Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Silvano Monasterios - Roads Not Taken

Silvano Monasterios - Roads Not Taken

A bona fide piano prodigy born in Venezuela, pianist-composer Silvano Monasterios began his professional career at the age of 18 by performing and recording with some of the most prominent artists from his native land thus becoming experienced in a wide variety of musical genres. In 1989, he participated at the Miami Jazz Festival, where he received a “Best Soloist Award”. In 1990, he moved to and after obtaining an “Outstanding Soloist Award” at the University of Colorado in 1991, Monasterios received a music scholarship from the prestigious music program at the University of Miami, from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1995. In 1998, Silvano was voted “New Artist of the Year” at the “Hennessey Cognac Jazz Search” in New York City and he released his first solo CD, “Roads Not Taken”, which remains as fresh now as it did then. Unfulfilled academic aspirations led Monasterios to return to the University of Miami where he earned his Master’s Degree in Jazz Piano and Pedagogy in 2004. During the years 2002-2004, Monasterios was the pianist in the award winning ensemble and most revered group "Bop Brothers" at the University of Miami under Vince Maggio. In 2005 DownBeat Magazine honored Silvano as the winner of its “Best Jazz Instrumental Soloist Award” in the 28th Annual Student Music Awards. A particularly gifted composer, he also won in the category of “College Original Song Outstanding Performance” for his composition “Avila”. Since then Monasterios has performed with a number of important artists including Ira Sullivan, Terumasa Hino & the World Jazz All-Stars, Othello Molineaux, Dave Liebman, Larry Coryell, Melton Mustafa, Marc Johnson, Donald Byrd, Alan Harris, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Nathen Page, Randy Brecker, Sammy Figueroa, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paul Wertico, Mark Egan, Claudio Roditi, Dave Valentin, Shakira, David Lee Roth, Lou Soloff and Nestor Torres. But Monasterios’ style is best described in the words of Jeff Laibson: “It is not surprising that as I was listening to the music of Silvano Monasterios I began to smile. With all great piano playing in the jazz genre, we can recognize the usual suspects of influence, whether it is Bud, Monk, Bill Evans, Herbie, McCoy, Keith, Chick, or anyone for that matter. That fact is simple, and undisputed. Great jazz playing on any instrument has always been a synthesis through osmosis of sorts, and a ton of study, practice and most of all, patience. Through its entire history, every great player has listened to the records of their inspirators, transcribed their feel, their mood, their harmonic concepts and language, their developed ideas and improvisation, and most of all, their wonderful idiosyncrasies of execution. The articulation, if you will. All of that is mixed into the heart and soul of the wishing individual creating a new kind of artistry. We hear this influence in every piano player, including the masters, so to have smiled when I first heard Silvano's music made perfect sense to me. I smiled also because his music makes one smile and happy, but equally important is that I smiled because I heard his voice and felt his vision and the influence that he too will have on others over the years as well. From the shortest phrase to the longest, though the language of jazz is obvious, his own sound and style has, and will ever be refreshing to me, and the first thing I think about, and feel as I listen to him, is the influence of his own culture, present in every cell of music that he creates; in every phrase he executes; and most of all; in every piece he composes. When I first met and had the privilege of meeting Silvano was at the University of Miami. He was a student of mine for a brief period of time, and my favorite part about teaching him was actually what he taught me. I have always learned more from my students than I have taught them. Most honest teachers would/should admit that. Coming to America from Venezuela with nothing but a dream was inspirational to me and still is. He had a powerful hope and desire, and through many years of hard work on his part, has envisaged his dream many times over and will continue to do so. The greatest part of his presence and present, is still his longing and search for matters of the heart. His love of home, family and heritage will forever be at the core of his artistic journey. They are what drives him to and into maturity, and always will be. Silvano's originality will always be a source of joy to me. What I learned from Silvano is that when one listens, one learns. When one learns, one might just smile as well.”
Roads Not Taken” has been re-mastered and reissued by the artist himself and it is finally commercially available in digital format. Musicians are: Silvano Monasterios on piano and keyboards, Marc Johnson on acoustic bass, Alexis Peña on drums and percussion, Ira Sullivan and Tom McCormick on saxophones, John Bailey on trumpet and fluegelhorn, Oscar Salas on percussion, Lazaro Alfonso on bata drums, Pepe Vera on clarinet and flute, David Alsina on bandoneon and Randy Bernsen on electric guitar. The links on this player are for Europe but below you will also find the link for the US iTunes store.

Track Listing:
1. San Ruperto
2. Mira La Luna
3. La Gaita y la Luna
4. Flor de Fuego
5. Lawrence
6. Roads Not Taken
7. I Hope
8. Carmen
Buy it at CD Baby or

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