Pacho Flores pays tribute to Latin American music

For the first time in his life, the Venezuelan classical trumpeter Pacho Flores was willing to wait, even if it took more than a year, to bring out one of his most important productions. And he doesn’t regret doing it.

His album “Estirpe” had summoned composers such as Arturo Márquez, Paquito D’Rivera and Daniel Freiberg to pay homage to Latin American music through original creations performed by the Minería Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, under the direction of Carlos Miguel Prieto. The album had been recorded in September 2019 and was supposed to be released in 2020, but the pandemic arrived.

“I think I would have been depressed if I took it out (back then),” Flores said in a video call interview after his recent series of concerts at the Nezahualcóyotl Hall of the Autonomous University of Mexico with the Minería y Prieto Symphony Orchestra with reason for the release of the album, which was finally released at the end of July this year and is available on digital platforms and physical format.

“This has been one of the few things that happened to me in life that I said ‘we have to wait’, contrary to what happens to us when we are young,” added Flores. “I think the world had to know that a contribution and an important step were being made, not only for the trumpet, but for the music of Latin America.”

All the composers involved in the project are alive, D’Rivera is even about to receive the Award from the Board of Directors of the Latin Recording Academy and Freiberg was at the first concert at the Sala Nezahualcóyotl for the Mexican premiere of his work “Historia de flowers and tangos”.

“As a composer, musician and pianist I don’t believe what is happening, it’s like a dream that I don’t want to wake up from, being able to have recorded with this gifted trumpeter,” Freiberg told reporters before the concert.

“Estirpe” is the first album recorded by the prestigious classical music record label Deutsche Grammophon with a Mexican orchestra. It is a tribute to Latin rhythms and genres. His works include touches of tangos, milongas, chacareras, Venezuelan joropos, son, danzón, congas, salsa, waltzes, merengue and even reggaeton. The album even covers Anglo genres that have been very popular in the region, such as swing and blues.

“A barbaric thing, in that sense it was a precious sample,” Flores told AP.

The works of the Argentine Freiberg, the Cuban D’Rivera and the Mexican Márquez were commissioned for the recording. There is also an original from Flores, “Morocota”. Only the “Concierto mestizo” by the Uruguayan Efraín Oscher is from 2010.

“It was the first trumpet concerto with which I started this whole crusade,” Flores said of Oscher’s work.

The case of D’Rivera, who dedicated his “Concerto Venezolano” to the album, is special.

“He was so excited that he came to Mexico to listen to the recording and already recording the album we realized that we could do some improvisations,” recalled Flores.

Freiberg also improvises on the album and their names are on the cover as special guests for their participation as performers.

“They are also jazz musicians, which obviously makes improvisation a very practical element for them,” said Flores.

The title of Flores’ piece, “Morocota,” refers to a gold coin that circulated in Venezuela in the second half of the 19th century and is used as a synonym for treasure.

“It is a work that I dedicated to my mother,” said the trumpeter. “It’s a very, very traditional Venezuelan piece… a very melodious piece, very pretty, very elegant.”

Márquez contributed his “Autumn Concert”, a work classified as highly difficult by Flores, one of the best trumpet players in the world. Freiberg composed his evocative “Latin American Chronicles”, divided into the movements “Panoramics”, “Dialogues” and “Influences”.

Flores described “Influences” as a modern fusion of Latin American music with jazz and swing, while he sees “Panoramics” as “a conversation between man and Pacha Mama (Mother Earth)”.

“It has a point of view where there is a beautiful bird of these South Americans that is flying over all these mountains and that can be perceived in the music,” he said about the second movement.

Flores began studying music with his father, who also played the trumpet.

“For me it was very easy to understand that music was soon going to be part of my life, in my house it was normal to see wind instruments… and the trumpet was the instrument that caught me, I don’t know if I chose it or she chose me, but from that moment on it was ‘this is going to be a part of my life,’” she said.

He began studying in the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela at the age of 7 “and I’m still studying it,” he clarified. With productions like “Estirpe” she seeks to contribute to the trumpet repertoire and bring the public closer to the possibilities of an instrument like this.

“I do not want and I do not intend to displace the violin,” he said about the star instrument of the classical genre. “What I want is for the same repertoire to earn it on its own and for the same trumpet, if it really has to be there, then for the same trumpet to be claimed in a natural and organic way by the people… The greatest motivation that I see is that the public itself is demanding it”.

During the recording of the album at the Churubusco Studios in Mexico City, the filmmaker Bernardo Arcos filmed a video that has been released in short versions on the internet and that will also have another long version that they plan to show at festivals.

“In that video there are very interesting things in terms of reactions from the composers… that is invaluable as a document,” orchestra director Prieto told reporters about the release. “I can’t listen to this album without getting emotional… The first thing I heard was the end of Paquito’s concert and I started to cry”.

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