"Ralph Irizarry is a name that sounds like 'Latin Jazz'. His personality and musical style convey great emotion listening to a CD, you feel as alive now as it is a concert of He & Timbalaye ... unprecedented joy. ..is one of the greatest timbaleros of all time ". Luis Raul Montell-Jazz Caribe (www.jazzcaribe.blogspot.com)
Ralph Irizarry & Timbalaye
Tracks: 1. Gotham Town; 2. Ocean Parkway; 3. Back in Da Hood; 4. Witch Doctor; 5.- Timbuleria; 6. Monte Adentro; 7. La 104; 8. P'al Solar
Adan Perez (p); Alex Apollo Ayala (b 1, 2, 3, 5, 6); Israel Cedeño (b 4, 8); Hommy Ramos (tb); Anibal Rojas (ts); Dennis Hernandez (t); Roberto Quintero (congas, shekere, guiro 1, 2, 3, 5, 6); Sebastian Nickoll (congas, bongo 4, 7, 8); Ralph Irizarry (timbales); special guest: Ruben Rodriguez (b 7); Bobby Franceschini (ts 7); Jonathan Powell (t 7); Eric Chacon (f 3); Christian Nieves (uatro); Jose Eduardo Santana, Willie Ruiz, Gonzalo Grau, Ernesto Briceño, Roberto Castillo (perc)
Composer: Gonzalo Grau, Samuel Torres, Bobby Franceschini, Luis Perdomo, Ricardo Pond, Martin ArroyoIt was the winter of 1995 and I gathered 6 musicians in my basement to talk about an idea I had. I already had a few arrangements and a name for a Latin Jazz project I wanted to get off the ground. The idea of the name came from an LP record I had called Carlos Embale A La Timbalaye. I listened to the tune and I liked how the word.
Timbalaye sounded. In it's first 6 letters it also spelled the name of the instrument I play. Perfect I thought. I also found out years later that it meant " Party World". Nothing wrong with that.
At the meeting I told the musicians that I had no gigs and really wasn't looking for any. All I had to offer was lots of rehearsals and a vision of a group following in the steps of the Mongo Santamaria and the Willie Bobo rhythm section team with a bit more progressive arrangements. Well three guys quit that same night. Eventually I found guys who gave my vision a chance and the rest is history.
I'm proud to say that the many musicians that passed thru the ranks of Timbalaye have long since moved on to bigger and better things and I only wish I could mention them all but the list is long. With the second version of Timbalaye we recorded 3 great CD's and traveled extensively thru Europe, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the US. Due to my touring and obligation with Ruben Blades and Seis Del Solar I saw myself obligated to make the decision to disband for a long period of time. I felt that was the respectful thing to do for my fellow bandmates in Timbalaye.
In the last couple of years I started meeting some young excellent musicians who would say they were to young to have witnessed Timbalaye live and could only see us in videos. So I started asking them if they would be willing to put in some rehearsal time to play the Timbalaye book and they were all for it. These are the current crop of young lions that now make up Timbalaye.
I just turned 61 and the last couple of years have battled cancer so to say that these guy's in their 20's, 30's and early 40's have been my best medicine to want to get back into the studio and get back on the world stage is an understatement. I had the honor and privilege to work with some of the best composer/arrangers in my last 3 CD's and some of them have returned to bless me with more great material.
His next step was the foundation of grupo Timbalaye, a septet with a strong big band sound. The group combines modern jazz with various Latin tropical rhythms (timba and Songo) and traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms (pump, cha cha cha and son montuno). Their innovative sound has allowed the group presented several local weekly in New York. In October 1997, Ralph and company presentation along a Batacumbele is a historic concert in Hstos College.I struggled to come up with a name for this new CD and after much brainstorming I figured I started the group 20 years ago so for all you Timbalaye fans who waited patiently for another jam here's the Timbalaye 20th Anniversary CD. It's a complete labor of love by everybody involved so I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed recording it. (Ralph Irizarry words).
Notes of Ralph Irizarry:
Recognized as one of the greatest drummers with "swing", Ralph Irizarry has a distinctive style that has allowed him to leave an indelible mark on clusters where touched. Born to Puerto Rican parents in New York's Harlem, Ralph is a self-taught musician who learned the trade heard his brother discs and music of their idols in nightclubs, where he used to sneak when I was 16. His family moved to Puerto Rico when Ralph was in his teens; There he gained his first professional experiences with The Dread, El Gran Combo, the Sonora Ponceña and many other groups. After three years on the island, Ralph returned to New York, where he began playing with local groups. One winter night 1978, met the legendary Ray Barreto elManhattan's Corso Nightclub and began a productive working relationship would as a result five extraordinary recordings.
Ralph has recorded with David Byrne, Paul Simon, Harry Belafonte, Earl Klugh, Juan Luis Guerra, Cachao, Celia Cruz and Yomo Toro, although it is recognized mostly for his musical relationship with Ruben Blades and Seis Del Solar, who remained recording and performing internationally for 13 years. His musical contributions have also been instrumental in recording two albums made by Latin jazz Seis del Solar for Messidor Records label. Currently, it is one of the most sought-after musicians that has kept working in commercial and soundtracks for films and television bands.
His charisma also enabled him to develop an unexpected career as an actor, he starred in The Mambo Kings, playing the role of Pito Fernandez. He has also starred in films and documentaries, Cachao, Como Mi Ritmo No Hay Dos (Andy Garcia), The Roots of Rhythm (Harry Belafonte) and The Life and Times of Ruben Blades.
In the summer of 1996, Ralph participated with Tito Puente Master Timbaleros the show, presented at SOB's in New York. This historic concert was the culmination of 26 years of dedication, practice and love of music. Puente said at the time: "Ralph is a star of the future that has never forgotten her roots His group is wonderful.".
Among his most recent projects is a recording at Birdland for a compilation to be published by the record company RCA Records. Its members stand Oriente López (Cuba African Group), Arturo Ortiz (Ruben Blades) and Juan Carlos Salas (the famous Venezuelan group Guaco). Timbalaye is considered the strength of Latin Jazz.
In 2013 he recorded four tunes that make the CD "Algo Nuevo" and achieved his goal in as sounding 'chevere' as he likes to his followers, who are now happy and satisfied with the celebrated new CD "20th Anniversary"
"Best Kept Secret", "It's Time" are other productions of this spectacular drummer and Timbalaye, here in Live with "Witch Doctor"...gozalo!:
¡¡Viva The Latin Jazz!!