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Hub hops to Cuban beats of Paredes, 6/3/05

Superb Cuban pianist finds happiness in Hub jazz scene
, 1/12/05



Osmany Paredes

Born in Santa Clara,  Osmany started playing as a child. He took the piano as his instrument at age 8, while attending school there.  He graduated in 1991 from the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música de La Habana. He moved to Mexico in 1992, where he became well known as a jazz musician. He came up to Boston in 2003 and then to New York.

See for video of Osmany playing in Issac Delgado's June 23, 2007 concert in Miami:

Hub hops to Cuban beats of Paredes, 6/3/05

By Bob Young. Boston Herald
Friday, June 3, 2005

Boston's an unlikely stopping-off point for some of the world's best young Latin jazz players, but that's exactly what the city has been for several years now.

     Cuban-born pianist Osmany Paredes, the latest heavyweight to hang his hat here, put on a show Wednesday night at Ryles that had the crowd rushing home with a message to absent friends: Catch this guy while he's still in town.

     The 32-year-old native of Havana called his band a traditional Cuban quartet, but there should be a big, fat asterisk attached to the description. Traditional with a very modern edge is more like it.

     From the supporting instrumentation - stand-up electric bass, timbales, congas, guiro and vocals - to the interpretations of songs, danzons and guarachas, this was Afro-Cuban jazz for the new millennium.

     Paredes is an aggressive stylist with a bright-sounding, percussive approach and penchant for fiery improvisations, yet time and again he revealed a sweet side on the likes of the stately contradanza opener ``La Comparsa'' and the bolero ``En Nosotros.''

     It's a mix he's comfortable with, having studied classically in Cuba, then working in Mexico City and other spots with such powerhouses as Israel Cachao Lopez and Patato Valdes.

     At Ryles, his band of like-minded compadres hailing from Cuba, Costa Rica and Colombia sounded far tighter than anyone could have expected from a first gig together. They were clearly more than happy to take direction from the quietly charismatic Paredes.

     He turned Miles Davis' ``Seven Steps to Heaven'' from jazz standard to seething danzon, playfully slowing and speeding the tempo as his bandmates grinned at the challenge.

    He quoted ``The Girl from Ipanema'' and a half dozen other songs on an intensely polyrhythmic ``Tres Lindas Cubanas'' and made the case for a dance floor on the Cuban descarga ``Pa Gozar,'' with timbalero Jorge Najarro and conga player Gregorio Vento leading the charge.

     Heed the buzz: Paredes is not to be missed.

Superb Cuban pianist finds happiness in Hub jazz scene, 1/12/05

By Larry Katz
Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The surprise isn't that so many talented Latino musicians are coming to Boston to play. 

It's that so many are coming to stay. 

Consider as a prime example Cuban pianist Osmany Paredes, who now lives in Roxbury and is rapidly emerging as a highly visible and exciting presence on the local scene. 

``When I first came to the United States, I moved to Los Angeles,'' says Paredes (pronounced pah-RAY-dess) over lunch in Harvard Square. ``The idea was to extend and develop my career. I could have stayed there, but I had already spent 11 years living in Mexico City, another very big city. I had some friends in Boston, and they encouraged me to come.'' 

One of those friends was Pedro Aizcorbe, a tireless promoter of the Boston Latin jazz scene. He convinced Paredes - as two years earlier he had convinced another top-flight Cuban jazz pianist, Tony Perez - that Boston is now a hub for Latino musicians looking to hone skills and forge reputations. 

``I could have stayed in L.A. or gone to New York,'' says Paredes, whose size makes him look more like a Patriots linebacker than a fleet keyboardist with a delicate touch. ``But I liked that Boston was smaller, but is still a place filled with musical activity. People had told me about Berklee and all the people from around the world who come there. I didn't come here to go there, but I appreciate the musical ambience Berklee creates. 

``So I was very curious to experience Boston,'' Paredes continues, speaking in a mix of halting English and Spanish translated by Bertram Lehmann, a Berklee teacher and the drummer in his new quintet. ``I moved here in August, 2003. And I found that I like what's going on in this city.'' 

Even the winter weather? 

Paredes laughs. ``That's the only thing I don't like.'' 

When Paredes, 32, arrived in Boston, he had already released a debut CD, ``Osmany Paredes & Menduvia,'' that he had recorded in Mexico with a group of young Cuban players. Produced, arranged and mostly composed by Paredes, it earned enthusiastic reviews from the international press for its enticing mix of lyrical introspection and rocking Cuban jazz. 

While Paredes can be as introspective as Keith Jarrett or as complex as Chick Corea, he just as frequently accompanies his playing by bursting into actual song. It's the sort of openly accessible music that inspires the belief the road to the future of jazz will be paved with Latin rhythms. 

``The rhythm Osmany plays with,'' says drummer Lehmann, ``is so strong, so organic, he just pulls you along when you are playing with him. The Cuban pianists are basically percussionists. They play with a drummer's sense of time, but they express it playing harmony and melody. Their timing is incredibly crisp.'' 

The flavor and fire Paredes brings to a jazz party has made him an increasingly busy piano man about town. Tonight he performs at Ryles in Cambridge, leading his own new band, which in addition to Lehmann includes reknowned bassist Oscar Stagnaro, saxophonist Tim Mayer and percussionist Ernesto Diaz. Tomorrow he plays with the Cuban Jazz Project, featuring saxophonist Bob Gullotti, at the Fireside in Brookline. 

Paredes has also been working with singer Patricia Vlieg, a native of Panama, who comes to Ryles on Feb. 11, as well as with Rhode Island-based Grupo Chekere. You might also find him playing for dancers at Johnny D's weekly Sunday night salsa parties in Somerville. And he's also performed recently in New York with fast-rising Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry. 

Which means music-loving Bostonians would be wise to enjoy Paredes while they can. 

``In the future, I might want to go to New York,'' he admits. ``But who knows? Right now, I am very happy here.''

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Currently based in Boston, MA, and available for teaching and for gigs. Contact (antispam: replace _AT_ with @)

Makuta Music, (617) 335-3851,


Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA.
Wednesday, September 27th, 2006, 9p.m.

Bertram Lehmann – drums,  Osmany Paredes – piano, voice; Lamine Toure – sabar percussion, Ernesto Diaz – percussion, Peter Slavov – bass; Rick DiMuzzio – saxophone; Mehmet Sanlikol - ud; Amir Milstein – flute.

The Berklee Performance Center is located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. Tickets are $5 for general public, $1 for Berklee students. Call 617-747-2261 for info and tickets.

On Wednesday September 27th, Berklee College of Music Assistant Professor Bertram Lehmann will lead his ensemble in another edition of ‘Batuque Belé’, featuring an eclectic blend of World Music influenced Jazz and originals. The evening will include Bulgarian and Turkish folk music arranged for a large jazz ensemble, original Cuban Jazz, and tunes by Wayne Shorter and others.

Mr. Lehmann will be accompanied by some of Boston’s finest performers, including Cuban piano virtuoso Osmany Paredes, Senegalese master drummer Lamine Toure, and Mehmet Sanlikol, the director of the accomplished DUNYA organization, which explores all facets of Turkish music, on ud. Amir Milstein is an internationally recognized flutist, who has performed with the Israeli-Arab group Bustan. Rick DiMuzzio and Ernesto Diaz are also long-standing Berklee faculty.

Bertram Lehmann has been based in Boston for over a decade, performing Jazz, Latin and World music with artists like Mili Bermejo, Katie Viqueira, Mango Blue, Luciana Souza, Natraj, as well as Cuban pianist Tony Perez. In addition to his appearances in the U.S. with artists such as Paquito D’Rivera, Romero Lubambo, Danilo Perez, Claudio Roditi, Kenny Werner, and The Caribbean Jazz Project, he has toured internationally in India, Ecuador, Ghana, Mexico, Israel, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and Germany.


Osmany Paredes and Menduvia,,2551160,00.html


Review of Osmani Paredes & Menduvia, Latin Jazz Network

Intrevista: De Cuba a México y más allá: Osmany Paredes


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