Luis Marin Quartet
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Luis Marin Quartet



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The best kept secret in music


"Berklee may have given him key tools to tickle
the ivories with more confidence, but
Luis Marín’s graceful playing comes from his creativity and
free-spirited approach to his instrument.

Sure he learned music theory and playing techniques while studying at the prestigious higher-learning institution. But Marín has honed his skills in the streets, playing with Latin jazz/salsa heavyweights everywhere, from hotel clubs to patron saint festivals.

And this is what makes him stand out from the pack."

While influenced by note jazz greats, Marín has never forgotten his roots, and it is this flavorful combination, which has made him one of the island’s top Latin jazz pianists and sought-after session musicians. Also, Marín has gained recognition for his diverse influences in fusion jazz – from Palmieri to Chick Corea to Keith Jarret – and his knowledge of the popular Latin songbook. Overall, he’s truly admired by his peers – and fans – for his adventurous artistic expression, as well as his passion for perfection.

And this is exemplified on his newest live album “Live at the Nuyorican Café Vol. II: Luis Marín”, a new release featuring Marín as bandleader and joined by several musicians, including percussionist Paoli Mejía.

While its release took more time than was originally slated, the wait was well worth it. Recorded live at the Old San Juan café/music club in 2002, Marín’s work showcases five songs, most of which surpass the 10-minute mark. In the space provided for each tune, Marín and his team are able to seamlessly delve into the harmonies and rhythms of such classic popular songs as Rafael Hernández’s “Campanitas de Cristal” and “ El Cumbanchero”, included in a medley with “Qué te Pedí”.

The beauty of Marín’s refreshing versions of, say, Augusto Algueró “La Montaña”, is that they sound like no other. Long but passionate, daring yet subtle, the arrangements leave enough space fro everyone to join in the dialogue as Marín leads the way blindfolded into his surreal soundscape. His take of “El Cumbanchero” is a highlight of the performance, for Marín delivers some exquisite piano solos and sultry interludes.

Marín’s jazzy, funky take on Joan Manuel Serrat’s “Señora” is also a tasty serving that proves that Marín and his group work as a team and have no ego problems. Marín’s free-spirited side also takes flight on this song as he adds his personal touches throughout, playing each note with the intensity and degree of importance as if it were the last one he would ever play.

- Ian Malinow-The San Juan Star

Harvery Pekar Jazziz Magazine 10/99:

Several latin pianist-Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Danilo Pérez-have been praised recently for their ability to mine the connections between jazz and
Afro Cuban music. San Juan’s Luis Marín is one of the top Latin-jazz pianists working today. Unfortunately, he is little known outside of Puerto Rico, in part
because he keeps a management gig at his family’s bookstore and seldom travels. Musicians who know Marín, however, are highly impressed by him , and in
Puerto Rico, he’s in great demand as a sideman and accompanist. INCONSOLABLE, Marín’s self-produced first CD, cut in 1997, is dedicated to the memory of Puerto Rican vocalist: Gilberto Monroig. It’s impressive , although he’s played in more consistently demanding settings. The personnel varies, as the pianist works with several percussionists plus trumpeter Humberto Ramírez and sax man José Encarnación. On “Sollozo”, Marín and Encarnación (on tenor) duet without a rhythm section. During “Egoísmo”, Marín plays unaccompanied, doing some fine rubato work. His right-and-left hand interplay is varied; he uses a
variety of devices including counterpoint.

The music here has less of an Afro-Cuban flavor than one might expect; it’s more of a straight-jazz gig LATIN RHYTHMS ARE EMPLOYED, BUT DISCREETLY. Marín has an original style drawn from several sources: Chick
Corea, Keith Jarret, Herbie Hancock, and directly or indirectly, Art Tatum and Hank Jones. Marín has got great chops. Seemingly, he can play anything he can
conceive, but he also performs with discipline. Melodically and harmonically inventive, he can also swing his tail off. He employs electric keyboards intelligently. Marín is also a stimulating composer; his “Interior” is based on a chord progression that doesn’t repeat. It’s through composed.

In the future look for Marín to employ more aggressive rhythm sections. He has all the tools. The questions are: How will he use them? How active will he be in the future? And how can he get people to become aware of his work?
He’s got some big decisions to make. - Harvery Pekar-Jazziz Magazine 10/99

Piano. How can a simple instrument can express so many emotions, so many voices. Put it in the right hands and the notes will make you cry, smile, clap and nostalgic. Luis Marin is one of the few pianist in the world who can make the piano talk to your emotions. Example of this is his latest work titled "Inconsolable". If the name is not familiar to you, Shame on you! You have heard his mastery in the hottest releases from Latin Jazz and Salsa music. He is there! Pick up any great Salsa production and you will find his name. He has played with Tony Vega, Gilberto Sant Rosa, Jerry Medina, Humberto Ramirez and Jazz Project, Sonora Ponceña, Andy Montañez and many others who would just fill this page. Getting back to the production, "Inconsolable" is a beautiful recording with distinctive sounds. 9 songs each more impressive than the one before. He works with different setups. A duet with sax man Jose Encarnacion in "Sollozo" the classic melody of Don Tito Henriquez, recorded live at the Heineken Jazz Festival in 1997. "Estimado Gilberto" penned by Marin himself in a tribute to Gilberto Monroig the bohemian singer who ruled during the 70's and early 80's. "Inconsolable" written by "El Jibarito" Rafael performed exquisitely with the help of Humberto Ramirez in the trumpet. Marin and the piano in "Egoismo" by Moises Zoain I need to mention the rhythm section because in here you will find one of the most talented section ever assembled. Jimmy Morales (Conguero of Gilberto Santa Rosa) and Luis Mejias on Congas (Eddie Palmieri alum), Javier Oquendo (Eddie Palmieri bongocero) and Pedro Perez on Bass, Charlie Sierra in Timbales (another talent found in many of the hottest CD's). Few releases will come close to the way a pianist breaks open your emotion with just the hit of a few notes like Luis Marin. Nothing shows the talent better than this production. - Javier

El disco Luis Marín Live at the Nuyorican Café ratifica la posición de este pianista boricua entre los maestros emergentes del jazz caribeño contemporáneo.

Esta velada preservada con buena calidad para la historia discográfica ofrece seis temas conocidos del cancionero popular, cada uno de los cuales se extiende por entre diez y trece minutos. De Rafael Hernández trae Campanitas de cristal y El cumbanchero, este último en medley con Qué te pedí, el éxito clásico de La Lupe. Incluye además La montaña, de Augusto Alguero; Beautiful Love, de Víctor Young; y Señora, de Serrat.

Este uso de canciones populares podría sugerir piezas de estructura sencilla limitadas al tema y las variaciones de rigor, pero hay mucho más. Los números están bien trabajados con introducciones, puentes y codas que permiten a Marín ampliar sus ideas. Los puentes creados por el músico en ocasiones son de su absoluta invención y otras veces surgen con identidad propia, como el divertido seis chorreao que nos lleva del Qué te pedí al Cumbanchero, las citas del Manicero que se cuelan por la ventana con las Campanitas de cristal y el fragmento del Bombón de Elena que endulza al Cumbanchero.

El cuarteto de Marín, con Pedro Pérez (bajo), Pablo Rivera (batería) y Paoli Mejías (congas y percusión), provee una base más que eficiente para este "masacote" pianístico, penetrando sin temor en los variados estados de ánimo a los que el líder se lanza, pulsando y respirando con él cada frase y cada insinuación.

El disco arranca con un Beautiful Love rumbeado en el que Marín, deja establecido su talante, su capacidad de invención melódica y la limpieza técnica de su ejecución. Con esta pieza basta para demostrar que no sólo domina, sino que integra las corrientes pianísticas de los maestros negros del norte como McCoy Tyner y Monk con las de los maestros caribeños como Noro Morales, los Valdez y los Palmieri, capacidad que es la marca de los grandes pianistas del jazz latino contemporáneo.
En Campanitas de cristal expresa el tema con profunda nostalgia y señorío. Un danzón cubano se establece como la base rítmica que aporta un aire misterioso y seductor mientras Marín le extrae al tema melódico cada gota de su lirismo y delicadeza. Desde ahí el cuarteto evoluciona hacia un sabroso chachachá que sirve de plataforma a las improvisaciones.

El medley Qué te pedí-cumbanchero encara el tema inmorta-lizado por La Lupe con un ánimo diametralmente opuesto al que le imprimió la diva cubana. En vez del reproche abrasador, Marín trae una reflexión que descubre la belleza innata de la melodía. El artista elabora argumentos que alcanzan su mejor momento con improvisaciones de velocidad vertiginosa sobre los compases a tempo lento. Marín se las arregla para caer en un seis chorreao lúdico y brillante que desemboca en El cumbanchero, que sin duda es el clímax de la velada. Es aquí que da rienda suelta a su virtuosismo y energía, y todo el cuarteto se lanza a una fiesta de intensidad y sabor en donde el piano nos arrastra teclado arriba y teclado abajo con emoción y fuerza.

Señora es el postre que ayuda a recuperar el aliento después de la descarga y muestra la versatilidad estilística de Marín con aires de rock & roll y ragtime.
- Eugenio Hopgood Dávila-El Nuevo Dia


Luis Marin Live at Niuyorican Cafe Vol 2 -2003
Inconsolable -1999



Luis Marín is working on the creation and reaffirmation of genuine Puerto Rican jazz, a perfect synthesis of
traditions that are both universal as well as PuertoRican.
In his music everything
happens, from classic to blues reminiscences, echoes
from Palmieri thru Papo Lucca, from Chick Corea to
Keith Jarret. And don't forget his interpretations of
those popular songs from the Latin songbook, which bear his signature and illustrate his unique
talents, such as boleros sung by Puerto Rican singer
Gilberto Monroig, or the compositions of Rafael