The Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet will play two shows at Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza in Worthington this weekend: Saturday, April 11th, at 10pm (tickets available here), and Sunday, the 12th, at 8pm (tickets available here). While Afro-Peruvian music dates back to African slave communities along the coast of Peru in the 1500’s, it has largely remained obscured from North American audiences. It is now gaining popularity however, through fusions like trumpeter Alegria and the Sextet with their Afro-Peruvian and jazz mix. Born in Peru to one of the nation’s most well-known family of writers, Alegria has become noted worldwide for his rare sound. It’s a product of his fieldwork in the black music of Peru and America, but also his multiple degrees in Jazz Studies (USC, Kenyon College, City University of NY). Though he is director of Jazz Studies at NYU, he actively plays live music, building the already substantial Sextet following.
Fans seem to be an integral part of Alegria’s success, and can be involved in the action on Tour Peru, a whistle-stop journey of Peru in coordination with the Sextet and their tour. The group has made it a quite popular way to experience this endemic music and the culture in which it is so deeply embedded. Their latest work, Ciudad De Los Reyes, sports drums (Hugo Alcazar), electric guitar (Yuri Juarez), bass (John Benitez), and sax (Laura Andrea Leguia) in addition to modern versions of the traditional Afro-Peruvian instruments (Freddy Lobaton). Alegria and the Sextet have found a groove all their own somewhere between Afro-Peruvian and American jazz.
If you can’t make either of the night shows, at noon brunch on Sunday you can catch Yuri Juarez, Laura Andrea Leguia, and Freddy Lobaton as the trio Saxofón Criollo. Enjoy a gentle rhythm, Peruvian guitar, and the softness Leguia lends to the more primal sound of the Peruvian folk music. It’s sure to be an excellent precursor for the 8pm show.
Here is some video evidence of the band’s persuasive sound: