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Alex Garcia’s AfroMantra
Ole Mathisen: Tenor & Soprano Saxophone, Mike Eckroth: Piano, Ariel Alejandro De La Portilla: Bass, Alex Garcia: Drums & Compositions
AfroMantra was created in New York City more than a decade ago, by Chilean born-Cuban raised drummer, EMMY® Winner and composer, Alejandro “Alex” Garcia. The band has been acclaimed by the critics for his masterful ability to combine in his compositions, rich harmonies with powerful rhythms and flavors of North and Latin America. AfroMantra incorporates a wide variety of Jazz elements into its work, creating a palate that highlights the group’s stirring inspiration and spiritual creativity. The group skillfully balances original compositions, drawing from Caribbean, American and South American traditions and influences.
AfroMantra has been playing extensively throughout New York City area and the Northeast for the past 13 years in several Jazz festivals, hitting such venues as Town Hall Theater, Queens Theatre in the Park, Jazz Gallery, Cotton Club, El Taller Latinoamericano, The Garage, Terraza 7 Train, Shapeshifter Lab, Zinc Bar, Casa Mezcal, Fat Cat, 17 Main, Studio 54, Arka Lounge, The Izzy Bar, Nell’s, Nuyorican Poets Café, Tito Puente’s Restaurant, Satalla, Victor’s Cafe, Bubble Lounge, The Garage, 17 Frost and The Cutting Room among others. They were also featured artists on Jazz at Noon, a popular New York City Jazz television show, NBC Telemundo Network and CUNY TV. Additionally they performed at the Chenango Valley Music Festival with Grammy nominee and Master Cuban trombonist Juan Pablo Torres, San Jose Jazz Festival, Festival Internacional de Santander Spain, Latin Jazz USA Festival, Jazz and Wine Festival, Hell’s Kitchen Rhythm & Music Festival among others. The band also appears in the books Caliente “Una historia del Jazz Latino” and “Carambola,” by critic and writer Luc Delannoy. The music of AfroMantra has been selected for short films and documentaries, in special for the large documentary about one of the most important and controversial contemporary Cuban writer, Pedro Juan Gutierrez, “Animal Tropical à Montréal.”
AfroMantra’s second release, “Alignment”, their previous self-entitled album, AfroMantra, “Latin Jazz Ensemble,” and his latest CD, “Uplifting Spirit,” has received extensive air-play in the national radio station around the United States and Canada.
Jesse “Chuy” Varela, from the San Francisco Chronicle, Jazz Times and Latin Beat Magazine highlights this “Uplifting Spirit” as “an entrancing album full of sonic magical realism. The pieces traverse ideas and moods that stretch from one end of the hemisphere to the other taking the listener with facility and imagination through unlikely plots and connections.”
Alex Garcia’s AfroMantra Uplifting Spirit/Espíritu Optimista was the #1 jazz add at college radio the week of its release and spent 5 weeks in the in the College Music Journal Jazz Top-25, 3 weeks the Top-20 and peaked at #11. The CD reached #7 on the Earshot Jazz Top-10 chart of radio airplay in Canada. The CD was in regular rotation at KSJS in San Jose, and KCSM in San Francisco, KEWU in Spokane, KUVO in Denver, WGMC in Rochester, WDNA in Miami, WRTI in Philadelphia, WNCU in Raleigh-Durham, WGBH and WFNX in Boston and WHRV in Roanoke Virginia and was featured on the nationally syndicated program “Jazz After Hours” hosted by Jim Wilke. The CD was selected as one of the top world jazz CDs of 2006 by Jeff Turton host of the weekly program “Jazz Brunch” on WFNX.
Curtis Davenport, from Jazz Improv Magazine believes that this last work is “a tribute to the outstanding writing and to the all-star musicians who bring the vision to life. If this is a new experience for you, I advise you to open up your mind as well as your ears and enjoy a joyous, life-affirming musical ride.” And Danilo Navas, from “LatinJazzNet.com” confirm that Afromantra, with their last creation takes “a big leap again. Solid, cohesive playing; great compositions and arrangements (all of them penned by Alex Garcia). In short, great musicianship. What else can we ask for?”
This project serves as a testament to this progressive and innovative enclave of instrumentalist that enriches the soul of the human spirit with music that is dynamic and powerful, crafting beautiful solos and establishing a conversation whose versatility seems to have no limits.
AfroMantra latest release “This Side of Mestizaje” has recieved extensive radio airplay in the US and Canada and the critics have hailed the new album as one of the best releases in 2014.
“Here is a sizzling disc lead by drummer Alex Garcia. The cohesion of this team is almost telepathic. You’re gonna love this guys!” – George W. Harris – jazzweekly.com CD This Side of Mestizaje.