Jorge Sylvester
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Jorge Sylvester

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | SELF

Brooklyn, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2002
Band Jazz Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Jorge Sylvester - The ACE Collective Brucknerhaus Linz, December 6, 2010 ******"

Jorge Sylvester - The ACE Collective
Brucknerhaus Linz, December 6, 2010 ******

Those who were expecting Calypso-singing Harry Belafonte clones must have been disappointed. The pieces composed by the Panamanian saxophonist use the rhythmic tradition as a basis for extended forays into the world of the contemporary. The young drummer Kenneth Grohowsky juggled the odd meters with exquisite ease. Sylvester's compositions are solid ground for exciting, improvisational excursions particularly by the singer and poet Nora McCarthy and the trumpeter Waldron Mahdi Ricks. The music could most readily be compared to Steve Coleman's Five Elements who made a big impression in St. Magdalena in October. In the next days the ACE Collective will record their new CD at Peter Guschlbauer's studio in Hagenberg. You have to look forward to that.

-Christoph Haunschmid

"Ace Collective enthusiastically received in Linz" - OONachrichten Kultur Medien

"UMass Amherst FINE ARTS CENTER Jorge Sylvester’s ACE Collective plays The Parlor Room"

Jorge Sylvester ACE Collective plays The Parlor Room
December 14, 2015
by Glenn Siegel
My jazz loving friends and I often play the “whatever happened to?” game, where we trade information about musicians whom we haven’t heard from in some time. Where is Anthony Cox, for instance? (Marty Ehrlich informs me that the great bassist moved back to Detroit, has his real estate license and still plays locally.) Until he resurfaced in 2003 after a 35-year hiatus, Henry Grimes was a popular “whatever happened to?” subject. Does anyone know the whereabouts of the outstanding cellist, Abdul Wadud?
Matt Merewitz, the well-respected jazz publicist, asked me what happened to Jorge Sylvester. I’m here to report the alto saxophonist and composer is alive, well and playing at a very high level. His ACE (Afro-Caribbean Experimental) Collective performed a two-hour concert at a sold out Parlor Room in Northampton on December 11 as part of Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares.
Since moving to the States from Panama in 1980, the 61-year old Sylvester has released four recordings under his own name, been a member of the World Saxophone Quartet, Joe Bowie’s Defunkt Big Band, Frank Lacy’s Vibe Tribe and worked with poet Sekou Sundiata, Karl Berger, and David Murray, among others. But the creative music business being what it is, those high profile gigs are often not enough to keep one in the public eye. There is very little room on the head of the jazz pin. So highly skilled musicians like Sylvester keep plugging away, keeping faith that the music will provide.
That positivity was on full display on Friday as the Collective played many of the selections found on the band’s most recent release, “Spirit Driven.” The lyrics, written and sung by the evocative, highly musical vocalist Nora McCarthy, spoke often about truth, justice and beauty. Her dynamics, stage presence and varied vocal techniques (including some very inventive scatting), kept our attention despite the program’s length.
The electric bassist Gene Torres, a regular sub for Donald Nicks, was wonderful, easily negotiating the tricky contours of Sylvester’s shifting originals and soloing with a relaxed virtuosity. Torres, a long-time colleague of the Valley’s Terry Jenoure, appeared with Craig Harris’ 10-piece ensemble in the 2013 Magic Triangle Series at UMASS Amherst. Much of the music Torres makes these days tends towards funk, soul and other commercial music. He was thrilled to be able to stretch his skills playing music that demanded a different kind of attention.
Drummer Kenny Grohowski, a full generation younger than his bandmates, can be found making music with John Zorn, Andy Milne’s Dapp Theory, Haitian singer Emeline Michel, the black metal band Imperial Triumphant and the avant rock band, Secret Chiefs 3. That one instrumentalist can be effective in such varied settings shows that the industry’s tendency to box, label and compartmentalize, is irrelevant to creative musicians. His riveting drum solo closed the show and made me wish for more.
Sylvester was masterful throughout, judiciously using extended techniques to ratchet up the intensity, while wowing with fluid runs and stop-on-a-dime precision. His gorgeous tone at all registers was remarkable given that during sound check he had to replace the cork seal on one of his saxophone keys with rolled paper.
Here’s to indomitable, spirit driven musicians who uplift and provoke, even when the material rewards are meager and uncertain. - Glenn Siegel


• May, 2011, Toward The Hill of Joy, with trombonist, composer George Brandon's Blue Unity Ensemble featuring Nora McCarthy.
• New Double CD just released on Sylvester’s label Lizoka Music: Following the Line/ Live in New York City is the documentation of his 1999 quartet featuring Monte Croft on vibraphone, Jeff Carney on bass, Terreon Gully on drums, and a special appearance by pianist James Hurt on the Bud Powell composition Willow Grove.
• 2008 release Waldron Ricks with trumpeter, composer Waldron Ricks, Danny Grissett, Jaleel Shaw, Nashiet Waits and Vicente Archer, featuring Jorge’s Quintet version of his composition “Playground.”
• As co-leader of the quartet Asymmetry with pianist, Lucian Ban, Sylvester recorded a CD for Jazzaway records which was released in December, 2005 entitled “Playground” which is also the name of the title track a composition written by Sylvester. 
• In The Ear of the Beholder, 2001 (Billboard’s Spotlight, Feb. 2001) Jazz Magnet Records, features: Donald Nicks on electric bass and Bobby Sanabria on drums and is Sylvester’s second release as a leader.
• Critically acclaimed MusiCollage (Postcards, 1996, re-released on Arkadia Records) featured Claudio Roditi - trumpet, Marvin Sewell – guitar, Monte Croft – vibraphone – Gene Jackson – drums, Santi Debriano – acoustic bass and Bobby Sanabria – percussion. It received a **** rating from Downbeat Magazine and won a Billboard Critics’ Choice award). 
• In 1999 Jorge Sylvester appeared on BET Jazz “Live from the Knitting Factory,” with his group, The ACE Trio.

• In the language of dreams - a tribute to Ornette Coleman and Wassily Kandinsky with A Small Dream In Red, minimalist innovative voice and saxophone duo, Nora McCarthy—voice, Bodhran; Jorge Sylvester—alto saxophone. ( A powerfully artistic CD comprised of original compositions, poetry and improvisation as well interpretations of five of Kandinsky's masterpieces graphically and spontaneously composed in the moment. There are also several covers of choice music which includes two Ornette Coleman compositions with lyrics written by McCarthy. The duo employs various techniques they discovered working in this format as well as other techniques employed by all art forms. Deconstruction, diminution, expansion, elaboration, symbolism, line and design among others. Intuitive and symbiotic, the two altos enter into each work with absolute freedom from preconception and create within and outside the form the textural content of each piece.

• Magic Night (Jazz Stop Records, Madrid Spain, 1984) with the Chastang/Sylvester Sextet. 
• Viriato Blue (Jazz Stop Records, Madrid Spain, 1983.)
• The Mass (Palmetto Records, 2000) with the Collective Identity Saxophone Quartet featuring Sam Newsome, Aaron Stewart and Alex Harding.
• Another Side (CIMP Records, 2000) with tenor saxophone Ken Simon Quartet featuring drummer Barry Altschul.
• The Blue Oneness of Dreams (Mouth Almighty Records, 1997) with Poet Sekou Sundiata.
• The Essence All Stars featuring Doug Carn, Idris Muhammed and Josh Roseman (Hip Hop Records, 1997.)
NEW RELEASES - March 2013
• Spirit Driven, double CD on RedZen Records with Jorge Sylvester ACE Collective: Nora McCarthy – voice, poetry; Waldron Ricks—trpt; Pablo Vergara—pno; Donald Nicks—elec. bs; Kenny Grohowski—drums, percussion. 
This CD is a continuation of the ACE Trio CD "In the Ear of the Beholder"An exploration from within of the Afro Caribbean Rhythms as a rhythmic and melodic vehicle to create new forms of extended compositions using the Voice, the Trumpet and the Piano as 3 independent textures to the ACE Trio. 
Spirit Driven is a highly rhythmic and spiritually motivated compositional journey through the various cultures that make up the Caribbean Islands encompassing their significance and contribution to the present day advanced musical concepts in jazz and avant-garde/free music. The music is original, modern, imaginative and experimental. The use of language, “word,” in the form of poetry and lyrics is throughout and used to convey each song’s spiritual and historical message.
The CD includes a composition dedicated to Haiti.



Jorge Sylvester ACE ( Afro Caribbean Experimental ) Collective is a group of improvising musicians created and led by saxophonist/composer/arranger Jorge Sylvester.  An extension of the ACE Trio (alto saxophone, electric bass and drums), the ACE Collective includes three additional independent rhythmic and melodic elements: the voice, trumpet and piano expanding its harmonic colors, its scope of sound and its textural capacity.  The music is original, new and experimental and draws from the Afro- Caribbean Diaspora, jazz and the free music art forms.
A native of Colon, Republic of Panama, Sylvester's original compositions are indicative of the vast cultural mixture that is Central America.The ACE Collective utilizes the rich spectrum of rhythms from the Caribbean and other Latin American countries as a vehicle to create new and undiscovered rhythmic melodic lines within the jazz tradition. Collective and free improvisation is an essential part of the concept utilizing juxtaposition and retrograde as main components of the experimentation.

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