Now settled in Europe, venezuelan vibraphonist Jorge Duran is leading Jalea de Mambo band which mix musicians from different nationalities recovering the swing and mambo of the 50s with the smart flavor of the New York Palladium, the famous Broadway dance-hall, and the color of the best Latin Jazz that can be heard in Europe right now. Its characteristic vibraphone sound makes this band a unique and raw example in the current music panorama. Recently documentary “We Like It Like That” has been released worldwide http://latinboogaloo.com/ emphasizing that cultural revolution where boogaloo, mambo, among other genres, were considered the so-called “Latin Soul” creating that cultural movement which day by day takes more strength everywhere.
1) Jorge, tell us a little bit about your background, your roots, and your musical influences.
Well, I started playing Latin American percussion in Venezuela (Caracas) having the chance to share with great musicians beside studying with amazing percussion players but my degree was focus in composition. Then I begun to play jazz vibraphone and it took me a few years to play again Latin American Music although here I am ready to give my very best.
2) How did you come to the idea of Jalea de Mambo?
The idea of Jalea de Mambo came to me long time ago (10 years ago or more) when I first heard the album Cal Tjader Modern Mambo Quintet, quite old album indeed (1955). That record change everything for me and blew my mind up focus then on mambo, latin jazz and what so called “Latin Soul”.
3) Mambo, Boogaloo, what many people called “Latin Soul” was a revolution during the 50s. Do you think that nowadays these genres could reach something similar?
I really think everything is possible if you work hard, I’m not trying to make a revolution my idea is that every single person come to see us playing, enjoying magic music, having a great time.
Obviously that “revolution” happened once but its essence has come along the years in all musicians who play caribbean rhythms. Nowadays, this genre is getting popular again but honestly I believe it has never lost validation.
4) What are your feelings coming from Venezuela performing in Europe and worldwide? Is the musical movement opened and active enough over there?
My feeling is that in Europe we, musicians, have more opportunities to show our culture and most of the people here are opened enough to hear or see our projects. Beyond Europe is quite the same because I have Heard about concerts with more tan 100.000 audiences in Arab Countries, for instance. It simply means that latin and caribbean music “hook” people hearts so they enjoy it full.
5) Now that you are settled in Europe tell us a bit more about your projects and expectations.
I’m living in Germany now and it is a huge challenge for me as it is a real different culture and language but my idea is to spread the Latin American culture and music not only in Europe but worldwide. We are living very tough moments at this very moment and firmly believe that músic and culture are more needed than ever because music tame the beasts, as people usually say, and that’s what we need now, I mean, peace, calm and mainly love.
6) Looking for these goals, are you working on your own or you are supported by a company, agency or similar.
Now I have the great pleasure to say that I’m not alone in this business because Cat 7 Production is my new family and they are really focused in spreading my music to reach more people. I think this is the idea, music is a language we need to be heard as I said before.
7) Finally Jorge, let’s share a message for all your fans beside colleagues who work hard to achieve similar goals you are looking for.
Well, I’m always very grateful when some one takes time to send emails or messages after watching us in a concert, I love it and love fans who give me strenght to keep doing what my heart says.
My humbly advice to all musicians who have an idea or project is that never stop making music because everything is possible in life and the real power is inside us. This is one of more beautiful and hard profession but sure worth it!
International SalsaMagazine – February 2017
La Clave Spain