Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours
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Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours

Bronxville, New York, United States | INDIE

Bronxville, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Latin Jazz


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Papo Vazquez The Mighty Pirates - Marooned/Aislado, Picaro Records, 2008 - Grammy Nomination, Best Latin Jazz Album

Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadours - From The Badlands, Picaro Records, 2007 - Best World Music CD, World Music Central & New York Times

Tego Calderon - The Underdog/El Subestimado, Jiggiri Records,

2006 Shakira & Wyclef Jean - World Soccer Final Theme (Bamboo),

2006 Ray Barretto - Standards Rican-ditioned, Zoho Music,

2006 Los Pleneros de la 21 - Para Todos Ustedes, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2005 - Grammy Nomination,

Best Traditional World Music Album Bebo Valdez - Bebo de Cuba, Calle 54, 2005 - Grammy, Best Latin Jazz Album

Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadours - Carnival in San Juan, Cu-Bop Records,

2003 Wayne Shorter Alegria, Verve, 2003 Grammy, Best Jazz Instrumental Album

Freddie Cole Rio de Janeiro Blues, Telarc

Chico O'Farrill "Carambola" Fantasy

Papo Vazquez "Pirates & Troubadours - At the Point Vol. I" Cubop Papo Vazquez "Pirates & Troubadours - At the Point Vol. 2" Cubop

Milton Cardona "Cambucha" American Clave

Arturo O'Farrill "Bloodlines" Fantasy

Chucho Valdes "All Stars Bronx Lebanon New Directions Project" RMM

"Jammin' in the Bronx" Papo Vazquez Band, Chucho Valdes & The Machito Orq RMM

Chart Busters with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lenny White, Hiram Bullock, Craig Handy, Papo Vazquez,

Chico O'Farrill "Pure Emotion" Fantasy

Steve Berrios "First World" Fantasy

Descarga Boricua "Descarga Boricua" Tierrazo

Dave Valentin "Tropic Heat" GRP

Juan Luis Guerra 440 "Fogarate" 440

Papo Vazquez "Breakout" Timeless

Ruben Blades "Amor y Control" "Antecedente" & "Caminando" Sony

Hilton Ruiz "Mannhatan Mambo" Telarc & "Hands on Percusion" RMM

Tito Puente "Out of this World" Tito Puente "100th" RMM

Bobby Valentin Presenta a el Cano Estremera

Bobby Valentin En Accion - Bronco Records

Jerry Gonzalez Fort Apache Band "Obatala" & "Live in Berlin" Enja & "Ya Yo Me Cure" American Clave

Batacumbele "Con Un Poco de Songo" & "En Aquellos Tiempos" Tierrazo

Ray Barretto "Ricanstruction" Fania

Slide Hampton "World of Trombones" WEST54

Chico O'Farrill "Calle 54"

Fania All Stars "Havana Jam" Fania

Willie Colon & Ruben Blades "Siembra" Fania

Willie Colon & Celia Cruz Fania Hector La Voe "De Ti Depende" Fania

Mon Rivera "Vuelvo a Vivir" Fania



Papo Vazquez


Trombonist, composer and arranger Papo Vazquez is more than thirty-five years into a career spanning the jazz, Latin, Afro-Caribbean and classical music and recording worlds.

This year he's focusing all energies on his new recording Oasis with his Mighty Pirates Troubadours the core band which is a seven piece Afro Puerto Rican Jazz group and invited guests.The recording will be on sale after July 2012 on his Picaro record label.

Last year 2011 he was presented by Pregones Theater an NEA Latino Masters Award under the National Endowments for the Arts American Masterpieces.

In 2010, Papo was commissioned on behalf of Wynton Marsalis for a new work inspired by Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam; which was then performed as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz and Art concert series.

Papo won a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for "Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates" in 2008 for his recording Marooned/Aislado, on his own independent label, Picaro Records.


Vazquez was born in 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After spending his early years in Puerto Rico, he grew up in the heart of North Philadelphia's Puerto Rican community. He bought his first trombone from a friend for $5 and joined the elementary school band.

At the age of 14, an uncle recommended him to a local salsa band, where he met trumpet player Jimmy Purvis. Purvis inspired Papos lifelong passion for jazz by giving him two records: J.J. Johnson's Blue Trombone and John Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard. By 15, Vazquez was performing with local Latin bands in Philadelphia and accompanying visiting artists such as Eddie Palmieri.

At only 17, he moved to New York and was hired to play for trumpet player Chocolate Armentero's band, and soon began playing and recording with other top artists in the salsa scene like The Fania All- Stars, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Grupo Folklorico Nuyorquino, Eddie Palmieri, Larry Harlow, and Hector La Voe. Vazquez also became a key player in New Yorks burgeoning Latin jazz scene of the late 1970's, performing with Jerry Gonzalez, Hilton Ruiz, and more. He began studying with Slide Hampton, eventually recording and performing for Slide Hampton's World of Trombones.

Vazquez went on to perform with jazz luminaries Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Mel Lewis, Mario Rivera, Hilton Ruiz and Milton Cardona, and to tour Europe with the Ray Charles Orchestra. By the age of 22, Vazquez had traveled the globe.

He was a founding member of Jerry Gonzalez' Fort Apache and Conjunto Libre as well as of Puerto Ricos popular Latin fusion band Batacumbele, performing and recording several albums with the group from 1981 to 1985. Upon his return to New York, he joined Tito Puente's Latin Jazz Ensemble, traveling with them as principal trombonist, and toured Europe with Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra.

Leader, Composer, Innovator

Vazquez has always been deeply moved by jazz, and specifically cites the music of John Coltrane and J.J. Johnson as having most influenced him. In addition, his appreciation for and knowledge of the indigenous music of the Caribbean peoples provides him with a unique ability to fuse Afro-Caribbean rhythms, specifically those from Puerto Rico, with freer melodic and harmonic elements of progressive jazz.

During his time back in Puerto Rico with Batacumbele in the 1980s, he began to experiment with bomba jazz, a mixture of jazz and traditional Puerto Rican bomba. In 1993 he recorded his first album as a leader, Breakout. He continued collaborating with a variety of Latin Jazz artists, contributing to Hilton Ruizs Manhattan Mambo and Abrazate: Descarga Boricua, Vol. 2.

In 1999, he released a live recording featuring a number of important New York Latin and jazz artists, including bassist Andy Gonzalez, saxophonists Willie Williams and Michael Brecker, and drummer Horacio Hernandez. The release of Pirates & Troubadours - At the Point, Vol. 1 was followed next year with At The Point, Vol. 2. This project evolved into the Pirates Troubadours, an Afro- Puerto Rican jazz band including musicians such as Roberto Cepeda Milton Cardona and Anthony Carrillo on percussion, John Benitez on bass and Dafnis Prieto on drums, The group performed at festivals around the world and released Carnival in San Juan in 2003, followed by From The Badlands in 2007.

Band Members