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The Mario Castro Quintet is one of the brightest and up and coming jazz groups of today. The group is lead by Mario Castro, a 2011 Berklee College of Music Graduate from Humacao, Puerto Rico. At 23, Castro is already an accomplished musician and has studied with George Garzone, Hal Crook, Terri Lyne Carrington, among others. According to saxophonist Dave Liebman: “..Mario has a gorgeous sound on the tenor and most of all, leadership and passion.”
Mario Castro’s debut quintet album; “primavera”(2012) was released under Greg Osby’s record label Inner Circle Music. Primavera consists of nine original compositions by Mario and his quintet, seven of them credited to Castro. The recording features his long time Berklee College of Music classmates and close friends bassist Tamir Shmerling, drummer Jonathan Pinson, pianist KyuMin Shim and trumpeter David Neves, plus collaborations by sound designer Gabo and vocalists Julia Easterlin, Anita Fearon and Kathleen Doran. Every composition in this album has a special place, meaning and reason. There are no tracks on this album that are present just to take up time. Primavera is a piece of art from beginning to end.
Saxophone and jazz pioneer David Liebman says : “Producing your first recording as a leader is quite a challenge on several fronts, mostly since this will be what people remember about you for at least awhile. On this recording Mario Castro shows all sides of his talents… arranging and composing along with the actual playing; a gorgeous sound on the tenor and most of all , leadership and passion. The music is infectious with the band members contributing to a repertoire that touches on several different stylistic trends of modern jazz. But for me, most of all is that this is a real JAZZ recording, no tricks, no games, pure beauty, energy and honesty. For a premier performance it doesn’t get much better. My compliments ”
Mario has played in various renowned festivals and venues including The Newport Jazz fest, Toronto Jazz fest, Montreal Jazz fest, Nancy Jazz fest (France) DC Jazz fest, Martha’s Vineyard Jazz Festival, P.R. Heineken Jazz Festival, between others. Mario has also worked as a side man and featured artist with a variety of artists including: The Puerto Rico Philharmonic Orchestra, Dave Liebman, Henry Cole and the Afro Beat Collective, Giovanni Hidalgo, Chucho Valdez, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, S.O.J.A., between others.