Humberto Ramirez & Giovanni Hidalgo
Best Friends

1. San Juan Ritual
2. Celebrando
3. Hasta Decir No Mas
4. A Puerto Rico
5. Clean
6. Herencia
7. La Perla
8. Best Friends


Humberto Ramirez : Trumpet
Giovanni Hidalgo : Percussion
Oskar Cartaya : Bajo Sexto
Papo Lucca : Piano
Horacio "El Negro" Hernández : Bateria
Carmen Luz Quiñones : Peinado

Special Guests:

Tito Puente : Timbales

and with a very special appearance by their fathers:

Humberto "Pipo" Ramírez on Tenor Sax
José "Mañegue" Hidalgo on Congas.
For Humberto Ramirez and Giovanni Hidalgo, this recording was more than a mere opportunity to reunite in a studio. It was a 'reliving' process. For two humble individuals that were both born in 1963, in Old San Juan, that grew up together, this was a recording that ‘had’ to happen somewhere down the road. More than being childhood friends, their paths have had their turns and twists, but their bond has never been touched.

After close to a decade performing with his own group (the Humberto Ramirez Jazz Project), Humberto has developed his voice, direction and vision on the trumpet and has become a respected record producer in the process. In the mean time, Giovanni's congas and percussion have recorded Grammy nominated albums (‘Hands Of Rhythm’ with Michel Camilo) and performed with world named acts (Paul Simon and Mickey Hart, among them) around the globe. These experiences, blended with the commonality of their backgrounds and brotherhood were put to the test on this historic recording.
Latin jazz is generally hot-blooded music, but a quiet fire is maintained by the music of trumpeter/flugelhornist Ramirez and percussionist Hidalgo. Not that this is salsa light; far from it. The music sports a tempura-like crust: airy, simply melodic, and spicy, but not burning. The heat does come from Hidalgo on congas and timbales alongside the exciting drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, while pianist Papo Lucca and bassist Oskar Cartaya match Ramirez, step-for-calm, patient step. Just about every well established Afro-Cuban/Puerto Rican rhythm is heard during the eight cuts, five penned by Ramirez. "San Juan Ritual" sets the compact, non-threatening tone in mambo fashion. This piece and the easy cha-cha-cha "Celebrando" reserve space for Ramirez to trade fours with the Hidalgo and Hernandez cooking on timbales and drums. "A Puerto Rico" uses standard clave rhythm, closest to a 50/50 latin/jazz mix, the trumpeter's effortless lines recognizing the witty pianistics of Lucca before Hernandez steals the show with an incredible solo. "Herencia" and the title track relieves Ramirez of writing chores. The former features the hottest montuno piano on the date with other guest "best friends" Tito Puente on timbales, and the fathers of the leaders, "Pipo" Ramirez on a piquant tenor sax solo, and Jose "Manengue" Hidalgo on ripping conga drums. "Best Friends" is ostensibly a descarga between the co-leaders, Ramirez using sweet muted and non-muted trumpet to inform Hidalgo in various improvisational notions. Hidalgo wrote "Clean," a beautifully conceived, repeated piano chord sequence, heavy yet delicately balanced, based in part on the melody of "Summertime." He also penned "La Perla," a classic rumba with more repetition on the piano by Lucca, and lilting trumpet. A bomba or plena Afro-Rican motif with hints of "The Peanut Vendor," establishes with precise montuno piano "Hasta Decir No Mas," again with a percussion workout that is a common thread for the end of most bridges in these selections. There's a consistency of tempo heard throughout; nothing boils over, nothing gets too soppy slow, and nothing is boring or overtly copped. It's as if the intent is to simmer and bubble, an alluring technique that serves the participants and the listener well. A fine release from these expert musicians for the general latin-jazz public. Recommended. 
~ Michael G. Nastos
I dedicate this post to all my friends out there and to YOU too :)



Pucho And The Latin Soul Brothers
Caliente Con Soul!


1. El Niño Mambo (6:47)
2. Lena's Moods (4:19)
3. Cold Duck Time (5:03)
4. Ella's Groove (4:04) (!)
5. Happy Feet Mambo (5:31)
6. My Dream Boogaloo (Mon rêve boogaloo) (4:20)
7. Copacabana (5:26)
8. Alligator Boogaloo (4:58)
9. Laura (5:40)
10. Descarga on Las Palmas (6:19)


Marvin Horne (guitar);
Eddie Pazant (flute, oboe, saxophone);
Jon Hart (bass);
John "Mad Hatter" Spruill (piano);
Tyrone Govan (drums);
Johnny Griggs (congas);
Ernesto "Ernie" Colon (bongos);
Henry "Pucho" Brown (timbales).

Arturo Velasco: Trombone on cuts 4,7, 10
Antoine Caito: Baby bass and quinto on cut 10
Michale Turre: Flute on cuts 5 & 7, soprano sax on cut 7
Bobby Matos: Guiro on cuts 2, 6, and 10; bata on cut 10.
"Caliente Con Soul" picks up where Pucho and His Latin Soul Brothers left off years ago: putting him at the top of the pile of current soul-jazz party bands. Pucho is the original and still the best.


Timbalero Henry "Pucho" Brown has for decades held onto the mantle of being at once underaccorded and fiercely open to integrating different musics atop fundamentally Latin and Cuban rhythms. He opened ears in the 1960s as part of the "boogaloo" movement (and here covers the great Lou Donaldson's "Alligator Boogaloo"), where he thrived. A New Yorker by birth, Pucho got his ears and chops from East Harlem, where Latin pop and jazz seemed to play together as two channels in a single stereo system. Organ groove jazz, hard bop, hardcore Havana traditional rhythms, all of it came together in Pucho's world, lending his recordings a tough, driving power. His 1990s resurgence reaches a peak on Caliente con Soul!, which has the audacity to blow through rhythmic riff-outs that would make James Brown proud and a sure-to-please revision of Barry Manilow's "Copacabana." Pucho is strong, quick, and intense on the timbales, which he pounds on as his band creates a mix of styles so well thought that it'll score with Cuban music purists and '90s dance culture equally.
~Andrew Bartlett


Bansuri in Nepal

Sunil Dev
The Music of Sunil Dev


1. Improvisation 1
2. Improvisation 2
3. Improvisation 3
4. Improvisation 4
5. Improvisation 5
6. Improvisation 6
7. Improvisation 7
Sunil Dev Shrestra is a young Nepalese flautist who is now 30 years old. His favourite flute is the bass reed flute (in F). His repertoire is that of Indian classical music. He plays north Indian ragas for traditional festivities and in the thousand-year-old temples of Bakhtapur. His first master and guru was Prem Autari, an internationally renowned Nepalese flautist whose own guru had been the Indian flautist Chaurasia.
    Since then, Sunil has been to France to play at the Nuits de Fourvière festival in Lyon in front of 3,000 people and then in Paris at the Paris Quartier d’été festival. Those who were lucky enough to be there still remember these concerts. At the first, Sunil, who was totally unknown, had an audience of less than a hundred people; by the fifth concert, there were more than a thousand people there. People followed him around like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
    Since then, Sunil has been to Bombay to study for three years with the great master Prasad Chaurasia. Sunil has become a master himself.
    Sunil belongs to the Newar tribe. This tribe is very devout and practises a blend of animism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Sunil performs in temples at the incredibly lively Hindu festivals with his accompanist, Babu, the best tabla player in Nepal.
    What is interesting about these Nepalese musicians is that when they play this music in these places where it has been listened to for centuries, they give a new impetus to Indian music. Their energetic, rustic, sometimes naive performances give it a freshness, an emotion and an immediacy that the masters from Varanasi often lack. Sunil’s work helps us to understand how this north Indian classical music has been able to survive until the present day. Sunil’s music is important because it allows us to arrive, through him, at a better understanding of Hindu polytheism and Indian classical music.
    This is a very rare opportunity to see classical music performed in a traditional context that has not changed for hundreds of years. Raw and original. I went back to Nepal to record a whole album with Sunil.

- Martin Meissonnier -

get the cd here

Martin Meissonnier

Thank you for the music Arvind and not just for the music :)

some more music from the roof :)

Postcard from India


Pipes In China...

Liu Hongjun
China: Pipes of The Minority Peoples



1. 先人哀思
2. 可邊嬉戯女
3. 風之序舞
4. 怒江霧雨
5. 慕影
6. 古道吟
7. 吶号
8. 星空夜話
9. 夢梭女
10. 山林夜舞
If you ever see Liu Hongjun's Pipes of the Minority Peoples (JVC), be sure to pick it up. I heard an excerpt from it on a JVC sampler back in 1994 or so, and have always quietly kept a lookout for it, but had no luck until, out of nowhere, I spotted it. It's an enjoyable and tuneful disc, appealingly recorded and with an air of calm and tranquility about it.

The track that sucked me in, "Hebian Xi Xinu" (which translates to "The Dancing Girls Frolic by the Riverside"), features a wind instrument with a sound the likes of which I'd never heard before, and which I can only characterize as like a cross between a wood flute and a synth clarinet. It's apparently a huluxi flute, which is described in the liner notes as "recorder-like". Neat stuff, and a very pleasant .


Archaeologists have found the world's oldest playable flute in China. 
It's a 9,000 year-old, 8,6 inch instrument in pristine condition that has seven holes and was made from a hollow bone of a bird, the red-crowned crane.

It is one of six flutes and 30 fragments recovered from the Jiahu, a remarkably rich but little-known archeological site in the Yellow River valley in Henan Province in central China. Radiocarbon dating shows the site was occupied for 1,300 years beginning around 7000 B.C., during the early Neolithic period in China.

A fragment of a 45,000 year-old flute was previously found in Slovenia but it could not be played.
Nine millennia after lips last touched it, the flute was played again and its tones analyzed. The seven holes produced a rough scale covering a modern octave. It is impossible to know what relationship, if any, the tones have to six- or seven-tone Chinese scales first documented 6,000 years later (the other intact flutes have five to eight holes, but are not playable because of their condition). But the fact that the playable flute had a carefully selected tone scale indicates that the Neolithic musicians may have been able to play more than single notes, but actual music. 



Feadóga Stáin

Mary Bergin - Feadóga Stáin


1. Rileanna: A) Ril Gan Ainm, B) Cinnte Le Dia (Ah Surely), C) The Union Reel    2:51
2. Rileanna: A) Inion Mhic Sheain (Miss Johnson's), B) Mike Russell's    2:32
3. Portanna: A) Tom Billy's, B) The Langstern Pony    3:20
4. Rileanna: A) Sean Reid's, B) The Drunken Landlady    2:22
5. Fonn Mall: A) Liam O Raghallaigh    2:37
6. Rileanna: A) Bean Ui Chroidheain (Mrs. Crehan's), Gearoid O Comain Gerry Commane's c. An La Baisti The Rain Day    3:04
7. Portanna: A) Port Sean Seosamh, B) Sean Tiobrad Arann c. Rothai An Tsaoil The Wheels Of The World    2:54
8. Rileanna: A) Blath Na Smeire Duibhe (The Blackberry Blossom b. Maud Miller    2:31
9. Cornphiopai: A) Garrai Na Bhfeileoig, B) Miss Galvin    2:29
10. Rileanna: A) Aan Bhean Ar An Oilean (The Lady On The Island)    2:48
11. Fonn Mall: A) Mo Mhuirnin Ban    3:08
12. Rileanna: A) Mick Hand's, B) The Reel Of Mullinavat    2:57
13. Portanna: A) Port Mhuineachain (The Monaghan Jig),    3:00
14. Rileanna: A) Ta Citi Ar Shiuil Ag Cru Lei Ketty Gone A Milking    2:33

All tracks trad., arranged Mary Bergin

Mary Bergin : Feadoga Stain
Alec Finn : Bouzouki, Mandocello
Johnny Mc Donagh : Bodhran, Bones
This was Mary Bergin's first of two highly prized Tin Whistle CD's. It is beautiful traditional music backed up by Alex Finn on Bouzouki and Johnny McDonagh on the Bodhran. To understand Irish Music in it's most simple yet essential form, listen to the sound Mary gets out of a small whistle.
This album is perhaps the single most influential recording of tin whistle music ever made.

The majority of the tracks are traditional Irish jigs and reels, but Bergin's dynamic style and astounding technical mastery of the instrument set an entirely new standard to which most if not all players of the tin whistle now aspire.

Each track features either solo work by Bergin, or Bergin accompanied by a bouzouki and/or a bodhran (the traditional Irish drum) or bones (that's right, rib bones used as highly distinctive percussion instruments). For those masochistic whistle players who wish to try to play along, the liner notes include the key of the whistle she plays on each track. I cant recommend any one track over another, they are all my favorites....

It is also interesting to note that most of the whistles used on this album are Generations whistles, common whistles obtainable at music stores for less than $15.00. It is her skill that makes them sound like a million bucks. ~Kevin Hing
 Mary Bergin (born 1949) is an Irish folk musician who is widely acknowledged as one of the great masters of the tin whistle. She plays in both the Irish Traditional and Baroque styles.


Born in Shankill, County Dublin, to parents Joe and Máire (melodean and fiddle players, respectively), Mary started learning to play the tin whistle at the age of nine. She won the All Ireland tin whistle championship in 1968[citation needed]. Her two virtuosic recordings of solo tin whistle, Feadóga Stáin (1979) and Feadóga Stáin 2 (1993), have been critically cited as "outstanding and unequalled.".

Bergin moved to Spiddal, County Galway in the early 1970s and played with many of the up and coming stars of the Irish music scene, notably De Danann and Ceoltóri Laighin. She is currently a member of the group Dordán, who perform Irish traditional music and Baroque music.

In addition to releasing two solo albums, which aided the popularisation of modern traditional Irish tin whistle playing, and three albums with Dordán, she has taught hundreds of students, in Ireland, across Europe, and in the United States, to play the whistle.

As instruments are concerned, whistles go way back, some say to China of 5000 years ago. In the Celtic world, however, references to whistles date back only to approximately the 11th century. Whistle players are mentioned in some early Irish literature, and stone high crosses have carvings of players blowing on bone pipes with narrow conical bores. There is evidence that 12th-century Vikings played bird-bone whistles in the streets of Dublin; the High Street excavations in Dublin’s old Norman quarter have yielded the oldest extant specimens of Irish whistle. 

On its long journey from ancient China to present-day Ireland, the whistle has picked up a confusing array of names and nicknames. Some of these are pennywhistle, fipple flute, Irish whistle, vertical flute, tin flute, flageolet, cuisle, cuiseach, feadan, and feadóg stáin. No matter what you call it, the mechanics are the same: it is a simple six-holed instrument played with by blowing through the fipple (mouthpiece) attached to one end. 

Early in the 19th century, English-made whistles started to appear with the six finger hole arrangement that we see today (also some with the traditional thumb hole and keys). The 19th-century feadan (one definition of the word is "a hollowed stick") was made from the hollowed stalks of such plants as cane, elder, and wild reeds and grasses. As craftspeople became more proficient in bonecarving and woodworking, new materials were used for the exterior, reeds and fipples. The fipples in Medieval bone flutes (also known as flageolets), for example, were made of clay. 

One of the largest manufacturers today is the Clarke Tinwhistle Company. Its founder, Robert Clarke, is said to have made the first metal tinwhistle in 1843, modifying the design of a wooden whistle he himself owned and played. Clarke found the new tinwhistles to be brisk sellers; setting up his wheelbarrow full of whistles in the marketplace, he would play for the crowds and demonstrate how he made them.