The auditorium at Esperanza Academy was filled with joy and jazz yesterday thanks to the relationship AMLA founder Jesse Bermudez formed with Lovett Hines of the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts many years ago. Both joined Latin jazz legend Papo Vázquez in passing down the rich shared history of African American and Latino contributions to jazz as Esperanza Academy Charter High School students listened intently.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Papo Vázquez is a Puerto Rican jazz trombonist who is celebrating a career spanning over four decades. When he was just a teenager, Vázquez moved to New York City and performed in groups such as Conjunto Libre, in the band of Héctor Lavow, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmeri and Willie Colón. He’s had the opportunity to perform with Frank Foster, Woody Shaw, Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz greats.
During his visit to Esperanza Academy, Vázquez gave students advice on how to care for their instruments, introduced them to new instruments, and the basics of rítmo plena and rítmo bamba. Volunteers eagerly accepted the task of learning new rhythms and a one-on-one mini-lesson from the virtuoso.
It was a great boost of energy and encouragement as the Music majors will be performing in their own concert next week.
Check out photos from the visit!