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Gabriel Chakarji’s “Venezuela in Motion”
Saturday, December 10, 2022$35 – $45
Set 1 seating times: 630 / 645 / 7
Set 2 seating times: 830 / 845 / 9
Set 3 seating times: 1015/1030/1045
Black Cat JAZZ@theEDGE! Presents…
Gabriel Chakarji’s “Venezuela in Motion”
Gabriel Chakarji- Piano, Keyboards, Voice
Juan Diego Villalobos- Vibraphone, Percussion, Voice
Daniel Prim- Drums, Percussion, Voice
Alon Near- Bass
Carlos Talez- Percussion
Gabriel Chakarji is a young pianist and composer who is deeply passionate and committed to the power of music. Originally from Caracas Venezuela, he grew up in a multicultural environment full of music that expands from afro-Venezuelan Folk, Caribbean, Brazilian music to Jazz and Gospel. Gabriel began studying classical piano at the age of nine. After high school, he studied composition at Ars Nova School of music. In his teens, he took part of the Simon Bolívar Jazz Big Band touring with this orchestra to New York and Boston in 2011. His experience, versatility, and passion made him one of the most sought-after pianists in his country. His participation in the Album “Tiempo” of Linda Briceño earned him a nomination for the Latin Grammy Awards in 2013.
At age 21 Gabriel moved to New York with a scholarship to study at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music under the guidance of great masters of jazz and improvised music like Reggie Workman, George Cables, Billy Harper and Jane Ira Bloom. He quickly became active in the scene of the city performing in venues like Dizzy’s Club, Blue note, Smalls Jazz Club, Smoke Jazz Club, Fat Cat, Cornelia Street, BonaFide, Subrosa, etc. In 2016 he performed at the late night set at the Blue Note duo with Gadi Lehavi after Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock’s duo set. That same year he toured to the Bern Jazz festival and Mexico City Jazz Festival. Appearances as a sideman with numerous artists such as Luisito Quintero, Linda Briceño, Jhon Benitez, Ali Bello and much more. Gabriel is also involved in the education program of JALC (Jazz at Lincoln center) giving concerts and workshops in public schools.
The influences of cultures, rhythms and harmonies became Gabriel’s own personality. His compositions and playing are rooted in social justice and multiculturalism.
Latin Grammy award winning, Juan Diego Villalobos, has developed a varied career as a composer, arranger, and performer making him one of the most sought-after vibraphone players in New York. His album, Perspectiva (2017), is his first step towards reimagining jazz and Afro-Veneuelan music to create an unique new sonority based on their common roots. Originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, Villalobos comes from a musical family that initiated him in Venezuelan folkloric music at really young age, and with whom he performed at different festivals around Mexico and Venezuela. In 2010, Juan Diego moved to Caracas to study at the Simon Bolivar Music Conservatory; at the same time he was part of the renowned Teresa Carreño Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and performed across Europe, Asia and the US as a classical percussionist, sharing the stage with Christian Vazquez and the acclaimed conductor Gustavo Dudamel.
In 2014 he was selected among other fourteen Venezuelan musicians to participate at “ Lang Lang & Friends”, a concert held at the United Nations Headquarters in NY city, in celebration of the 69th anniversary of its founding with special guests such as Sting, Alec Baldwin and Lang Lang himself. Simultaneously, Villalobos developed his knowledge of jazz which allowed him to present his compositions and perform with several jazz artist from and across Venezuela and the United States. Under the tutelage of Stefon Harris and Joe Locke, Villalobos obtained a full scholarship in 2018 to study jazz vibraphone at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music; learning from luminaries like Buster Williams, Kendrick Scott and Miguel Zenon. During this time he also starts appearing at distinguished New York venues including Dizzy’s Jazz Club, Harlem Stage, Smalls Jazz Club and Birdland, as a band lider and sideman, performing alongside Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo O’Farrill, Jeremy Pelt, Luis Perdomo, John Beasley, among others. This same year, Villalobos was awarded a Latin Grammy for his participation on the album Identidad by Venezuelan cuatro player Miguel Siso.
Villalobos’s second studio album will be released in 2023 and it will feature five original compositions which encompasses the raw sound of traditional Afro-Venezuelan percussion mixed with elements of jazz harmonies, highlighting the richness of the black culture in Venezuela.
Daniel Prim is a Grammy winner Venezuelan drummer and percussionist specializing in jazz, Latin, and Afro-Venezuelan music. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, he started his formal music studies at 12 years old at Jose Reina Music School. He later attended the Simón Bolivar Conservatory of Music, part of the National Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela, “El Sistema”, created by maestro José Antonio Abreu. In 2013, Daniel moved to Los Angeles to study under the mentorship of drummer Jeff Hamilton, and 2016 he moved to New York City, where he currently resides. He has performed with such luminaries as Victor Wooten, Luis Perdomo, Stafford Hunter, Etienne Charles, Roberto Quintero, Roy Wooten, Edmar Castañeda, Dayna Stephens, and others. He performs regularly with Latin Grammy winner Ella Bric, critically, Adam O’Farrill, Luis Perdomo, and the punk rock band MakeWar, on Fat Wreck Chords. In addition to his formal training, Daniel has studied and mastered the traditional drumming of his Afro-Venezuelan roots and has taught master classes in Afro-Venezuelan drumming at Berklee College of Music and Salem State University. He also teaches jazz and Latin music through the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance and New York University. In his own projects, Daniel seeks to mix Afro-Venezuelan rhythms and instrumentation with jazz composition and technique.
Carlos Talez is an afro Venezuelan artist, who has been living in Madrid for 12 years now. His music, talent and personality has taken him around the world making people enjoy. His personal charisma and simplicity hides behind more than 25 years of trajectory that backs him up wherever he goes. Since Carlos was 15, he dedicated himself to search and revive the Caribbean rhythms, particularly the Afro-Venezuelan drum, taking part as a founder of several musical movements. This Afro-Venezuelan musician is now a master of percussion instruments, folkloric dances and an appreciated ambassador of the afro Venezuelan and Latin American music around the world. He also has a Salsa band and sings all latin rhythms.
Alon Near is an Israeli-based bass player, currently residing in New York, where he is working as a bass player in various bands, after graduating the New School For Jazz with an Honorary Degree. Alon has played with Multi-Grammy Award Winner (including the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Album) Billy Childs and his Quartet, DownBeat Awarded saxophonist Eli Degibri, world-renowned pianist Johnny O’Neal many more, in various halls and festivals including the New York Winter Jazz Festival, Red Sea Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, etc.. Alon was awarded the 1st prize at the “Rostov International Jazz Competition”, a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music, and was a finalist of The Jazz Musician competition in the Rimon School for Contemporary Music