Uncategorized — November 4, 2011 at 12:05 am

Ignacio Berroa Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montreal Drum Festival



The Montréal Drum Fest is proud to announce the return of the king—the great Ignacio Berroa. Let the bells and the banners fly! Nobody forgets how he ignited the crowd last visit. And he’s gotten tighter, slicker, hotter, and more exciting. This is going to be good.

At once a veteran and a pioneer, the Cuban-born drummer has been applauded through the years for his facility in combining folkloric rhythms with contemporary jazz and funk. It’s a fiery blend that swings like a mother, grooves like a locomotive, never forgetting old country roots. For a pre Drum Fest taste, Google “Se Le Ve”, a hit track Berroa cut with the Puerto Rican band Batacumbele decades back. That’s Berroa in the studio aside a youthful, not-yet-famous Giovanni Hidalgo, grooving hard.

Others have assumed credit for this songorhythm but we feel Ignacio’s version is the benchmark. Listen to the way he hangs with the ancient 2/3 clavé while injecting urban accents. Note his left hand, always active, expertly inserting “inside” buzzes and snappy accents. That’s some high-level drumming!

Ignacio Berroa owns that stuff but he didn’t hang waiting for acclaim. Next stop was the USA, where he became first call for everybody who mattered in contemporary jazz. A short list includes Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Jackie McLean, Jack Bruce, Winton Marsalis, Jaco Pastorius…on and on. And his pride and joy, The Ignacio Berroa Quartet positively sizzles, as Montréal Jazz Fest audiences discovered not long ago.

You want to talk groove? He’s gonna dig atrench at the Montréal Drum Fest! And it’s not just bare-bones time playing, It’s flare and flash, too. Ignacio possesses the uncanny ability to dazzle with his fills, while he can toss off a single measure in 4/4 time that will lift a crowd to its feet.

Ignacio Berroa crackles with the sort of electricity that got you excited about playing drums in the first place. Incidentally, he stands proud on the recent album Jazz Drumming Legends, a Blue Note/Modern Drummer compilation. And there’s his excellent instructional videos, another story. For now, we advise you to prepare for the king assuming his rightful place on the throne—meaning the Montréal Drum Fest 2011.

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