The People of Melting Pot

 Melting Pot (L to R): Ehren Hanson, Hans Glawischnig, Bryan Davis, Dave Anderson, Neel Murgai, Dave Restivo, Roberto Quintero, Memo Acevedo  

Melting Pot (L to R): Ehren Hanson, Hans Glawischnig, Bryan Davis, Dave Anderson, Neel Murgai, Dave Restivo, Roberto Quintero, Memo Acevedo  

Just like the immigration melting pot is ultimately the story of the people in it, so it is with the Melting Pot music project and band. I’m excited to bring together such great musical messengers fluent in multiple musical dialects of the world.

Drummer Memo Acevedo was born in Colombia, lived and played in Spain, started his family in Canada, and immigrated to the US. He has been a big part (with a big heart!) of the NYC music scene since the 1990s. Memo was mentored by percussion legend Tito Puente, and is a musical encyclopedia of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms. Memo holds residency at the Zinc bar the first Friday of every month with his Manhattan Bridges Orchestra (in which I play saxophone).

Percussionist Roberto Quintero was born in Caracas, Venezuela, growing up in one of the most its renowned musical families as the son of Ricardo Quintero and Eglee Correa. After success in his home country, Roberto moved to New York to fulfill his musical dreams, and he now performs in high-profile music acts in all genres, from symphonic to Jazz, Latin Jazz and Latin House.

Bassist Hans Glawischnig was born in Graz to a musical Austrian father, and an American mother.  He relocated to the US to study at Berklee School of Music before becoming an in-demand bassist all over the world. Our bassist for the Melting Pot September 6 CD release performance, Gabriel Vivas, was born in El Paso Texas, raised in Venezuela, studied at the University of Miami, and performs with some of the top names in the Latin Jazz world.

Born in New York, Dave Restivo is one of Canada's most respected and influential jazz artists. He is a 3-time winner of the National Jazz Awards' Pianist of the Year Award, and is listed in the current edition of Canadian Who's Who. Dave first played with Memo in Toronto as a student in the 1990s.

Neel Murgai is a sitarist, overtone singer and co-founder of the Brooklyn Raga Massive, a raga-inspired musician's collective that I’ve enjoyed jamming with on multiple occasions. Neel's music ranges from Indian classical to original compositions and contemporary cross-cultural collaborations with influences spanning the globe.

Ehren Hanson began learning tabla at age 15 under Misha Masud in New York City. In 2000, he became a disciple of Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and performs frequently with Brooklyn Raga Massive and other groups. Ehren’s wife is Colombian, and he puts the Spanish he has learned communicating with Melting Pot’s Latin percussion team! Melting Pot also features a guest tabla performance by Deep Singh, who was born in London, England, and currently lives in the US, exploring ways to combine Indian percussion with modern Western grooves.

Trumpet and flügelhorn player Bryan Davis hails from the UK, is now based in New York and enjoys an international reputation as a lead trumpet player while performing regularly with groups including Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Bryan has adopted the American sport closest to my heart, baseball, becoming an ardent fan of the New York Yankees.

Israeli flutist Itai Kriss, now based in New York, contributes to a couple of songs on the Melting Pot CD as a special guest. Itai’s terrific flute playing can also be heard on his new album Telavana, exploring connections between Middle Eastern and Caribbean music.

These are the people of Melting Pot, and I couldn’t be more excited about their contributions to our new album! Melting Pot gives us the chance to celebrate the ideas and energy that people bring from everywhere, to make this a better place.

In my next post, I’ll talk more about the songs of Melting Pot.