Edgar Abraham releases a new album that highlights the splendor of Puerto Rican music fused with jazz
Those who know him may think the title of his new album refers to the lifelong creation of award-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Edgar Abraham, however, ‘The Machine’ (La máquina) is a Boricua folklore song that serves as a central theme to the production, which fuses Latin jazz with musical elements that highlight the splendor of the Puerto Rican experience.
“Edgar Abraham, La Máquina”, available on major music platforms, is a celebration of Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Hispanic heritage, with fusions of Latin jazz, arrangements of popular folk themes and original compositions. The theme that gives the production its name is an arrangement of the popular song ‘La máquina patinaba’ by composer Manuel Jiménez Canario, a famous ‘bomba’, which describes the journey of the train that existed in Puerto Rico at the end of the 19th century. century, to transport sugar cane.
According to Edgar Abraham, “I worked on this production for a long time, in a meticulous and thoughtful way. The theme of ‘La máquina’ or The Machine’ is tradition, history and culture at the same time, and it takes on a very special because it gave me the opportunity to record it with someone I admire a lot, my friend Miguel Zenón, a great glory from Puerto Rico.”
In several videos released with the production, you can see the two saxophonists virtuously recreating the route of the train, musically elaborating the popular song in its entirety and creating with improvisations a special ‘Intro’ for the album, in addition to two ‘ Interludes’, the one that celebrates Afro-Latin American influences and another theme, where the two saxophonists interpret articulations of syncopated rhythms, with virtuosity, musicality and a high level of creativity, from Puerto Rican folklore.
“Although we had known each other since we were young teenagers, when we studied at the Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan, we had never recorded together. Miguel is a genius, a master who gave pride and glory to Puerto Rico, and being able to record this piece with him was a great privilege. It also gives the production a very special meaning. This theme celebrates our Puerto Ricanness, our roots and our tradition, to the rhythm of jazz,” said Edgar Abraham.
For his part, Zenón, added that “when I saw Edgar in the corridors of the Escuela Libre de Música I remember I used to think… What is this kid doing playing Charlie Parker? I have always had a great admiration for him and I was able to appreciate his great talent and his work outside of Puerto Rico. For me, it was a spectacular experience to work together on this project. With this theme, we have created a fusion of classical, jazz and avant-garde celebrating our Puerto Rican roots.”
‘La máquina’ is Edgar Abraham’s 22nd album and it also includes other themes from Caribbean folklore. The discographic production of 11 famous songs to the sound of ‘rumba’ in the character of ‘Yayabo’, which tells the story of a prisoner already released from prison, in addition to including the famous bolero, ‘Dos gardenias’, by Cuban composer Isolina Carrillo.
These renowned themes from popular Boricua music join original compositions by the artist that explore his roots and musical influences ranging from his classical training, to bomb and plenaflamenco and rumba.
Other original compositions from this production are: ‘El mofongo express’ a modern piece of jazz fusion; “Piki Juye”, a Jazz arrangement with cha-cha-cha, inspired by the mischievousness of the small field insect that bites and quickly escapes; “La gitana del Cabaret”, a sensual piece that mixes jazz and flamenco; ‘El Único’, a tribute to a beach located in the north of Puerto Rico, in a small corner where sea turtles nest and ‘Plena Vida’, a composition he made at the age of 16 inspired by the famous plena and parrandas typical of Christmas in Puerto Rico.
“On this album, the saxophone is the protagonist, and the element of composition has been decades of hard work. There are compositions, like ‘Plena Vida’, which I made as a teenager, 16 years old, and played to my mom. It’s an album that reflects my journey and the stability I have at this point in my life,” said the three-time Latin Grammy-winning artist.
In addition to Miguel Zenón, Alfredo Rodriguez also participates in the ‘tumbadoras’, Gabriel “Gaby” Rodríguez on drums and timpanist Manolito Rodríguez on percussion. The album was recorded entirely at the artist’s studio, Sangre Fría Studios and featured the meticulous work of Kiko Hurtado, as sound engineer.
In the digital age, the production features visuals that include several videos of the recording with Miguel Zenón, made by the filmmaking collective Monovision, as well as original animations inspired by the story of each theme. The animations were created by Puerto Rican artist Yemuel Moreno, who along with Edgar Abraham researched the themes to create the stories and characters.
“Edgar’s music is very cinematic, and during the process of creating the animations we talked about the characters that play in each theme. We created ‘La máquina’, the train, traveling the coast like it did in the ‘era of the sugarcane industry. , but we also brought ‘Piki Juye’ to life, and we created a caricature of the bug that looks like a mobster who dresses like a gangster from the 30s and walks the streets of ‘Spanish Harlem’, explained Yemuel Moreno, who holds a master’s degree in animation from Barcelona, ”Dos gardenias” shows a couple dancing with passion on the famous bolero, while, for “Yayabo” , the artist recreated the atmosphere of the street rumba. Animations can be seen when you click on each theme in Spotify.
Edgar Abraham, winner of three Latin Grammy Awards, has worked as a composer, arranger, producer and musician with celebrities such as Kany Garcia, Jorge Drexler, Vicente Garcia, Dave Valentin, Giovanni Hidalgo, Cheo Feliciano, Calle 13 and Residente, among many others. He has performed in major venues around the world, including the famous Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club in London and Carnegie Hall in New York. You can listen to this and other Edgar Abraham productions, for free, on all major music platforms. For more information, you can access www.edgarabraham.com