Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Theatre Production of A Midsummer Night's Dream 

I'm playing synth guitar on this modern take of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Pretty cool music in a Latin Jazz vein, on the Brazilian side. Composers Danny Strimer, Lena Arice Lucas, and Alan Miller did a great job! Well written and very catchy tunes.

Great cast and crew, both professionals and students!! Guest artists Andrea Runge and Henry Haggard are amazing! And, so are the students, Clara McGowan, Jill Engstrom, Austin McMains, Frankie Curry-Edwards, and everyone on and off stage. 

It's going to be a blast!


By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by David Grapes
Aerial Choreography by Andrea Moon
Langworthy Theatre
November 16, 17, 18 at 7:30 pm
November 19 at 2:00 pm

Our modern take on this classic will transport audiences to the enchanted rain forest - where fairies live in trees and lines are blurred between fairies, musicians and a noble lord and lady, as we follow the interwoven storylines of four young lovers, a troupe of madcap auto mechanics turned actors and the fairies, who toy with all their fates. Our cast will features a talented mix of comedians, actors, improvisers, dancers, aerialists and musicians, making for a unique rendition of one of Shakespeare’s most captivating comedies. This production reinvents the Bard’s classic in an interactive, accessible and light way. It will appeal to the most avid Shakespeare fan, as well as to those experiencing a live play for the first time. We look forward to seeing you in the forest!"

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope everything is going well for you. With all the bad things happening around the world I find that we need arts and music a lot more these days.
That said...I'll try to play my part. 

New things coming up:

On November 8-9, I'll be working with Kenyon Brenner, Mike Conrad, and Shawn Williams at the Thompson School District's Jazz Retreat in Loveland, Colorado. We'll be working with middle/high school students' big bands for two days. Super exciting!

The SGLJO is playing a concert at the Jazz Education Network Conference 2018, in Dallas, TX. Always exciting and fun to conduct my music with this incredible group of musicians. I have a new piece that will be premiered at this concert. The band for this concert is:

Dave Pietro
Adam Blakey
Don Aliquo
Kenyon Brenner
Ryan Middagh

Brad Goode
Ron Parton
Jeff Jarvis
Clay Jenkins

Mike Conrad
Paul McKee
David Caffey
John Matthews

Rhythm Section:
Dana Landry - Piano
Erik Applegate - Bass
Steve Kovalcheck - Guitar 

Helen de la Rosa - Drum Set
Pablito Peña - Percussion
Daniel Berroa - Percussion 

After this concert, I'm conducting a concert with the Blair Big Band and giving a clinic at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Thanks Dr. Ryan Middagh for having me there. We are also playing a new piece, commissioned for this occasion. More details to come.

Part one of my article "Natural Harmonization" came out this month on Jazz Education Network online:
This article offers the basics of one of the ways I use to harmonize definitive/functional melodies. This is a process I adapted from what I learned from the great Dick Grove (

Part two, coming in a few days, will apply these concepts to an actual melody.

I hope this series of articles will help you develop your own process to harmonizing melodies and creating more music.
Thanks to Steve Nigohosian for the opportunity to share this process.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any question,

Blessings and peace to all,

Sunday, February 19, 2017

SGLJO in Colorado

It was great to perform two concerts in Colorado this week! The first one at the MOXI Theater in Greeley, Colorado; the second at the prestigious Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver.

MOXI with the Boss and Brad

It is always a blast to share the stage with so many talented musicians. Thanks to each one of you for making it possible. It is always humbling and exciting to hear these guys and girls performing my music.
At the MOXI

After the Dazzle show

Helen, Pablito, and Daniel killed it on the percussion. They also did a great clinic on Dominican percussion at UNC.

Pablito, Erik, Helen, SG, Daniel after the Dazzle show

Wil, Bri, Kenyon, Darrel, and Joel were amazing! Including the sax soli on "Homage to Tavito" :-)

Having Greg Gisbert and Brad Goode on the same stage is like having Michael Jordan and Lebron James on the same team, Wow!!! Miles, Chris, and David were equally great.

Brad, Helen, SG, Greg

Paul McKee makes playing trombone look so easy! Mike Conrad always brings it! (And yes Mike, I do know your name!! hahaha). It was the first time with Zach and John, it won't be the last!

Dana and Erik, what can I say? Simply great!

Darrel, Erik, SG, Dana, Chris, David, Daniel

It's an honor to share the stage with you guys and to be colleagues at UNC with most of you!

I also had the opportunity of talking to Susan Gatsched and Arturo Gomez at KUVO, the Denver Jazz station. To top it off, at the Dazzle show, we had the privilege of having Arturo as the MC for the night. 

Thanks to Michael Schreier for the article he penned for Dazzle and for having us there.

This week, I also had the opportunity to talk to Trish Hennessey on her show Hybrid Jazz. Thanks Trish! It was great talking to you. To listen to the show and my interview (which begins at 1:00:00)


Hope to see you again soon.


Sunday, January 1, 2017


2016 was a very exciting and crazy year! Back Home came out and it was very well-received by jazz fans and critics. The album received very good radio airplay throughout the US and internationally (DR, Peru, Colombia, Australia, UK).  

The piece "Vantage Point" appeared on Jazziz magazine's (winter edition). 
SGLJO at JEN 2016 (Photo: Chang Su)

The album won a Gold Medal at the Global Music Awards and it was named on the top 6 at the "Best of 2016" - Category Latin/Brazilian Jazz by Ken Franckling.

UNC Gala 2016 (photo: Woody Myers)

I was lucky to share by doing several clinics and concerts with the Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Orchestra (SGLJO) in the US and the Dominican Republic, including two concerts at the JEN Conference in Louisville, KY, the performance of one piece at the UNC Gala, guest conductor at the Santo Domingo Jazz Festival (Casa de Teatro) with the National Conservatory of Music's Big Band. I also had the honor of recording a one-hour performance/TV special for CERTV (State Corporation of Radio and TV) with the band.

With Hernan Lopez-Nussa, Javier Vargas, and Brad Goode
Casa de Teatro (Photo: Pedro Bonilla)
The SGLJO performed at the International Restauración Jazz Festival at the historic Fortaleza Ozama in Dominican Republic. It was great performing an entire show there and having so many great musicians sharing their talent, including the incredible Brad Goode, Ryan Middagh, Ramon Vasquez, and the faculty and students from the Conservatory. Thanks to each one of you. You guys made it a memorable concert for me. Special thanks to professor Javier Vargas for all his help to make this possible and producer Ivan Fernandez for taking us there.
In action

With Brad Goode and Ryan Middagh at the Conservatory

Quisqueya la Bella, celebrating Dominican music, Manhattan School of Music

My music was performed by two formidable ensembles: Manhattan School of Music's Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra (conducted by Latin Jazz great Bobby Sanabria) and the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music's Concert Jazz Orchestra, USC Long Beach (conducted by the great Jeff Jarvis).

Now getting ready for the JEN Conference in New Orleans (in two days), super exciting!

Here's a video summary of 2016. I hope you enjoy it:

I wish you the best in 2017!

Love and Peace,

Monday, September 5, 2016

Summer 2016 & Other Things:

It's been a great year so far. Back Home came out on March, 4th and it's been doing really well. Thanks a lot for your support.

On April the music from Back Home was performed by the Manhattan School of Music's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Bobby Sanabria. The concert honored the music from DR and, specifically, honoring Tavito, Mario Rivera and Juan Colon. It was great hanging out with Bobby and the orchestra in NY.

Later in the month, Jeff Jarvis and USC's (Long Beach) Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Concert Jazz Orchestra performed a concert of my music.

Thanks Bobby and Jeff!

Over the summer my family and I went back home to the Dominican Republic. It was a family vacation trip but I had the chance to work, once again, with the National Conservatory of Music's Big Band, which is always a blast!!!
On this occasion I conducted a few of my pieces at the Santo Domingo Jazz Festival in Casa de Teatro. Great audience and a very fun show!

SG, Fernando Rodriguez & Javier Vargas en el soundcheck

I was honored with an invitation to perform my music with the band for a second time, on a pre-recorded show for CERTV, which is going to be on the air soon. It is a one-hour show with interviews and concert. Pretty fun!

Interviews/Talks: I was also interviewed for the TV show Cita Cultural with Yanela Hernadez Cedeño and Guillermo Ricart. Very cool interview that was organized by an old friend and producer of the show, Laura Guzman.
I also did an interview/talk about Back Home for the the radio show Musica Maestro with Alexis Mendez. Thanks Alexis for your huge support.

On August 15th, I was back in the country to perform with the Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Orchestra on the Restauracion Jazz Festival, organized by Skip Productions and Ivan Fernandez. I was accompanied by a combination of professional musicians such as bassist Ramon Vasquez, Felix Garcia (el Abuelo), Rafaelito Diaz, Junior Sanchez, Francis, and students from the conservatory. This time around we also had Brad Goode and Ryan Middagh, members of the SGLJO in the US. It was great to have these guys in my country for a few days. 

Brad also performed with his quartet (Dominican version) and with the great Cuban pianist Ernan Lopez-Nussa. The venue couldn't have been better, the first fortress in America, La Fortaleza Ozama (1502). Thanks to Ivan and his team,  and also to Javielo for making it possible.

It's an honor and a privilege to share the stage with so many great musicians. It is also a humbling experience every time.

In action at the Restauracion International Jazz Festival

A view from the side
Ryan Middagh

Brad Goode w/Samuel Atizol (p), Ramon Vasquez (b) and Otoniel Nicolas (d)

SG, Brad, Ryan on at the airport in DR on our way back

 I also had the chance to visit with family and friends including a short visit to Juan Luis Guerra's home, which made my daughter very happy as he is one of her idols. 

Garcias and JLG

In all, it's been a crazy year (hasn't stopped yet). Back Home is getting spins internationally in Australia, Colombia, Peru, US, and DR. I'm pretty happy with the reception the album has received, which makes me want to work harder on the next one. 

Thanks to each one of the people that has helped me this year so far. Too many to mention but you know who you are.

For now, Blessings to all and see you soon!


Sunday, January 31, 2016


La experiencia en el JEN en Louisville, KY fue increíble! La SGLJO tocó dos veces, el concierto principal, el Jueves, y el concierto del Young Composers Showcase, el Sábado.

La recepción del público fué incredible. Y todos en la banda tocaron incredible también. Mis mayores elogios para la banda! Helen de la Rosa, Pablito Drums y Daniel Berroa le dieron el sello Dominicano, al nivel más alto!

Fue grandioso compartir tan prestigioso escenario con mis colegas y estudiantes de UNC (Dana, Erik Steve, Kenyon, Briana, Adam, Mike, Frank); profesores anteriores (Jamey y Don); y grandes amigos (todos los mencionados y Ryan, Paul, Brian, Clay, Steve Hawk, Ruben y Brad). Todos ustedes son una fuente constante de inspiración. Gracias por estar ahí y ser parte de esta parte de mi viaje.

El segundo concierto: fuímos invitado a tocar las composiciones ganadoras de la competencia de composición del JEN, Young Composers Showcase. Cuatro grandes composiciones por Mike Conrad (primer trombón de SGLJO), Nacho Gonzalez, Matt Shugert y Andrew Herring. También tocamos una de mis composiciones, Vantage Point. Para este concierto tuvimos algunos músicos sustitutos incluyendo al gran Tom "Bones" Malone y Jeff Jarvis.

Como parte del program de mentores del JEN, también tuve la oportunidad de ser mentor de uno de los compositores del concurso, Nacho. Los otros mentores fueron John Clayton, Alan Baylock y Greg Yasinitsky. Gracias David Fodor por invitarnos. Fué un honor el ser parte de este concierto/programa.

Para ponerle la tapa al pomo, también ofrecí una clínica, Jazz Latino con un tinte dominicano, en la cual presenté elementos de diferentes estilos de mi país y como yo los integré en mi escritura para orquesta de jazz. Fue una gran oportunidad para mí el poder compartir mis raíces y mi música con los presentes.

Acabo de llegar de Colorado Springs, donde presenté dos clínicas. La primera fue Producción Musical y el iPad, y la segunda la presenté junto a mi hermosa y talentosa esposa, Producción Musical y el iPad para alumnos de primaria (5to grado). Fue increíble compartir con ella en este ambiente por primera vez. Como decimos los dominicanos, "se la comió"!!!! Voy a Texas en par de semanas para otro set de clinicas. Más detalles después.

Muchas cosas que compartir!!

Bendiciones a todos,

En acción!

Compartiendo una "corta" cena: Pablito, SG, José y Nomar Negroni,
Nacho González, Federico Britos

SGLJO después del concierto

Dominicanos en el JEN!

Rodeado de Heavy Metal: Mike Conrad, SG, Tom "Bones" Malone, Jeff Jarvis y Steve Hawk

SG, Tom "Bones" Malone, Rubén Álvarez, Jeff Jarvis y Steve Hawk

Bobby Sanabria, Gene Perla, SG

Friday, January 29, 2016



We had a blast at the JEN Conference in Louisville, KY!
 The SGLJO performed twice, the main concert on Thursday and the Young Composers Showcase concert on Saturday.
The audience's reception of the music and the of band was incredible. Everybody played amazingly!
Kudos to each member of the ensemble. Helen de la Rosa, Pablito Drums, and Daniel Berroa gave the music the Dominican seal, at the highest level! It was great sharing that prestigious stage with UNC colleagues and students (Dana, Erik Steve, Kenyon, Briana, Adam, Mike, Frank); former professors (Jamey and Don); and great friends (all of the above mentioned plus Ryan, Paul, Brian, Clay, Steve Hawk, Ruben, and Brad). All of you guys are a constant flow of inspiration! Thanks for being there and for being a part of this part of my journey!

The second concert: we were invited to perform the winning compositions of the JEN's composition competition, the Young Composers Showcase. Four great compositions by our very own (SGLJO's lead trombone) Mike Conrad, Nacho Gonzalez, Matt Shugert, and Andrew Herring. We also played one of my compositions, Vantage Point. For this concert we had a few subs including the great Tom "Bones" Malone and Jeff Jarvis.

I also had the opportunity to mentor one of the composers, Nacho, as part of the JEN Mentoring Program. The other mentors were John Clayton, Alan Baylock, and Greg Yasinitsky. Thanks David Fodor for inviting us. It was an honor to be a part of this concert/ program.

The icing on the cake was that I also gave a clinic, Latin Jazz with a Dominican Tinge, on Dominican musics and how I incorporate Dominican elements in my jazz orchestra writing. It was a great opportunity for me to share part of my Dominican heritage and my music with the attendees. 

I'm now in Colorado Springs, where I just gave a clinic, Music Production and the iPad, and will be doing another one on Saturday, joining my beautiful and talented wife, Music Production and the iPad for the Upper Elementary Classroom. Super excited!!!! Then going to Texas for another set of clinics. More on these later.

A lot of great news to share and more coming!

Blessings to all,


In action!

Enjoying a "short" dinner with Pablito, Jose and Nomar Negroni, Nacho, and Federico Britos

The SGLJO after the concert

Mission accomplished! Daniel, Helen SG, Pablito

After the YCS concert. SG surrounded by Heavy Metal (a.k.a. brass)-
Mike Conrad, Tom Malone, Jeff Jarvis, Steve Hawk

Bobby Sanabria, Gene Perla, and SG