Sometimes life’s challenges can turn you into a pioneer. Take the case of one musician who is our Urban Voice this week. Papo Vazquez spent his childhood growing up on the rough streets of Philadephia and his family’s native Puerto Rico. It was then he learned to play the trombone.
The back and forth between both locations allowed him to experiment with different musical styles, such as bomba jazz, a mix of jazz and Puerto Rican bomba as well as Puerto Rico’s indigenous mountain music. Papo combined them in a way that gave him a style all his own.
Today, he is one of the leading players in Afro-Caribbean Jazz. He is also a composer and arranger. Papo has appeared in Hollywood films and has performed with such legends as Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie.
Papo Vazquez tells us more about his music and early influences in this interview with Americas Now at The Kennedy Center. It preceded his performance with the Pirates Troubadours. Americas Now also speaks to the band’s saxophonist from New York, Mario Castro.
Take a listen to Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadours. They’ll blow you away.