Jamie Dubberly and Orquesta Dharma
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Jamie Dubberly and Orquesta Dharma

San Francisco, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Jazz Latin




"San Jose Mercury News 9/22/2015"

Trombonist/arranger Jamie Dubberly, who performs with his eight-piece Orquesta Dharma on the Latin jazz stage at 3 p.m., exemplifies the power of combining distinct traditions to create something savory and new. Last year he released "La Clave Del Gumbo," a project that combines Afro-Cuban dance music with New Orleans brass band cadences.

The Modesto musician had an epiphany in 2011 performing with Orquesta Dharma at Cal State Stanislaus, where he's on the faculty. A student brass combo from a course he was teaching played an opening set, and for the concert's grand finale, they joined his band on a piece he designed to move from a New Orleans beat to a cha cha. "That got me thinking," Dubberly says. "Clave rhythm is in the New Orleans thing. The second line came right out of Cuba. Putting them together made for a powerful combination. And I've always loved that Rebirth Brass Band/Dirty Dozen sound."

Dubberly is hardly the first jazz musician to explore the kindred African currents running through New Orleans and Havana (percussionist Bill Summers and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield's Los Hombres Calientes spent a decade combining New Orleans jazz and various Caribbean rhythm traditions). But Dubberly was after something a little different. Drawing on the low brass sound associated with Puerto Rican salsa bandleader Willie Rosario, who combined trombone with baritone saxophone, he took the notion further on "La Clave del Gumbo," adding Mike Rinta on tuba, a horn linked to traditional New Orleans jazz.

"I always loved the bari and the bari/trombone sound," Dubberly says. "The low saxes and trombone is a sound nobody is doing. Having saxophones I can also have the players double on flutes, which gives a different color completely."

The fact that the Bay Area brims with strong salsa/Latin jazz ensembles provides certain challenges and advantages for bandleaders looking to distinguish themselves. While the music biz is notoriously competitive, the Bay Area has long fostered cooperation, a vibe exemplified by the presence of two bandleaders in Orquesta Dharma's ranks. Drummer Brian Andres leads the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel, and pianist Christian Tumulan co-leads the Grammy Award-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Dubberly works more in bands of other musicians than his own, and on Saturday he's also performing with Venezuelan vocalist Omar Ledezma's Rumbaché before the Orquesta Dharma set and with timbales great Louie Romero's Mazacote.

"The more you play the music, playing a lot of different books and seeing what works, the more ideas you get," Dubberly says. "I really like arranging and writing, bringing my own compositions to life. Playing in lots of different bands helped me out when I went to start arranging my own ideas."

With the versatile vocalist Ramon Garcia, Orquesta Dharma could have played the salsa stage, but Dubberly landed the middle spot on the Latin jazz stage between Brazilian-inspired vocalist Masha Campagne & Voz Da Lapa and flutist John Calloway and the Latin Collective (salsa almost always features vocals, while Latin jazz tends more toward instrumentals). The reggae stage features two acts, Native Elements and Rafa Roots.

"The idea is to cover a lot of stylistic ground," says Latin jazz stage booker Matt Beasley, who helps arrange acts for many festivals around the region. "The energy at the salsa stage is amazing, with so many people dancing. People are usually dancing at the Latin jazz stage too, but it's a little more for listening." - San Jose Mercury News

"Latin Jazz Net 4/5/2015"

Raul De Gama April 05, 2015
The title of this fantastic and intoxicating album is a dead giveaway. La Clave del Gumbobestraddles the two not-so-disparate worlds of Cuba and New Orleans. In the album plots a sort of pentangular map of the rhythmic topography that was laid out at the bottom of North America and the northern tip of South America. Here the Caribbean met New Orleans; Congo begat Congo Square and Guantanamo and Camagüey, met Kingston, Jamaica, and met the Dominican and Puerto Rico. Clave reigned supreme and laid the indelible imprint upon the region. It made the subverted all other rhythms and created a music so compelling in its ideas, evanescent, weightless trills, suspended and overlapping harmonies and became the sheer dynamic power of the continent as to speak forcefully and eloquently for itself. Call it the rhythm of the second line, the mambo and rumba, and the guaguancó of the descarga, the dropped syllable of reggae and calypso, the bomba, the plena, the spirit of the African diaspora in the Americas. Or call it like it is: La Clave del Gumbo.

Jamie Dubberly and Orquesta Dharma have got it right from the very first mystic chord of the disc, after the batá drums and the Braulio Barrera chant to placate the excited Orishas or Vocatives… the countries of the ancestors of the slaves of Dahomey and the Congo. And there are few things more exhilarating than when the drummers, pianists and brass and woodwinds get the groove going than mambo+bomba+plena+gumbo con alma, con una ebbrezza fantastica all of which = the rhythmic gymnastics; that of this record. There is no molly-coddling musicians here; just red-hot unbridled energy; sunbursting quantum packets of energy in the inexorable growling of tuba and in the earth-shattering braying of the trombone and the roistering of all of the other instruments of this fantastic orchestra. It is called, I believe, “nailing it”, which is to say getting it from the first notes of the explosive first chord.

Why name any particular song when the entire album is an explosion of rhythm adorning inebriated melody and harmony? This is a disc that, end to end, a molten mix of the hottest volcanic music with the coolest near chaotic joy. Jamie Dubberly has also managed to seduce some of the biggest names in the business to join him in paying homage to his muse: African-Caribbean and African-American music results in a new kind of ode to joy. The malleability of rhythm and fiery spontaneity coalesce in a thoroughly personal style of playing. This results in music that captures all of the luminescence, impulsive power, fluidity and shimmering mystique of the saints of the music, who have in turn, inspired Orquesta Dharma. This is, quite simply, one of the most irresistible tributes to the music that begat it all. - Latin Jazz Net - Raul DeGama

"Improvijazzation Nation 4/2/2015"

Jamie Dubberly & Orquesta Dharma – LA CLAVE DEL GUMBO: Totally cool Latin-oriented trombone-led jazz from California… the splendid opener, “Jazzy“, establishes the lively tone for the rest of the nine-song extravaganza. The 6:30 version of Marvin’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” is among the best I’ve heard (yet) in 2015 & the vocal is totally killer! The groove on “West Side Strut” swings just as you might expect it to, & will have you up & dancin’ ’round th’ room in no time. It’s (most) strongly recommended that you listen to this with headphones for the first sitting (unless you have a house where you can set your amp to FULL TILT – then listen to it that way). The superb percussion on “Soul Provider” made it my personal favorite, as well as the “party spirit” the group projects. I give Jamie & his (rather extensive) crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98 for this one. - Rotcod Zzaj

"NewGenSalsa.Com August 27. 2014"

"If you’re a Latin Jazz lover as I am “La Clave Del Gumbo” CD by Jamie Dubberly & Orquesta Dharma is a definite "must have". Just put this bad boy in your CD player, sit back and bring up the volume and let these cats take you on a musical journey. This CD starts off with the Willie Colon classic “Jazzy” which is sizzling hot. With a new arrangement and horns blazing throughout the track it’s difficult to stay planted on your seat. As my DJ friend Ray Cruz from Hawaii would say “it will definitely put a smile on your ears. Another favorite of mine is the classic by the late and great Pete El Conde Rodriguez which happens to be my featured track “La Esencia Del Guaguanco” with Willy Torres on vocals. This is a definite dance floor banger which I’ll be rocking at all the NYC clubs I spin at. I could go on and on talking about this musical GEM. Just do yourself a favor and pick up a copy asap. You won’t regret it." - Walter Baez - Walter Baez

"Magnet Magazine Best of 2014- World Music"

MAGNET’s j. poet picks the best world-music releases of the year

1 Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 A Long Way To The Beginning (Knitting Factory)
2 Toumani & Sidiki Toumani & Sidiki (World Circuit)
3 Jamie Dubberly & Orquesta Dharma La Clave Del Gumbo (Dubberly)
4 Zongo Junction No Discount (Electric Cowbell)
5 Anansy Cissé Mali Overdrive (Riverboat)
6 Lo’Jo 310 Lunes (World Village)
7 Boris Kovač & La Campanella Eastern Moon Rising (Riverboat)
8 Da Cruz Disco E Progresso (Boom Jah)
9 Banda Magda Yerakina (Ground UP)
10 Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca La Rumba SoYo (Cumbancha) - Magnet Magazine

"All About Jazz 8/10/2014"

Jamie Dubberly & Orquesta Dharma: La Clave Del Gumbo (2014)

By DAN BILAWSKY, Published: August 10, 2014
Jamie Dubberly & Orquesta Dharma: La Clave Del Gumbo

Many performances come and go without fanfare for the musician(s), but a rare few are transformative, reshaping the artist's perspective and direction. California-based trombonist Jamie Dubberly had one such experience when his Latin jazz group shared a bill with a New Orleans-style brass band. Dubberly decided to bring both ensembles together to close the show, putting together an arrangement of his own "Soul Provider" that married the sounds of Cuba and NOLA. The concept for this album was born right then and there.

La Clave Del Gumbo, the sophomore release from Jamie Dubberly and Orquesta Dharma, is a spicy stew that's flavored with mambo, salsa, cha cha cha, cumbia, funk, second line, and soul music. Dubberly expertly blends those ingredients in different proportions throughout.

While the fusion of styles and cultures is plainly evident in most of these performances, the scales almost always tip noticeably to one side or the other. Crescent City sounds dominate on "West Side Strut" and "Soul Provider" while Latin ideals carry "La Esencia Del Guaguanco," "Mambo Pacific" and "Sonando." But it should be noted that none of those songs are purebred in nature. Sometimes a single instrumentation decision can indicate a marriage of sounds and styles, a la the addition of Mike Rinta's tuba on "La Esencia Del Guaguanco." Other times it takes the collective presence of a churning percussive underbelly working with and against swaggering horns to mark the separate-but-together philosophy of this music.

Songs like "Jazzy" and "It Ain't My Fault" manage to strike the finest balance between worlds, but other offerings highlight distinct breaks between styles that provide plenty of thrills. The brief Latin detour in the middle of the Cannonball Adderley-meets-Dr. John-esque "I Don't Need Nobody Else" is a good example of how the element of surprise plays as a strength here. Dubberly need not worry about the dreaded sophomore slump. La Clave Del Gumbo, brimming with brassy allure, swaggering rhythms and exciting offshoots, completely avoids it. - All about Jazz

""Latin jazz of a very intense level""

"Latin Jazz of a very intense level" - Dermot Hussey, satellite (XM/Sirius) radio host and musicologist- - "Riffin" with Dermot Hussey, 95 FM, Jamaica

""Good Vibes""

The Northern California-based trombonist/composer/arranger/educator Jamie Dubberly displays good vibes via the up-tempo ambiance and brilliantly tight arrangements of “Road Warrior,” his debut as bandleader and record producer. Featuring some of San Francisco’s top rhythm players (percussionists Carlos Caro, Omar Ledezma, Jr., Silvestre Martínez, Brian Andrés, and Mario Flores; pianists Christian Tumalan and Andy Nevala; bassists Sam Bevan and Fred Randolph). Orquesta Dharma sets the mood for its somewhat unorthodox wind section, comprised of trombone (Dubberly), tenor sax (Pete Cornell), and baritone sax (Charlie Gurke and Darren Smith) with the occasional flute from Cornell. The combination is amazing, producing a distinctively refreshing and powerful sound, which rejuvenates some of the Latin jazz classics. The original scores (including five penned by Dubberly) range from an intense 6/8 minor blues to a sensual bolero to a sizzling soulful chachachá, but always exhibit a unique sound. World-renowned percussionist Karl Perazzo (of Santana fame) appears on two of the tracks, and another special guest, flutist Ramon Garcia, is featured on the fiery version of the Eddie Palmieri’s “Vámonos Pa’l Monte.” Other favorites include the title track (“Road Warrior”), “Elsa’s Blues,” and “The Slowdown.” —Rudy Mangual, Latin Beat Magazine ( April 2012) - Latin Beat Magazine

""A fun listen from start to finish""

When trombonist Jamie Dubberly moved from New York to northern California in 2003, he immediately became ensconced in the burgeoning Bay Area Latin jazz scene. While he sharpened his performance skills by playing in bands like Avance and Louie Romero's Mazacote, these groups also inspired him to put pen to paper and explore the lexicon of Latin jazz in a more personalized manner. Three-and-a-half years in the making, Road Warrior is the result.

While this release marks the leader debut for Dubberly and his Orquesta Dharma, the music never betrays this newcomer status. The group performs with the aplomb and assurance of a well-oiled machine and, with a frontline of trombone and tenor and baritone saxophones, there's an immediate and unique aural fingerprint. While flute pops up on a pair of tracks, the absence of higher voices elsewhere, like trumpet and alto saxophone, gives the frontline a solid-bodied, centered sound that doesn't come off as bright as many Latin bands. Dubberly, tenor saxophonist Pete Cornell and baritone saxophonist Darren Smith blend well, and if each is given plenty of opportunity to shine in individual solo spots, they rise to the occasion and outdo themselves when constantly passing the baton and egging each other on during "Elsa's Blues," which proves to be an album highlight.

The other musical elements in the mix, which include a percussive party down below, with piano and bass filling out the group, are par for this course; yet still provide plenty of thrills along the way. Santana-associated percussionist Karl Perazzo gets big-time billing on the cover of this disc, but he only appears on two tracks, and the heavy lifting is really accomplished through collaborative rumble-making from drummer Brian Andres and percussionists Carlos Caro, Mario Flores, Omar Ledezma, Jr. and Silvestre Martinez, who appear in various combinations throughout. While steady eighth note percussive underpinnings mar the otherwise gorgeous "I Saw You (In My Dream)," their presence is welcome, enhancing the music at every other turn.

Dubberly's own songs provide a glimpse into the inner workings of his mind, but his twist on the work of others is eye-opening. He uses bubbly electric bass and rhumba clavé to underscore his take on Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," sets "Caravan" adrift with some rhythm section work that sounds more like a setup for "A Night In Tunisia," and gives a funky-smooth sheen, which is a bit of an acquired taste, to the borders of Steve Davis' "The Slowdown." Dubberly also manages to reference some other classics, like Nat Adderley's "Work Song" and "Salt Peanuts," in quick fashion during his originals.

Dubberly's broad 'bone sound and arranging/composing skills, along with key contributions from his large cast of collaborators, help make Road Warrior a fun listen from start to finish. Hopefully, it won't take as long to make the follow-up.

Track Listing: Footprints; Road Warrior; Elsa's Blues; The Slowdown; Vamonos P'al Monte; Brunswick Stew; Caravan; I Saw You (In My Dream); Hannover Sky.

Personnel: Jamie Dubberly: trombone; Brian Anders: drums (2-4, 7-9); Sam Bevan: bass (1-6); Carlos Caro: percussion (1-6); Pete Cornell: tenor saxophone (1-7, 9), alto flute (8); Mario Flores: percussion (2, 6); Ramon Garcia: flute (5), vocals (5, 6); Charlie Gurke: baritone saxophone (7-9); Omar Ledezma, Jr.: percussion (1-6), vocals (5, 6); Silvestre Martinez: percussion (7-9); Andy Nevala: piano, keyboards (1-6); Karl Perazzo: timbales (3, 5); Fred Randolph: bass (7-9); Darren Smith: baritone saxophone (1-6); Christian Tumalan: piano (7-9).

Record Label: Self Produced - Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

"2011 Next Generation Latin Jazz Album Of The Year"

Road Warrior
Jamie Dubberly And Orquesta Dharma
The idea of a “Next Generation” group represents a collection of musicians that are delivering a new idea to the world. The band may include young musicians or it might have seasoned veterans; it’s more about the repertoire and performance approach that they are bringing into the world for the first time. The ideas held in that approach hold the potential to influence the next generation of musicians and listeners just as much as the musicians creating them. Trombonist Jamie Dubberly brings a wealth of experience into his album Road Warrior, playing upon lessons learned from Jackie McLean, Pete Escovedo, and more; his group features some of the best musicians from the Bay Area such as Karl Perazzo, Carlos Caro, Pete Cornell, and more playing alongside him. There’s no doubt that a conglomeration of musicians like this will deliver fantastic music, but the compositions and ideas that the group brings into Road Warrior make it outstanding. From the contemporary looks at classic tunes to the funky strut of cha cha cha originals, Road Warrior holds a wealth of great music that will inspire new listeners.

———- - Latin Jazz Corner- Chip Boaz

""An impressive effort""


It is difficult not to be impressed by the playing and music of Orquesta Dharma. The septet (comprised of trombone, tenor, baritone, piano, bass, drums and percussion) was founded by its trombonist, leader and arranger Jamie Dubberly in late-2007 and is based in the San Francisco Bay area. Orquesta Dharma displays high musicianship, plenty of spirit, and an understanding of both swinging jazz and Latin music. Their brand of Afro-Cuban jazz is quite infectious, and succeeds both as dance music and as creative Latin jazz..

The band's brief three-song CD gives listeners a strong taste of what the group is capable of. “Caravan” is equal parts Duke Ellington, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Poncho Sanchez. The original bolero “I Saw You In My Dreams” puts Jamie Dubberly in the spotlight for some romant ic ballad playing. The heated “Hannover Sky” starts off hinting at “Afro Blue” before becoming an original piece. Although there are some short solos, the emphasis is on the group's distinctive ensemble sound and the exciting percussion of Carlos Caro and drummer Brian Andres.

All in all, this is an impressive effort, making one look forward to the eventual full length CD.

Scott Yanow,
Author of ten jazz books including Afro-Cuban Jazz, Jazz On Film, The Jazz Singers and Jazz On Record 1917-76
- Scott Yanow, noted jazz critic and author


Road Warrior ( 2011) - Higher Truth Records

La Clave del Gumbo ( 2014) - Higher Truth Records



Grammy-winning trombonist Jamie Dubberly formed Orquesta Dharma in 2008 originally as a studio project to record some original afro-cuban jazz material he had written and arranged. Since then the group has released two successful albums, and has performed live to enthusiastic audiences at the San Jose Jazz Summerfest, Point Richmond Summer Concert Series, Redwood City Salsa Festival, Ashkenaz (Berkeley) , Club Cocomo (SF), Club Milano (SJ), Torch Club (Sacramento), Gallo Center for the Arts (Modesto), Carnegie Arts Center (Turlock,CA), and Take Five Jazz Club (Stockton CA), among other venues.

 The group’s debut album “Road Warrior” ( 2011), won the Latin Jazz Corner’s “next generation album of the year”, and appeared in Latin Beat Magazine’s top 10 albums of the year, as well as appearing on the salsa charts in Cali, Colombia, and in New York city for their take on Eddie Palmieri’s “Vamanos Pa’l Monte”. Their current release, “La Clave del Gumbo” (2014), is a fusion of New Orleans style brass band and soul music, with afro-cuban jazz and salsa, and has received critical acclaim, reaching the CMJ and JazzWeek charts and peaking at #2 on the NYC based salsa charts (NewGenSalsa) with their version of the iconic salsa dura classic “La Esencia del Guaguanco”.  Music from this album has been featured on Sirius/XM satellite radio, the syndicated jazz radio show “Jazz after Hours”, and was broadcast to millions of listeners as part of a “sports and music spotlight” segment for Sports ByLine USA in March 2015.

 Latin Jazz Network’s Raul DeGama describes the music from La Clave del Gumbo as an “explosion of rhythm adorning inebriated melody and harmony” in his April 5, 2015 review of the disc, which was selected as “Album of The Week”. Orquesta Dharma’s lineup includes a veritable “ who’s who” of the bay area jazz and latin scenes, including Brian Andres, drums, Christian Tumalan, piano, Sam Bevan and Fred Randolph, bass, Carlos Caro, percussion, Omar Ledezma jr, percussion and vocals, Braulio Barrera, percussion and vocals, Silvestre Martinez, percussion, Javier Cabanillas, percussion, Pete Cornell, tenor saxophone and flute, Charlie Gurke, baritone sax, Darren Smith , baritone sax, and Mike Rinta, tuba and trombone, with special guests appearing on the current album such as Karl Perazzo, Wayne Wallace, Willy Torres, Steffen Kuehn, Christian Pepin, Joe Bagale, and Andy Nevala.