“Musiquita” – Latin-Jazz-Funk Fusion for Families in Spanish & English
The multi-talented, multi-lingual, multi-instrumental team of vocalist and violinist extraordinaire Blanca Cecilia González and pianist/singer/composer Jesse Elder is at the heart of Musiquita, a vivacious performance ensembleas well as a popular Spanish-English music program for families. Their debutalbum, aptly titled Musiquita, is set for release on September 24, 2022.
Colombian native Blanca Cecilia González holds a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, and her husband, Jesse Elder, is music director of the globetrotting ensemble Postmodern Jukebox, With extensive performing/arranging/songwriting resumes that span more than 20 years, the two bring ferocious musical skills toMusiquita, underscored by a lively sense of humor befitting their experience as parents of two young children in a bilingual Spanish-English family.
Joined by a lineup of world-class musicians at the very top of their game, Blanca and Jesse have put together a wild-and-crazy, high-spirited musical romp that is also thoughtfully lyrical, sophisticated, highly intelligent, and festooned with Latin, jazz, classical, and funk stylings. With sounds ranging from big band jazz, string quartet, and accordion tango to Broadway patter, free jazz, and every kind of Latin rhythm and style imaginable, Musiquita is performed with virtuosity and creativity operating at a stratospheric level.
Among the truly spectacular musicians heard on Musiquita are Mathias Kunzli, who drums for Regina Spektor; renowned jazz bassist Rashaan Carter, a protégé of Ron Carter; Latin Grammy winners Domenica Fossati (flute) and Sita Chay (violin); cellist Susan D. Mandel, whose credits include numerous film scores and appearances with major label artists on late night TV; immensely respected NYC children’s string instructor, violist Nicole Wright; Grammy-nominated, virtuosic pianist/accordionist/composer Vitor Gonçalves; trumpeter Wayne Tucker, who plays with Taylor Swift; saxophonist Matt Parker, who has performed with countless jazz luminaries; and trombonist Reggie Watkins, who has served as musical director for Maynard Ferguson and Jason Mraz.
With the energy of classic cartoon music, Musiquitaoffers a bouncing “¡Hola!” that explodes with alegría de vivir on its title track, a giddy, bilingual number that flashes elegantly from one crazy idea to another, sampling the talents of most of the album’s musicians along the way. At one point, quite unexpectedly, the instrumentation shifts to the silky timbre of a string quartet, inspired by Tchaikovsky, with a hint of mariachi! Musical geometry permeates “Shape Song,” which celebrates the bilingual roots of Musiquita with Jesse singing in English while Blanca raps in Spanish. “Me Gusta La Lluvia” is a delightful evocation of the sounds of rain, with singing and playing from Jesse Elder, Blanca Cecilia González, the string quartet, and a free improv intro from Rashaan Carter and Mathias Kunzli.
Other highlights include “Mucho Mochi Mama,” a ‘60s-flavored song in a reggae groove, sung in Spanish, about a traditional Japanese dessert invaded by a scoop of ice cream, which inspires horn players Wayne Tucker, Matt Parker, and Reggie Watkins to flex their jazz chops with tasteful, in sync phrasing. “Unique New York” challenges listeners with a Big Apple tongue twister while embarking on a playful exploration of NYC sound and personality, celebrating diversity with vibrant musical contrasts: a chattering beginning filled with staccato New York patois, followed by a lazy swing tempo dressed up with transplanted Southern accents, and finally, a tremendous Latin jam with all the instruments going at it at once. Not to be missed is the sweet tango “Un Besito,” all in Spanish, about giving kisses to your children, which features an over-the-top performance from Blanca Cecilia González, who delves into the very heart of the Latin canción de amor, and the scintillating sound of accordionist Vitor Gonçalves, grounded by the extraordinary rhythm team of pianist Jesse Elder, percussionist Mathias Kunzli, and bassist Rashaan Carter.
ABOUT BLANCA CECILIA GONZÁLEZ:
Colombian violinist and vocalist Blanca Cecilia González has been making extraordinary music for over 25 years, sharing her love and passion with audiences on stages across North America, South America, and Europe. An avid collaborator and diversified player, her projects range from traditional classical to jazz, contemporary, rock, folk, and world music. Blanca’s classical training began at age 4 with the Suzuki method alongside Colombian traditional folkloric songs under the guidance of Maestro Luis Maria Diaz. Since making her home base in New York City, Blanca has embarked on a musical journey exploring different styles of music and expression. She has won several competitions and awards and has performed as soloist with an array of orchestras in New York and Philadelphia. Blanca holds a B.M. from the Aaron Copland School of Music where, for nearly a decade, she studied with violinist and pedagogue Arik Braude. She completed her M.M. in violin performance at the Juilliard School studying with Lewis Kaplan and exploring contemporary music under the direction of Joel Sachs and orchestral performance under the baton of Alan Gilbert, among others. An active freelancer in New York City, Blanca has led several orchestras as concertmaster, participated in recordings of different genres, performed intimate chamber music, joined stages with pop and rock musicians, and performed in off-Broadway productions.
ABOUT JESSE ELDER:
Jesse Elder is a pianist, composer, arranger, producer, lyricist, singer, and songwriter. As a pianist, he has performed professionally for over 20 years, in venues ranging from dingy bars with broken pianos to stages like Radio City Music Hall (NYC), Red Rocks (CO), L’Olympia (Paris) & the Greek Theatre (LA). He is the Music Director for Postmodern Jukebox, a position he’s held since 2016. He arranged these versions of Straight Up, We Can’t Stop, and the Super Mario Bros. Tap Dance Medley for the group, and also plays on Crazy, Dog Days Are Over, and Thong Song. He has toured the world extensively with Postmodern Jukebox and other ensembles. Jesse is the pianist/keyboardist for Elizabeth Charles & SCOPE, with whom he has recorded 3 albums, with one more on the way. He played regularly, several times a week, for over a decade with the legendary Tony Middleton and has been working with Murray Hill (the hardest working middle-aged man in showbiz) for about a decade. Jesse also composed the music for the Art of Circus, featuring his band, the Synesthetics. Jesse currently performs regularly with his wife, violinist Blanca Cecilia González. In addition to their Spanish/English children’s music program, Musiquita, they have a duo called 1in2. Jesse studies with visionary pianist & artist developer Vera Tisheff.
Musiquita will be available at major digital outlets.
To schedule an interview or request a download link or CD, please contact Elizabeth Waldman Frazier at Waldmania PR: 415-203-0220 or email@example.com.