Afro Blue

Afro Blue was originally composed by Cuban Percussionist Mongo Santamaria and American Jazz pioneer John Coltrane.

I picked this tune as the first one on the album because it has important family cultural ties and roots.    I was first introduced to the Cuban conga legend Mongo at 5 years old when my dad -Arturo and mom- Peggy decided they needed a night out. My parents only 22 years old at the time had no baby sitter so they decided they where going take their two kids out to catch the hottest percussionist at the time.  Mongo was playing in Redondo Beach, California at  one of the most happening Jazz Clubs in the L.A. area, Concerts by the sea. My young parents knew that we would be viewing from outside the club because it was 21 years age establishment. So, all four us my little brother Eric, 4 years old, my mom, dad and myself stood outside the door viewing the concert. What a spectacular show. A full house and line outside, about 30 minutes into the show the steward grabbed me and and my brother and took us straight to the front. That was my first live introduction to the conga Master. Later as an adult I became friends with Mongo who used to visit Seattle and perform at Jazz Alley. I would meet up with him during the day and take him to his favorite resturant to eat and to talk life, love, politics and of course music. I asked him on one of his visits the meaning of Afro Blue. He told me it was a tribute to Yemaya the Orisha of the Oceans and motherhood. With that knowledge I added an up front Orisha chant to Yemaya. Hope you enjoy.

 

An accomplished musician, author, teacher, and DJ, Arturo has performed worldwide, sharing the stage with such music legends as Tito Puente, Dave Valentin, Paul Horn, Pete Escovedo, Brandi Carlile, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and many more.
 
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