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Multi/percussionist and producer, Ronnie Roc brings together an eclectic array of skilled musicianship to present the music of AFRAZZ. Bridging the musically rich tradition of West African & Afro-Caribbean rhythms to jazz standards and originals, AFRAZZ delivers traditional jazz melody and improvisation with the spice of polyrhythmic flavor. Using a variety of percussive instruments (timbales, congas, djembe, songba, sabar, cajon, conch shell, and shekere) each song of Dedication engages the listener with a colorful arrangement of percussive energy intermixed with a call-and-response style and explosive solos. Stepping out of the Latin jazz tradition, AFRAZZ incorporates the unique percussive sounds of the djembe family of drums, as well as the Senegalese sabar drum.
Ayiti Cherie, a Haitian tune composed and arranged by Ronnie Roc, incorporates a carnival rara rhythm authenticated with Michael Wimberly on the conch shell. St. Thomas (Sonny Rollins), traditionally a calypso song, is performed with a celebratory rhythm from Guinea, West Africa using djembes and the songba. Although the songs are arranged with Afro-rhythms, with Dave Mullen on saxophone, and Anthony Robustelli on keyboards, moments of the music bring on the scent of blues, soul, and funk with an occasional swing feel from Richie Robles on bass guitar.
Individual members of AFRAZZ have produced, recorded, and toured worldwide with various artists such as Bo Didley, Brian Jackson, Ray Vega, George Clinton, Charles Gayle, Jean Paul Bourelly, Gil Scott Heron, Roy Ayers, Steve Coleman, and Delfeayo Marsalis. The combination of exposure and experience with such talented musicians is the recipe of AFRAZZ that makes for a fiery performance that is rhythmically rocking and visually and aesthetically pleasing. The members of AFRAZZ don’t just play the music; they provide a solid performance, playing with passion and excitement.
Inspiration for AFRAZZ derives from the music of Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader, Irakere, Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band.