>> write // chris trinidad y con todo: liner notes

Chris Trinidad: bass guitar
Christian Tumalan: piano
Carlos Caro: congas, bongo, guiro, chekere
Colin Douglas: timbal kit, clave, bells
Bill Ortiz: trumpet (1, 4, 6, 7, 8)
Jeff Cressman: trombone (1, 6, 7, 8)
Jamie Dubberly: trombone (2, 3, 4, 5)
Tony Peebles: tenor saxophone (3, 6)
Anthony Blea: violin (2, 3, 5)
Tod Dickow: flute (2, 3, 4, 5)
Juan Luis Perez: voice (2, 5, 8)
Christelle Durandy: voice (2, 5, 8)

Produced and Mixed by Chris Trinidad at Elemental MusicWorks, Pinole, CA
Recorded by Jeremy Goody on 7 + 8 August 2017 at Megasonic Sound, Oakland, CA
Additional recording on 19 May 2019 + 14 June 2019 by Aki Ehara at Sleepy Wizard Studios, El Cerrito, CA
Additional production assistance by Carlos Caro and Christian Tumalan
Mastered by Andro Ernst on 4 July 2019 at Art of Ears Studios, Hayward, CA

Design by Peter Meredith
Photos by Tarik Kazaleh
Cover Painting by PJ Martin


Receta Para "Con Todo""
Take one Filipino-Canadian bass player, add songs he wrote on cruise ships in the Caribbean, and marinate for 19 years. Combine with one Mexican-American Grammy-winning arranger of salsa music. Then enjoy this Latin jazz album of cross-pollinated melodies, rhythms, and genres from two North American musicians with a passion for the flavours of Afro-Cuban music.

Escuela De La Musica Cubana
When I was in high school, my band teacher Larry Olson announced one day that percussionist Jack Duncan would be holding a master class the next day — at the same time as my math class. Sure enough, I ditched math for an introduction to Afro-Cuban music, and became transfixed with its rhythms, histories, and spirit.

While studying jazz at Capilano College, I deepened my understanding of Latin jazz, salsa dura, and Cuban timba by playing with Vancouver musicians like the Marlin Ramazzini Orquesta, Julio Portillo's Orquesta BC Salsa, John Korsrud's Johnny Montuno Latin Jazz Quartet, Raphael Geronimo's Rumba Calzada, Martin Romero's Orquesta La Clave, Carlos Martinez's Orquesta Tropicana, Ramon Flores's Xarabanda, and Malcolm Aiken's Tanga. After graduation, I became a musician at sea, playing this genre of music aboard cruise ships in the Caribbean. I immersed myself in the work of Caribbean musicians like Charanga Habanera, Klimax, Maraca, Los Van Van, Irakere, Isaac Delgado, and NG La Banda. Eventually, when I got back to land, I got a call to play with Jack Duncan's band Shango Ashe — a decade after I had met Jack in his master class.

Visualizando El Proyecto
Shortly after I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, I met Christian Tumalan, leader of the Grammy-award-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra. I was impressed with his arranging chops, and asked him to re-imagine a number of tunes I'd originally recorded on my Common Themes album trilogy. I had written many of these songs while working in the Caribbean, so it seemed appropriate to reinvigorate them with Latin rhythms. Christian contributed new intros, rhythms, montunos, mambo sections, and other stylistically appropriate elements.

Conociendo Los Musicos
I met drummer Colin Douglas on my very first bass guitar gig in San Francisco with the timba group Rumbache. Colin was instrumental in helping to get me established in the local music scene, introducing me to the Carlos Xavier Band, Lina Torio's Mestiza y La Ley, and Leyder Chapman's Dos Four y Los Mios.

Carlos Caro was my top choice for congas. Originally from Habana, Cuba, Carlos studied at Escuela Nacionale Des Instructores De Arte and was part of the legendary group Opus 13 (which eventually became Paulito FG y Su Elite). He leads groups Vission Latina and VL Trio, with whom he has released several albums. Carlos was instrumental in shaping this album's coros (refrains) and pregones (improvised verses). I am particularly grateful for his support, enthusiasm, and feedback.  I met Carlos while working with Peter Meredith.  

I met violinist Anthony Blea while playing with Sang Matiz at Pier 23. Anthony led the legendary group Charanson and played in John Santos's Batachanga, two groups that were rooted in the Cuban dance style called charanga. Since he is well-steeped in this tradition, I asked him to play on the charanga-style tunes on this album.

Trombonist Jamie Dubberly and I played together with Braulio Barrera's salsa band Somos El Son. Jamie's own group Orquesta Dharma also featured Christian as producer and pianist. Jamie is a fantastic soloist and an outstanding horn section player who has played with Sheila E, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Luis Enrique, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Emerson String Quartet, and Bobby Caldwell. 

Saxophonist Tony Peebles is a fellow Canadian expat I met while playing a jazz trio casual gig with drummer Isaac Schwartz.  With only sax, bass, and drums, it was up to Tony and me to provide all the melody, harmony, and counterpoint. He was up for any reharmonization I threw his way, and he could instantly navigate unusual chord changes in a fresh, memorable style.

I worked with singers Juan Luis Perez and Christelle Durandy in Mario Salomon's band Timbeko. What a joy it is to hear their vocal blend, which results from careful listening, playful interaction, and a deep knowledge of the craft of singing. Juan Luis brings a background in gospel, R&B, and hip hop, and Christelle offers a vocal mosaic of soul, Caribbean, and Latin inspirations. Hearing them improvise in the studio was pure magic.

Tod Dickow is a well-known Bay Area woodwind player who leads his own quartet and the 16-piece Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, plus works with bands like Charged Particles and Brian Andres' Afro Cuban Jazz Cartel. He masterfully handled the flute parts and soloed on Llegando A La Razón. 

Bill Ortiz is a sought-after trumpet player who has played with Tito Puente, Destiny's Child, Tony Toni Toné, Cachao, Herbie Hancock, Cindy Blackman, Boz Scaggs, and Wayne Shorter. 

Trombonist Jeff Cressman has performed with Don Cherry, Peter Apfelbaum and the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, Trey Anastasio Band, Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra. He is also a respected recording and mixing engineer. 

I am particularly honoured to include Bill and Jeff, who formed Carlos Santana's horn section for 17 years. They played on the Grammy-winning album Supernatural and the single Smooth featuring Rob Thomas. 

Sonidos y Visiones
Jeremy Goody recorded the main tracks at his studio Megasonic Sound. His skill at capturing a warm sonic vibe is an essential component of all of my Iridium Records projects I have produced since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Akiyoshi Ehara recorded additional tracks at his Sleepy Wizard studios. I met Aki while recording with guitarist Alex Hand and drummer Isaac Schwartz, and I was impressed with his talent of capturing sounds with clarity. He is also a well-respected musician, playing bass guitar with his bands The Seshen and St Tropez. 

Andro Ernst has mastered all my projects, and I count on his intuition and ears.  In fact, his studio is called the Art of Ears. He knows my ideal sound, and he has offered me invaluable feedback that has allowed me to improve my own mixing skills.

Photographer Tarik Kazaleh captured our sessions at Megasonic with a keen eye for detail and framing. He is also an excellent musician, performing under the pseudonym Xcentrik. 

Designer Peter Meredith is a true renaissance person who plays piano, writes, edits, designs, sings, and conducts — and does all those things excruciatingly well. 

PJ Martin is an artist and musician I taught with at De La Salle High School in Concord, California. We last collaborated on my earlier project “Chant Triptych,” for which he drew a series of sketches for the liner notes. Given our past work together and his expertise in multiple disciplines, I asked him to paint a cover for this album, explaining that I wished for it to reflect the song titles in both literal and abstract ways. Thanks to PJ's work, the cover truly became Con Todo.

Unas Palabras Sobre Las Canciones
Luna Nueva En Mi Mente (New Moon In Mind)
I originally composed this tune during my stint working aboard the cruise ship Explorer of the Seas. Horn players Bill and Jeff are in full effect on this song. Elements of timba and funk underpin the arrangement.

Ojos Abiertos (Eyes Open)
The melodies were written aboard the Grandeur of the Seas. The original arrangement featured an obligato bass line and an odd-meter bridge, which Christian was wise to straighten out for this recording. His arrangement begins as a charanga featuring Tod, Anthony, and Jamie. Then Juan Luis and Christelle take the lead vocals in the timba sections. 

Tigres Blancos y Elefantes Grises (White Tigers and Grey Elephants)
This song was originally a jazz waltz that I wrote after a conversation with a friend who had a love for stuffed animals. I experimented with close chromatic root movements and motivic development. I asked Christian to arrange it as an Afro-Cuban bembe, and he and Tony both take wonderful and very different solos.

Llegando A La Razón (Arrive To Reason)
This tune came together in one sitting while I was working aboard the Voyager of the Seas. The title refers to that “point of seeing,” where thoughts and emotions converge to make way for reasoned thinking. I tried to let melodic motivic development guide both the composition and my bass guitar solo. Christian arranged this tune as a bolero, and Tod and Bill both took heartfelt solos.

La Esencia De La Intención (Essence of the Intention)
I wrote this aboard the Explorer of the Seas while listening intently to the work of Vancouver-based musician Brad Turner. I began with a rhythmic motif, added chords, and eventually fit a melody on top. A bridge section was yearning to be written, and eventually it came to be. I asked Christian to arrange this tune as a cha cha.

Principios De La Causalidad (The Principles of Causality)
This is one of my first jazz compositions, which originally emerged in a Capilano College practice room. This version starts as a 6/8 Afro and transitions to a fast mambo. Tony and Christian again take complementary solos. 

Hasta Entonces, Mi Amigo (Until Then, My Friend)
I wrote this song over two years while listening to copious amounts of jazz by Ralph Towner, Pat Metheny, and Roy Haynes. Christian arranged it as a songo which becomes a charanga, using the music of Los Van Van as a guide. 

Espiritu Del Antiguo Sol (Old Sun In Spirit)
Inspired by the music of Richard Bona, this song was originally conceived as a partner song to “New Moon In Mind.” Christian heard this tune as a Puerto Rican plena, with some elements of Cuban son.

Gracias A Todos
My appreciation goes to all who contributed to this project: Christian Tumalan, Carlos Caro, Colin Douglas, Bill Ortiz, Jeff Cressman, Jamie Dubberly, Tony Peebles, Anthony Blea, Tod Dickow, Juan Luis Perez, Christelle Durandy, Jeremy Goody, Akiyoshi Ehara, Andro Ernst, Peter Meredith, Tarik Kazaleh, and PJ Martin. 

Extra special thanks to my wife and life partner Pia, whose encouragement propels me to continue my creative work. This album is dedicated to my sister Celine, brother-in-law Allan, and goddaughter Charis, all of whom inspire me with their creativity and love.

Chris Trinidad
August 2019


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