Tiempo Libre Returns to Columbus with Their Fiery Salsa & Latin Jazz Sound

Three-time Grammy-nominated Tiempo Libre is one the hottest young Latin bands today. Equally at home in concert halls, jazz clubs, and dance venues, the members of the Miami-based band are true modern heirs to the rich tradition of the music of their native Cuba. Celebrated for their incendiary, joyful performances of a Cuban salsa music called “timba,” an irresistible, dance-inducing mix of high-voltage Latin jazz, and the seductive, Afro-Cuban rhythms of “son,” Tiempo Libre return to Columbus after headlining Festival Latino in 2009.

CAPA presents Tiempo Libre at the Lincoln Theatre (769 E. Long St.) on Friday, February 18, at 8pm. Tickets are $30 at the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Students between the ages of 13-19 may purchase $5 High Five tickets while available. This Caliente Series performance is made possible through the generous support of series sponsors David and Mo Meuse.

More About Tiempo Libre

Tiempo Libre’s members were all enjoying thriving careers in Latin music when the seven extraordinary musicians came together to realize their collective musical dream—to create the first authentic, all-Cuban timba band in the US. Their eagerness to share their music with others led these multi-talented individuals to come together between projects to develop their new style, hence the name Tiempo Libre (Free Time).

Since their formation in 2001, the members of Tiempo Libre have been on a mission to share their musical heritage with as wide an audience as possible, reinterpreting and reinvigorating traditional Cuban music with a youthful, modern sound and forging a new style born from the meeting of their Cuban roots and their American experience.

In 2002, Tiempo Libre dazzled a crowd of more than 12,000 people at their Ravinia Festival debut. They were quickly reengaged for 2003, where they shared a bill with Aretha Franklin and performed for an enthusiastic crowd of 20,000. Tiempo Libre also performed at the new Heineken Jazz Festival in Hua Hin and Thailand that year. Return trips to Asia have included sold out shows at Hong Kong’s Kwai Tsing Theatre and the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, the glorious concert hall at the foot of the famous twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and at the 2005 Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Since that time, the group’s busy touring schedule in the US has included performances at Miami’s JVC Jazz Festival, Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA, SOB’s in New York City, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Celebrate Brooklyn, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Festival International de Louisiane, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Society of the Performing Arts in Houston, Kimmel Center, Orange County Performing Arts Center, California Center for the Arts, New Haven Jazz Festival, California World Fest, Lotus Music Festival, New York’s River-to-River Festival at the South Street Seaport, and the Colorado, Interlochen, Green, and Eastern music festivals.

Tiempo Libre’s debuted in Europe in 2005. Among the highlights of that tour was a sold-out performance at the closing concert of the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy. Subsequent tours have brought sold-out houses in Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

In January 2005, Tiempo Libre released Arroz con Mango, a tribute to the deep Cuban roots of Tiempo Libre’s members and a celebration of their new life in the US. Released to universally glowing reviews, it received tremendous attention in the press and was featured in numerous national publications including Latin Beat, Hispanic Magazine, Jazziz, and American Airlines’ American Way Magazine. They performed songs from the new album on many of the highest-rated Spanish-language shows and were featured on NPR’s “Latino USA.” Fulfilling the meaning of its title (“arroz con mango” is a Cuban slang expression meaning “something completely out of the ordinary”), the album was nominated for a 2006 Grammy Award in the category of Best Salsa/Meringue Album.

One year later, the band released Lo Que Esperabas (What You’ve Been Waiting For) which earned them a second Grammy nomination, this time for Best Latin Tropical Album.

In 2007, Tiempo Libre embarked upon another exciting project—the creation of new work Rumba Sinfónica for symphony orchestra and Cuban band. The composition was a collaboration with the highly-respected Venezuelan classical composer Ricardo Lorenz and commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Ravinia Festival, and the Festival of the Arts Boca. Since its premiere in Minneapolis in November 2007, Tiempo Libre has performed Rumba Sinfónica with a number of orchestras including the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the DuPage Symphony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, and the Hartford Symphony, as well as concerts at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, the Lincoln Theater in Napa Valley, and Sculler’s Jazz Club in Boston, to mention just a handful.

In 2008, Tiempo Libre brought its dynamic Afro-Cuban beat to leading flutist Sir James Galway’s album, O’Reilly Street. The album features an exciting new Latin jazz arrangement of music from the Claude Bolling Jazz Suites including “Baroque and Blue,” as well as a timba take on Bach’s “Badinerie” and a number of vibrant new compositions by Tiempo Libre’s musical director and pianist Jorge Gomez. The result is rich in the traditions of multiple genres, authentic yet emotionally seductive, transcending the borders between classical, jazz, and Cuban music.

In 2009, the group released Bach in Havana—a fusion of Bach with Afro-Cuban rhythms, featuring guest tracks by Paquito d’Rivera and Yosvany Terry. The CD was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Tropical Latin Album category and is currently being played on more than 200 radio stations. Millions of television viewers enjoyed the group’s performance of “Tu Conga Bach” from Bach in Havana on prime-time TV’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Tiempo Libre was invited to collaborate on the duet “Para Tí” with violinist Joshua Bell, which was featured on Bell’s album At Home with Friends. The group also performed the track with Bell on “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien,” “Live from Lincoln Center: Joshua Bell @ Home with Friends” PBS special, and on WNYC radio’s popular program “Soundcheck.”

In addition to their performing and recording careers, the members of Tiempo Libre are particularly committed to the sharing of their rich musical traditions through outreach and educational activities and have participated in artist-in-residence programs at Michigan State University and Interlochen Academy. The group has also become known for its inspiring classes on rumba, Latin jazz, and traditional Cuban music, designed to reach audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Tiempo Libre is Musical Director Jorge Gomez on keyboard; Raúl Rodríguez, trumpet; Leandro Gonzalez, congas; Tebelio (Tony) Fonte, bass; Armando (Pututi) Arce, drums; Joaquin (El Kid) Diaz, lead vocal; and Luis Beltran Castillo, saxophone & flute.


Friday, February 18, 8 pm
Lincoln Theatre (769 E. Long St.)

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