Santa Fe, N.M.-based pianist Bert Dalton may not look like your prototypical Latin jazz musician, but hes as experienced and talented as they come.
Growing up in Chicago, he was exposed to the Windy Citys lively Latin jazz scene at any early age. It hooked him almost immediately, and hes lived and breathed music ever since, working as a pianist, arranger, composer, educator and producer for decades.
Learning never stops, however, and while Dalton is an authority of Latin music, he found himself wanting to explore its offshoots.
Latin is such a huge umbrella term, he said. There are a couple of different flavors that I think really stand out. Latin jazz, which is more Afro-Cuban-based, and is something Ive explored a lot, of course, but Id just wanted to learn more about Brazilian music.
Hes a hands-on learner most pianists are so he thought it best to start a new group to dive right in. Bringing along the other two pieces who constitute The Bert Dalton Trio (bassist Rob Milo Jaramillo and drummer John Bartlit), Dalton also recruited acclaimed New Mexico vocalist Patty Stephens and percussionist Frank Leto to form The Bert Dalton Brazil Project.
The fresh acts first order of business? Learning Brazilian jazz standards. No problem!
Right away, from the first moment, the group just completely gelled, Dalton said.
a bit of a learning curve existed, he said, its been mostly a fun one.
As a jazz musician, its whole new aspects to discover. Its something
Ive always been fascinated with. You have all those beautiful textures
of the Latin rhythms, the way they treat the beat. And on top of that,
you have gorgeous melodies and these really interesting harmonies,
Dalton said. Thats what hooked me as a piano player: the opportunity
to play cool rhythms and beautiful melodies.
The reaction to the group has been overwhelmingly positive, earning awards from its home state and glowing reviews.
so much joy, love and heart to this music that is conveyed. We are
playing this music because we love this music theres no other real
reason why, Dalton said. Its danceable and festive, and its just
likable music. You cant help but have a good time when you hear a good
Dalton Brazil Project is booked to play shows the rest of the summer
including Normans threeday Jazz in June festival this weekend before
heading back into the studio with sights set on diving even deeper and
composing original songs.
a nice collaboration here, Dalton said. Now that weve established
this group, we want to build on things and create our own music.
Wanna have sax?: Jazz in June schedule
7 p.m. Steve Coleman & The OBS All-Stars
9 p.m. Carolyn Wonderland
11 p.m. Blues Jam with Steve Coleman & The OBS All-Stars
7:15 p.m. Whats That
9:15 p.m. The Bert Dalton Brazil Project
6 p.m. New Horizons Jazz Band
6:45 p.m. Norman High School Jazz Combo
7:10 p.m. Ivan Peña Ensemble
8:35 p.m. Norman High School Jazz Combo
9 p.m. David Sanborn
11 p.m. Jazz Jam with The Grant Goldstein Ensemble