Alexis Baro is a three-time nominee for the Canadian National Jazz Award in the "Best Trumpet Player" category.
He performed and recorded as a member of the Canadian hard bop band "Kollage" for many years and was a featured solist on Hilario Duran's Juno Award winning album "From The Heart".
Baro has also performed with a variety of artists such as Omara Portuondo, Tom Jones, David Foster, Dr. Lonnie Liston Smith, John Secada, Pacquito D'Riviera, The Temptations, Paul Shaffer, Hilario Duran, and many more.
Baro has opened for Herbie Hancock at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, performed as a feature act at the Toronto Jazz Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival and most recently performed at the Trinidad and Tobago International Jazz and Steelpan Festival, 2012 TD Toronto Jazz Festival and The Waterloo Jazz Festival
As a solo artist he has three recordings to date: "Havana Banana", "From The Other Side" and his newest release "Blue Skin".
Jeff King - Saxophones/Flute
Dave Restivo - keyboards
Daniel Barnes - Drums
Artie Roth - Bass
Alexis Baro - Trumpet
Blue Skin - G-THREE
From The Other Side - G-THREE
Havana Banana - Universal
Alexis Baro's songs inspired by baby hearts and car horns
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Ask trumpeter Alexis Baro about the inspiration for From the Other Side, his new album of original s...Ask trumpeter Alexis Baro about the inspiration for From the Other Side, his new album of original songs, and the initial response is rather vague.
"Some people ask, `Do you write first the harmony and then the melody?' It's hard to tell, it kind of all comes together," said the musician over tea at a café in his Bloor St. W. neighbourhood.
"Sometimes, it starts with a drum groove. You never know. You take influence from everything around you – could be a car horn."
But when he's pressed on the origins of a particularly compelling track, "African Escape," quite a story unfolds. The tune, which is anchored by free-flowing percussion, was born out of regular hospital visits Baro and wife Tracey made to monitor her pregnancy with their son Alexis Jr., who is now 2.
At each appointment the couple were placed in a large room with other mothers-to-be, in varying stages of gestation, listening to the amplified heartbeats of their babies.
"The beds were only separated by curtains," Baro explained. "You would hear like three or four heartbeats at the same time. I guess the smaller babies' rhythms were faster and the older babies sounded slower.
"After a couple weeks, I developed a pattern that could be used with the bata drums. I took it to the guy who plays percussion with me and he said it was very similar to the Shango pattern in Afro-Cuban religion, which I had no clue (about)."
Baro is a Havana native who came here in 2001. Noted for an aggressive sound, he's a key member of hard-bop group Kollage, Caribbean jazz ensemble CaneFire and Latin band Son Aché.
While his 2005 disc Havana Banana was steeped in traditional Latin jazz, this disc, which is being celebrated at a Lula Lounge show tonight, showcases funk and R&B.
"You get influenced by the music scene that you're involved with most," said Baro, pointing to his regular Saturday-night Orbit Room gig with R&B/soul band The A-Team.
"They like to categorize people here, which I hate. That kind of happened with the first album – `He's the Latin jazz guy.'
"It doesn't matter where you come from; music is universal. You can get a Romanian guy playing amazing straight-ahead jazz, or a Cuban guy playing funk.
"This is another side of me. Jazz is the kind of music that can mix with anything. I usually compare it with pasta: you can put any kind of sauce on pasta and it will taste like something. I like to listen to something non-jazz and bring it to jazz."
Baro, who began playing at 9, describes himself as a dedicated but practical player.
"Trumpet is not like a lot of instruments; you need to rest your facial muscles, your lips, your teeth. If you've been playing for a really long time your teeth will hurt, because you're pushing on your gums. You need blood to flow in your lips and you can overwork your muscles, then they don't respond. I practise, but not every day."
POP & JAZZ CRITIC - Toronto Star
Alexis Baró From The Other Side CD Release Party
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“By the last tune, I want to see all of you on your feet” demanded Alexis Baró and sure enough, it s...“By the last tune, I want to see all of you on your feet” demanded Alexis Baró and sure enough, it seems we all did exactly that. It was Thursday, January 29, 2009 when the CD release party of trumpeter Alexis Baró took place at Toronto’s Lula lounge. From the Other Side is Baró’s second album; his first, Havana Banana, was voted best album of 2004 by Jazz.FM91.1.
I knew this would be a special night when I heard the lineup of musicians Baró had assembled. His double band, yes, double band, featured himself on trumpet, Robi Botos on keys, Paco Luviano on bass, Otis Williams on drums, Jalidan Ruiz Castro on percussions, Chendy Leon on drums, KC Roberts on electric guitar, Jeff King on sax and Rich Brown on bass.
Baró was not joking around! Indeed, he was serious and eager to showcase the product of the many sounds that have influenced him to date. Yes, Baró is a native of Havana, Cuba, where he has been classically trained, but no longer can he be labeled as just the ‘Latin Jazz guy’. Baró is a multi-faceted artist, and his latest CD, cleverly labeled ‘From the other side’ proves exactly that.
As the band began thumping powerful sounds into our hearts, you could sense the energy of the room elevating. It was intense, whether the music was from the Latin side, the funky side or the mellow side. Especially interesting was the exchange Jalidan Ruiz Castro and Baró began on a tune called “African Escape”. The free-flowing percussions were persistent throughout the tune and beautifully complemented by Robi Botos’ amazing talents on the keys and Baró’s command of the trumpet. It was later when I talked to Baró that I discovered the interesting story behind this particular tune. It was influenced by regular hospital visits he would make with his wife to monitor her pregnancy and listen to amplified sounds of their son’s heartbeat.
In fact, it is evident throughout Baró’s compositions, as it is I suppose with many musicians, that there is a story behind every tune. For Baró, this displays the many influences he has had as a musician and his ability to connect to the simplest of sounds and augment them with his talents and those of the musicians he works with. It speaks of his humility not to over-compose a tune and let the rhythm define itself.
“Wake-up Call” was influenced by some time Baró spent touring in Trinidad and is a fun breezy tune. Jeff King played some outstanding tenor sax on this one! The night moved from the Latin side to the funky side, from upbeat and lively compositions to mellow and introspective rhythms. As was the case when the band moved into a most passionate and funky tune called “Why not”. This was mysterious, deep and reflective. It was a dynamic balance of force and tranquility that Baró and the amazing Rich Brown on bass delivered impeccably. Another meditative tune followed called “Transitions” that began with smooth exchanges between Botos and Baró, and then moved to an upbeat groove made possible by the unrelenting hands, elbows, and even arms (it seems) of Ruiz Castro on percussions. “Unexpected Muse” closed the first set. It was the funky side of Alexis Baró, a tune full of energy and an unstoppable pounding from Chendy Leon on drums. And it left you wanting more.
As the band came back and played “Venus Atmosphere”, two thoughts came to mind: This tune should be on the next James Bond soundtrack! And, who is the guitarist? I had never heard of KC Roberts before and now I’m not sure why. Roberts’ skills were mean and authoritative and they made this first-rate tune even more electric.
The second set continued to prove the diversity of Baró’s influences and talents. In “Panorama” he brought back some Latin influences like the use of the clave throughout the tune. The title track “From the Other Side” was full of pulsating energy and soul with an all-out blast of power from the band. It was then that the crowd rose to their feet, moving to the beat, something that brought an infectious smile to Baró’s face. We danced through “Funky Bird”, a tune that sounded fitting for a James Brown song, until Baró closed his show with impassioned solos from each one of his band members.
This was a fun night. And there is no doubt that when you talk to Baró, you get the sense that this is what he lives for. His enthusiasm for the music he composes is evident. He is not afraid to step outside the box, to put the spotlight on his band members or to drive the music to the highest level.
Alexis Baró is one to watch, from this side or the other side.
From The Other Side Of Alexis Baró
by Aline Badr
ALEXIS BARO'S MUSIC IS MORE AKIN TO ART THAN CRAFT
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It was an evening of pure jazz, very modern and extremely well performed Saturday for the Welland Do...It was an evening of pure jazz, very modern and extremely well performed Saturday for the Welland Downtown Music series at the civic square.
In one of the first fair-weather concerts of the year, virtuosic trumpet player Alexis Baro and his five-piece band played one hot show of very cool, original jazz music written by Baro.
He and his band were an absolute thrill to absorb.
If you were expecting Cuban flavour to Baro's music, there were absolutely no Latin licks to be heard.
Baro, who was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and recently moved to Toronto, proved himself the perfect world jazz chameleon when writing his contemporary music.
The compositions were jazzy, with varied tempos, marvellously complicated layers and sophisticated rhythmical patterning.
Baro's music is more akin to art than craft.
The all-instrumental pieces often emulated their title. In the song Unexpected Muse the beginning bars were discordant to suit the theme. You could really sink your imagination into some of these songs, as Baro and his band, did.
Let's begin with Baro.
He made it look -and sound -way too easy. He looked cool while he played hot, and executed long playing jags to pump out a huge, gorgeous sound -and to only make it seem like it was really nothing.
In one song he made his horn sound submerged. In his second set, he evoked sounds more seemingly from a specialized keyboard rather than a horn.
Baro is a great musician and band-leader who brings so much energy and spirit to his performance, and isn't afraid to share the spotlight, queuing up other musicians in the band to shine when the moment was right.
Only a really good sax player like Jeff King could keep his head above water when performing with such a brilliant player as Baro.
King soloed in every song, taking off slowly and gathering inspiration as he travelled through the pieces.
Everyone in the band was fabulous.
Pianist Michael Shand had multiple- keyboard system going on, and drummer Max Senitt added some unique rhythms to the music.
An earthy, almost Latin flavour, was layered in by congas player Jalidan Ruiz. Bass player Paco Luviano, too, had the place funking and grooving with his solo.
Determined to get the audience jumping, Baro first invited people to dance with funkier numbers such as Shake Everything You've Got, and later called out to everyone to "get up and move your feet."
Fresh from the Montreal Jazz Festival, Baro and his band gave a brilliant, high-energy performance of some really spectacular modern jazz compositions.
Canada is likely just a small-stepping stone for this trumpet player. What a fantastic opportunity to see this performer -and for free. By far, the best jazz concert this year.
Toronto Jazz Festival 2008
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Toronto Jazz Festival 2008 The “Lunchtime” and “Afterwork” concert series at Nathan Philips Squar...Toronto Jazz Festival 2008
The “Lunchtime” and “Afterwork” concert series at Nathan Philips Square brought some music that may have been a better fit for a venue that was more intimate. For instance local pianist Bernie Senensky with bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Terry Clarke and trumpeter Alexis Baro with his sextet deserved to be primetime performances.
Raul d’Gama Rose - All About Jazz
Wanted on Wax
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Alexis Baro Alexis Baro’s trumpet is an extension of his creative being and he takes any opportunit...Alexis Baro
Alexis Baro’s trumpet is an extension of his creative being and he takes any opportunity to unleash the raw power this instrument holds within its chambers. His combination of jazz, funk and native rhythms evoke the spirit of fellow trumpeter Donald Byrd, circa his early 70’s Blue Note years when many of the label’s musicians began exploring realms beyond jazz in the galaxy of funk. Polished brass belting alongside a pound of fatback drums keeps a funky tone going throughout the aptly titled “Funky Bird.” The intensified arrangements on “From the Other Side” allow the band to brew up a groove of intergalactic proportions guaranteed to leave your senses reeling for days. The influence of Baro’s Cuban upbringing can be heard when he is laying down more definitive jazz compositions like “African Escape” and “Transitions,” both of which feature a heavy amount of palm slapping bongos and percussions. Alexis Baro has the flawless ability to shift between jazz, heavy funk and world-flavored rhythms while maintaining superior consistency and producing exceptionally well recorded material.
From The Other Side
Wake Up Call
U and I
Wish You Were Here
Storm At Sea
There are no upcoming dates at this time.