compositions using my national rhythms. “Bomba Indiscreta” is Hommy Ramos’ tribute to one of the most important rhythms of Puerto Rico, with invited guest artists such as Camilo Molina Gaetan (“bomba” barrels), and his teacher and musical inspiration, Angel “Papo” Vazquez (trombone). The interplay between Ramos and Vazquez shows the immense admiration, respect and camaraderie that exists between the two men, perfectly outlining the dichotomy that every teacher and student pairing hopes to one day reach. The presence of vibraphonist Felipe Fournier casts an ever more open, elastic and pliable nature to the harmonic structure of this tune, propelling each soloist to unexpected musical destinations.

“Terrific! I enjoyed listening to it.” – Andy Gonzalez 

“Something New” is a composition in honor of the composers of “Latin Jazz” in the 1990s, including pianist Hilton Ruiz, trombonist Juan Pablo Torres, trumpeter, flugelhornist and percussionist Jerry Gonzalez and the like thereof, all of whom were big influences on the members of Trombeatz’s musical development. The 1990s were a time when “Latin Jazz” had a large viewer or listenership worldwide. Hommy Ramos’ godfather, “Cotto”, is a fan of “Latin Jazz”, and was the first person who introduced him to this musical style with a record by the ICONIC percussionist, Mongo Santamaría. The rest is history. In this composition, the members of Trombeatz thank the accompaniment of fellow musicians Mario Castro (tenor saxophone) and Dan Martinez (bass). Staying true to his original goal of paying tribute to such icons as the individual members of “The Fort Apache Band” and a myriad of their colleagues who gave the music a decade to remember at the close of this last century, “Something New” is cloaked in mystery and wonder from the very first notes, while quickly bringing the listener into the impassioned theme, as crafted by Ramos, and developed through unmistakable chemistry and interaction amongst the members of Trombeatz as a collective musical aggregation. 

“Guanajuato” is a “bolero-jazz” tune composed by Costa Rican vibraphonist Felipe Fournier. The piece is inspired by the colonial landscape, castles and the “Callejon del Beso” in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico. Although a native of Costa Rica, Fournier has lived in Mexico, Puerto Rico and is now a resident of New York City. The vibraphone is an instrument that is rich in colors, textures and moods, which Fournier is able to perfectly showcase in his surreal, transporting and pensive introduction to the theme at hand. Special guest artist Humberto Ramirez (trumpet) makes an appearance on this selection, in which he epitomizes what it means to sing through one’s horn, speaking plaintive phrases, which are answered by his cohorts in the ensemble. 

“’Trombeatz’ concept is at once soulful and sophisticated. I love the way that they utilize the trombone in their ensemble. Their new recording, ‘A Caribbean Thing’ reflects a deep understanding of the ‘Latin Jazz’ tradition, while taking the music somewhere fresh. I’m a ‘Trombeatz’ fan for sure!” – Steve Davis

“A Viva Voz”, the album’s single, is a catchphrase, telling the public to listen without any reservations. This theme was composed to show the listeners the sacrifice of many years of hard work, and the formation of what is now Trombeatz Music, as well as its first musical production, “A Caribbean Thing”. The melody of this song brings the listener into the recording studio with Ramos, Bello, Fournier, Ayala and Mateo, as a sense of urgency, purpose and mission captivates your spirit and awakens the soul to just how intensive the process of assembling a band to capture the emotions of one’s original music can truly be. This track features special guest trumpet player Juan Jose “Cheito” Quinones, whose fiery improvisation acts as a catalyst for even deeper dialogue between the congas and auxiliary percussion of Nelson Bello and the drum set of Joel Mateo. “A Viva Voz” is a short, but direct composition, with the intention of letting the listener know that Trombeatz  is in the building.

“M3” closes out “A Caribbean Thing”. This composition was created when Hommy Ramos lived in Puerto Rico. The public transportation system (“guagua publica”) that is used to travel around San Juan is called the “M3”. Once, while Ramos was using this mode of transportation, an exchange of words occurred between the passengers and the driver, due to the driver’s particular driving style. While this occurred, Hommy sang the melody without stopping, so as to not forget. In his mind, he created music for this particular event. As a result, the song was titled “M3”.  Guest participation on this tune consists of Puerto Rican musicians Mario Castro (saxophone) and, a man who is arguably one of the best percussionists in the world, Anthony Carrillo (bongos). The uncanny rapport and sense of kindred spirits that exists between Ramos and tenor saxophonist Mario Castro sets the stage for a solo section that provides unlimited sonic layers, as added to by the presence of the aforementioned Anthony Carrillo, who incites Felipe Fournier, Alex “Apolo” Ayala, Nelson Bello and Joel Mateo to widen the pool ever more for the soloist. 

“After listening to the music of ‘Trombeatz’, I can say with assurance that it is a gathering of ‘Latin Jazz’ artists, who are united by the goal of documenting great music, which reflects the spirit of ‘The African Diaspora’ through The Caribbean and ‘jazz’. This music brings both joy to my ears, and hope that this art form will be carried forward by artists such as those that make up the ensemble herein.” – John Benitez

Unlike many of their contemporaries, “Trombeatz” approaches the music that they create from a purely “Caribbean Jazz” perspective. When working within the designation of so-called “Latin Jazz”, it is quite easy for an artist to be associated with the sounds of “salsa” and other sub-genres from within “The Latin Diaspora” as a whole. However, “Trombeatz” can be noted in the same breath as Charlie Palmieri, Cal Tjader, the previously noted Hilton Ruiz and their mentor and colleague on this recording, Papo Vazquez. “Trombeatz”  is bringing a purity back to this music, which has been absent for some time. If you have a desire to know what “Caribbean Jazz” is all about, then “A Caribbean Thing” is where it’s at! 

’A Caribbean Thing’ was created to present the compositions and musical ideas of the members of this aggregation, and at the same time, it serves as a representational platform for each of them in their respective careers. My inspiration for creating this album came from the need to produce and present my music without any obstacles. This is the idea of creating ‘Trombeatz Music’, where, under said brand, I can present productions, which feature the compositions of artists who belong to and collaborate with ‘Trombeatz Music’.” –  Hommy Ramos

Collectively, the members of Trombeatz have performed and/or recorded with the likes of The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, The Eddie Montalvo Orchestra, The Steven Oquendo Orchestra, “Los Pleneros de la 21 (LP21), Candido Camero, Flaco Navaja, Ralph Irizarry and “Timbalaye”, Steven Kroon, Zaccai Curtis, Luques Curtis, The Latin Heartbeat Orchestra, Jerry Gonzalez and The Fort Apache Band, Mitch Frohman, Charles Flores, Tony Vega, Ismael Miranda, Cheo Feliciano and COUNTLESS other icons of the musical realm as a whole.

Tracks: Bomba Indiscreta, Something New, Guanajuato, A Viva Voz, M3

Trombeatz – A Caribbean Thing
Released:  4.29.2019
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