Angel David Mattos
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Angel David Mattos

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"CD Review"

Following the steps of the traditional jazz quartet format, pianist/composer/arranger Angel David Mattos (native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico) delivers a dazzling performance in the company of friends John Benitez (bass), Hector Mattos and Antonio Sanchez (drums), and Bob Mintzer (saxophone). The entire repertoire is based on the fusion of jazz harmonies and melodies with those of the syncopated rhythm patternsof the Puerto Rican danza ( created during the first half of the 19th century as flokloric music based on Spanish "contra danza" and syncopated rhythmic patterns with strong African influences). The beauty of the danza is rejuvenated in the hands of Mattos through six original scores, three classical danza compositions from Juan Morel Campos ( No me toques, Felices dias,and Maldito Amor) and the selction Margarita by Manuel G. Tavarez. Danza jazz or as Mattos calls it, Danzzaj, is the profound reflection on the interaction between a classic Caribbean musical form with that of the North American jazz music; definitely something very special and truly deserving of the name jazz Latino.

Rudy Mangual, Editor-in-chief LBM - Latin Beat Magazine

"Festín Puertorriqueño en el Puerto Rico Heineken Jazzfest"

Festín puertorriqueño en el JazzFest
Por: Ileana Cidoncha
Especial para ESCENARIO

A los acordes de esa tan singular danza festiva "No me toques" de Juan Morel Campos incorporada al jazz, arrancó por todo lo alto la primera noche del Puerto Rico Heineken Jazzfest, en su XVI edición, con el grupo Jazz Boricua de Angel David Mattos. No pasarían segundos para que este festín musical de inconmensurable calidad transportara a los presentes a ese Nirvana que suele insuflar el Heineken, como tan bien lo ha descrito el artista Dennis Mario, cuyo espectacular afiche del homenajeado percusionista Poncho Sánchez magnificado a telón de fondo, reina sobre el Anfiteatro Tito Puente en San Juan.

Esta banda de profesores de música de la Universidad Interamericana integrada por Mattos (piano), Eguie Sierra (bajo), Héctor Matos (batería), Ricardo Pons (flauta y clarinete), y Raúl Rodríguez (percusión) sobrepasó los estándares de una clase magistral para ofrecer un concierto en el que la pulcritud de cada nota, de cada fraseo, de cada cadencia denotó la excelencia en la ejecución de estos músicos. De forma paralela, la pasión en la interpretación realzó la consigna del swing que demanda el jazz.

En la simbiosis de la danza decimonónica –"Felices días", "No me toques", "Margarita" y "Maldito amor"–, como de la contemporánea "Danza al maestro" de Mattos, nuestra música fue sustrato o línea melódica tanto en lúdicos arreglos como en los más tradicionales con un sonido limpio de cada instrumento, dándole a cada uno sus espacios para manifestarse a plenitud. Asimismo, en el arreglo del seis "Enramada" –popularizado como "Si no me dan de beber" y de los temas de Mattos, "Point of Reference" y "Parada eliminada", la entrega de los 1200 de espectadores presentes en la noche del jueves fue total.

- El Vocero - Puerto Rico

"Jazz Piano Virtuoso from Puerto Rico"

Angel David is a native of Boriquen and is a virtuoso piano player born with Latin rhythms in his blood. He has already performed with great jazzmen such as Bob Mintzer, Mike Stern, David Sanchez, and Jon Lucien… crossing Berkley and leaving there many awards.

In Danzzaj, Angel David blends the Latin rhythm danza from Puerto Rico with the American jazz language. The results of this "marriage of two cultures" are totally delightful for everyone who has the Latino swing in their blood and even for those who do not. His arrangements are filled with colourful magic and “descargan” from the warm Latin-American rhythms. He's mastered the Latin-jazz language by mixing these worlds easily, just as he does so with rhythms.

“No me Toques” opens with a sweet, beautiful and wonderful Caribbean rhythm. Angel David is powerful, technically felicitous, en suite. The group immediately presents itself as a Latin jazz band, with chord changes and cool, smoldering solos. “Danza al Maestro” invites all to dance and for someone raised up in a Latin way, the desire is to get caught up in a somewhat warm “danzzaj...". "Tropical zone” is a wonderful song achieving great orchestration along with the master of tenor sax, Bob Mintzer.

“Felices Días” gives Angel David the opportunity to really stretch out in his solo with bass player John Benitez holding onto the choruses with sharp corners everywhere. His constantly structured playing is in such wonderful tandem with Mattos that the listener can feel “muy felíz”….

“Copy Cat” is composed for Chick Corea, with Bob Mintzer opening, mastering chorus after chorus in tempo and then handing the space to Matos, who easily speaks softly in each chord and chorus. It sounds here as though Matos was born with a “Clavier” in his hands. Master Benitez improvises over the form leaving again the last step to Mintzer. This is one of the best tracks of the CD. Mintzer plays as the great jazzman he is and gives to this song all the wonderful dimensions Mattos certainly desires.

The cymbals and drums are in perfect combination with the piano and the tempo of Mintzer with Mattos mastering the riff is a great achievement. It is just pure genius. “Margarita” touches the soul and the improvisations are in good form as is the last track “Point Of Reference.”

This is definitely a release to please Latin groovers but it is also a release in which Mattos will delight audiences with his fingers all over his piano in the unique Borinquen way that he does. Angel David is a master piano player from Puerto Rico and known all over the Latin-jazz world; but his presence in the American jazz scene will continue to grow.

Reviewed by: Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez


Angel David Mattos is a well-schooled Jazz artist. He graduated from Escuela Libre de Musica in San Juan Puerto Rico. He continued his studies at the University of Illinois and has a long-standing association with the Berklee School of Music. The music of “Preludio”, his debut CD, was composed over the last 10 years and reflects the many experiences he had over those years and the many musical associations he formed. The cuts were recorded in individual sessions and there are contributions by many musicians with a different instrumental set up on every track. The pieces are structured and highlight the compositional textures more than individual solos. He also employs a variety of keyboard colors. You can clearly hear the classical training in the complexity of orchestral voicings provided by his overdubbed keyboard artistry, which are sitting firmly on a foundation of funk and Latin rhythms. This is no easy or simplistic music and requires a high level of technical expertise from the players. Mattos is a sonic colorist who takes us to surprising places. His solos are fluid and as carefully crafted as his compositional forms. Of the many exceptional musicians, Bassist Sammy Morales is a standout and plays some vicious solos showing off his virtuoso technique. There are a variety of tempos and feels explored on each track. “Reposo” is a beautiful ballad with the head played on Soprano Sax by Marco Munoz and on which Mattos demonstrates his acoustic piano chops. The first cut “Sound Check” is a hard-core fusion outing and “Hola Hasta Siempre” is a Cha Cha Cha featuring the guitar work of Chebi Rodriguez. This is intelligent music that evokes mental pictures. Mattos obviously has a wealth of technical and compositional vocabulary to call on and an original voice that defies genre labeling. “Preludio” is a wonderful Prelude to the great work that is sure to come from Angel David Mattos.

"Original and Masterful Musical Performance"

"Danzzaj" is one of those rare musical gems that are hard to find, but once found they have a special place in your music collection. Angel David´s "Virtuosismo" becomes evident not only with his masterful piano playing, but as well in the exquisite musical arrangements that he created in the development this unique album. - CDBaby review

"Great Latin Jazz Fusion"

“ Angel ´s´excellent compositions
reflect the heyday of LA fusion, as well as Chick Corea´s best moments with his Electrik Band.” - Modern Drummer

"Danza and Jazz; a new fusion"

Angel David, who has clearly been influenced by musicians such as Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, masters the jazz language and its artistic expression. His phrasings are syncopated and his improvisations are full of ideas and musical colors. "Danzzaj" is a great recording with variety. It is fluid, melodic and balanced. Angel David has presented the first important jazz production of this year. - El Nuevo Dia, San Juan Puerto Rico

"Borinken Danza Meets Jazz"

Concert Review by: Bryan Zoran

Venue: The Triad (New York, New York, USA)

July 23, 2005 - Danza is a style of music popularized by Juan Morel Campos and Manuel G. Tavarez in Puerto Rico. Angel David Mattos creates jazz interpretations of music by these innovators and composes his own Danza jazz. His playing can be likened to notes fallin’ off the piano like butter. Angel David Mattos & the Jazz Boricua Quartet shared their unique sound at the upper west side club, The Triad.

A beautiful ballad by Tavarez featured the bass playing of Elias Cervas. Elias was nice and so was the piano work dancing around the bass solo, a subtle placement of rhythmic delights. The quartet turned into a trio for two tracks, starting with a number by Juan Morel Campos entitled “Felices Dias.” The other trio number, “Danza al Maestro,” a Mattos’ original, is a dedication to all Danza composers. It had very nice melody, which was enhanced by some noteworthy bass playing. The next tune featured the soaring saxophone of Jorge Castro. The tone and fluency of Jorge’s playing was on.

The next composition, “Point of Reference,” featured a romantic introduction. An intriguing development in this selection had to do with the spaces between the music, which speaks to the eloquence of the quartet. On two separate occasions, the music stopped. Both times they came back in on a dime. An incredible electric bass solo followed the second break. The final selection highlighted the rhythm skills of drummer Hector Matos, who had his own voice but his timing, tenacity and aggression seemed pleasantly influenced by Roy Haynes.

Angel David Mattos has a new CD entitled Danzzaj.

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Preludio (1999); Danzzaj (2004)- available at &
Live at the Blue Note - Jíbaro Jazz (1994)
Jíbaro Jazz 6 (1995)
Puerto Rico Jazz Jam (1998)
Puerto Rico Jazz Moods (2005)
Guitarras sin Fronteras - J. Laboy (1999)
Live @ Puerto Rico Heineken Jazzfest (´91,´92, ´93,´95,´96,´97)



Angel David was born on 1966 in Puerto Rico where he started his musical training from an early age. Graduated with honors from the San Juan
School of Music in 1984. He went to the United States for his advanced studies in music. At the University of Illinois he majored in Music Education
and Jazz Piano Performance with professor Tony Caramia. Angel David graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1988.Since 1988 Angel David has performed in studio sessions and live performances with major figures such as Dave Valentin, Alex Acuña, Bob Mintzer, John
Benitez, Antonio Sánchez ,Mike Stern, Claudio Roditi, Giovanie Hidalgo, David Sanchez, Oscar Stagnaro, Eddie Gomez, Humberto Ramirez, Jon Lucien, among others. Angel David was awarded by Berkley School of Music with the “Outstanding Musician” award in 1995, 1996 and 2000.In 1999 Angel David presented his first CD as leader ; PRELUDIO. This Jazz Fusion project was greatly acclaimed in major music and jazz publications such as Modern Drummer and Angel David has also performed in the classical area. He has given solo recitals in major theaters of Puerto Rico. At the present he is the pianist of the Bayamon Symphony with who he performs a very unique version of George Gershwin´s “Rhapsody in Blue”, where he incorporates a jazz trio within the piano cadenzas.
Angel David´s most recent CD, Danzzaj, co-produced with his friend bassist John Benitez, is a Latin Jazz Fusion concept which combines Puerto Rican Danza with jazz harmony and language in a very interesting way. Danzzaj is by far the best and most creative jazz album ever recorded by a Puerto Rican pianist. This recording has recieved international recognition in major music journals such as, Latin Jazz Network and Latin Beat Magazine. Century Music Awards gave Angel David´s Danzzaj the award for Best Latin Jazz Production 2004. He is member of the music faculty of the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, where he teaches advanced jazz groups and stands as Vicepresident of IAJE Chapter of Puerto Rico.