Sunday, May 15, 2022


Nuestro Primer Libro Infantil, Del Otro Lado de la Calle, Esta Disponible!!!

Wanda se inspiró en mi composición "From Across the Street" (Del Otro Lado de la Calle) y creó un personaje, Pati, para nuestro libro, del mismo título, recientemente publicado. En este libro, Pati, una inmigrante estadounidense-dominicana, sirve como conducto para el diseminar conocimiento sobre la música de Palos, uno de los géneros más predominantes de la República Dominicana. El término Palos se refiere a un tipo particular de música folclórica, pero también se usa como un término general para muchos otras expresiones musicales. En el libro usamos el término como este último, lo que nos permitió fusionar diferentes expresiones y sus instrumentaciones. 

La historia refleja algunas de nuestras propias experiencias al crecer en la República Dominicana.


El flipbook fue publicado por y al comprarlo te llevas, no solo una versión en PDF sino, todos los sonidos de los instrumentos, ensambles, narraciones, etc. Aprovecha el precio de lanzamiento por el resto del mes .


Este proceso fue un esfuerzo familiar. Wanda y Astrid grabaron las voces en off en español e inglés, respectivamente; yo grabé y mezclé el audio en nuestro estudio casero. Los instrumentos de percusión fueron grabados en República Dominicana en el estudio de Leo Pimentel, por el inigualable Edis Sánchez (el Gurú). Edis es antropólogo y uno de los percusionistas más destacados de la música folclórica dominicana.


Para el final del libro, tomé las voces pre-grabadas de la grabación original de la música (del álbum Back Home) y superpuse todas las nuevas grabaciones de percusión.


El libro viene en inglés y español. Puedes leer/escuchar el libro completo en un idioma o cambiar de idioma desde cualquier página. ¡¡¡Super chévere!!!


Este fue un trabajo de amor que también sirve como una forma de difundir el conocimiento de nuestra herencia dominicana a una nueva audiencia. Espero que ustedes, chicos y chicas, lo acepten y se lo muestren a los niños que los rodean.


Bendiciones para todos ustedes.





 Our First Children Book, 

From Across the Street - Del otro lado de la calle, is OUT!!!!


Wanda got inspired by my composition "From Across the Street" and created a character, Pati, for our recently published book of the same title. In this book, Pati, an American-Dominican immigrant, serves as the conduit to knowledge about Palos music, one of the most predominant genres of the the Dominican Republic.  The term Palos refers to a particular type of folk music, but it is also used as an umbrella term for many other musical expressions. In the book we used the term as the latter, which allowed us to fuse different types of folk musics and and their instrumentations together. 

The story reflects on some of our own experiences growing up in the Dominican Republic.

The flipbook was published by and when you buy it you get, not only a PDF version but, all the sounds of the instruments, ensembles, narrations, etc. Take advantage of the release price for the rest of the month. 

This process was a family endeavor. Wanda and Astrid recorded the voiceovers in Spanish and English, respectively; I recorded and mixed the audio at our home studio. The percussion instruments were recorded in Dominican Republic at Leo Pimentel's studio, by the one and only Edis Sanchez (el Guru). Edis is an anthropologist and one of the most prominent percussionists of Dominican folk music.

For the end of the book, I took the pre-recorded voices from the original recording of the music (from the album Back Home) and layered all the new percussion recordings on top. 

The book comes in English and Spanish. You can either read/listen to the entire book in one language or flip languages from any page. Super cool!!!

This was a labor or love that also serves as a way to disseminate the knowledge of our Dominican heritage to a new audience. I hope you guys and gals out there will embrace it and show it to the kids around you. 

Blessings to all of you.



Saturday, June 20, 2020


A couple of weeks ago I was honored to be part of a Jazz composers roundtable, organized by the Jazz Education Network. There were a few “older” (meaning established, hehehe) composers: Ryan Middagh, Greg Yasinitsky, Roxy Coss, and myself; and the younger composers, past Young Composer Showcase selectees Phillip Ryan Goss, Annie Booth, and Gabriel Severn.

The hang was great! A lot of insights and sharing. It made me reflect on the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship. 

Everybody needs somebody! All of us have had at some point people who helped us become who we are today.

For artists that relationship is very personal and meaningful because those people who become mentors help develop our artistic personality into the kind of artist and people we are today.

As influences, I could mention every teacher, student, and friend I have had over the years. I’ve learned a lot from so many people but today I want to mention a few souls that changed my musical life and helped me become the musician and person I’m today. Those mentors who helped me see the roads (or helped me paved them to make it possible to walk on them) when I needed it.

When I was beginning my musical studies I had the privilege to study with Sonia de Piña. She was the sub-director at the National Conservatory of Music of Santo Domingo. With her I learned how to read music and basic theory. She was also responsible for taking my hand into the Conservatory, which changed my musical path big time. I went from being only a heavy metal guitar player to becoming interested in other styles of music.At the Conservatory I was into classical guitar, and it was my first time playing jazz, big band jazz with the Conservatory Big Band. I like to call Sonia my “musical Mom.”

While I was doing that, I began working with a phenomenal singer, Junior Rodriguez (another rocker who also transitioned to Latin music). The musical director was Dante Cucurullo. A super musician who became my role model and best friend. Dante a classically trained pianist and composer, opened the doors for my professional career as guitarist/keyboardist. He is responsible for most of what I did in DR as an instrumentalist and I consider him my older brother.

In my quest for more jazz knowledge I met a great pianist/arranger l, who had studied at Dick Grove School of Music, Gustavo Rodríguez. A super kind person who got me deep into the world of Jazz theory and arranging. I remember waiting for him to come home (sometimes for hours, literally) to get that weekly lesson. Gustavo taught me Dick Grove’s methods, which showed me the path to pursue studying directly with Mr. Grove himself. 

Dick Grove (d. 1998) organized my musical thinking. He was one of the most inspiring persons I've known and I have to thank him for so much in my musical development. Grove was a super teacher and musician. I studied the CAP (Composing and Arranging Program) with him and still today, the way I think musically I owe to him.

In my first couple of years in the United States I emailed Fred Sturm (d. 2014). He invited me to come to Lawrence University in Appleton, WI., to take a lesson with him. It was supposed to be a 1 hour thing and $100.00. We ended up staying together for two whole days. He introduced me to everyone there and at the end, did not charge me for the lesson! After that, he checked every chart I wrote and gave me his comments, gave me his scores to study, and became the person who opened the doors for me to do my Master's Degree at MTSU. 

At Eastman, Fred had been the professor of Jamey Simmons, who at this point was the jazz composition professor at MTSU. He introduced me to Jamey who became a very close friend for me and my family. Jamey, a fantastic composer and trumpet player, soon became my next mentor and one of the greatest inspirations for both my personal and musical lives.

Just after graduation from MTSU, in 2008, Jamey and I went to a Jazz Composers' Symposium in Tampa, FL. There I met a person who changed my life in so many ways. Mr. David Caffey. He not only became my mentor, but also my jazz composition professor, friend, and boss at UNC. At the time David was the Director of the School of Music and he opened the doors for me to come to this amazing place to do my doctorate. He also gave me my job as Director of Music Tech at UNC. Now retired, he has been one of the biggest influences in the way I see and approach life and music.

As I have had the chance to be a mentor to so many students myself, I can see the relationship from both sides and appreciate the importance of those people in our lives. I'm looking forward to meeting more people and serve as mentor for them; at the same time I'm eager to meet the person(s) who will be next mentor(s) for myself. 

Everybody needs somebody to help them navigate the life turbulences and, for artists, help them grow and discover their own voice.



Sunday, May 24, 2020



I hope you are staying safe during these crazy times and that you and your family are healthy.
It's been hard for me to keep the blog updated but here I am today.

These last few weeks have been really busy online for me.

Strandberg Guitars
The Latino artists for Strandberg Guitars had a great .Stranded* live Zoom with the one and only Ola Strandberg. It was great sharing with the amazing Lore Paz Ampuero and Koke Benavides (Chile), José Macario (Mexico), and Liam (my son) and I
We had a fantastic conversation, which you can watch at the Strandberg Facebook and Youtube pages (

We own three of these amazing instruments now and love them all!!

Fun Challenge
Just for fun (and responding to a challenge from my friend Scott Burstein's from Little Kids Rock) I took a shot at Iron Maiden's "The Trooper" solo on the Classic Malta Blue (right on the picture above). Since he did the first solo, I took Dave Murray's and it felt really great to play it on a "strat-ish" type of instrument. I had't bent strings in a while, hehehe. Here it is:

Conversations in Isolation
I started a live conversation series online, "Conversations in Isolation" (Conversaciones en Aislamiento). I'm inviting a friend every Thursday to talk about music, life, or whatever else. This has been done through Instagram Live, so far. The first guest was the incredible saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck, and too many others), then we had one of the greatest musicians coming out of the Dominican Republic, Waldo Madera (Ricky Martin, Ricardo Arjona, Juanes, and many, many others). These conversations have been super fun and we are open to questions from the audience. You can watch them on my Instagram and I will upload them to my youtube channel soon.I hope to have alternate between English and Spanish. We hope this helps alleviate the situation the entire world is going through.

Other guests will include many other friends, composers, producers, guitarists, etc. I have some already confirmed that will blow your mind. For next week I'll have the great composer Ron Jones (Star Trek, Family Guy, Fairly Odd Parents, and many others). This one will be on Zoom at the same time (8:00 pm Eastern; 7:00 pm Central; 6:00 pm Mountain; 5:00 pm Pacific). If you are a movie fan or composer, don't miss this one!

Mezclando en Casa (Mixing at Home)
My great friend Allan Leschhorn and I gave a mixing workshop for invited guests on Zoom. Allan is a great musician and one of the best engineers I know. We have worked together since our teens and are still doing things together. Multi Grammy winner, Allan owns a recording studio in Dominican Republic and is the recording and live monitor engineer for Dominican superstar Juan Luis Guerra. The clinic was incredible! Super fun! We had guests from the United States, Spain, Argentina, Chile, and many from the Dominican Republic. Thanks to everyone who attended!!! We hope to keep doing more in the future. 

Frank Gambale Online School
Recently I affiliated with the great Frank Gambale. Frank has been one of my biggest influences andd inspiration for many years and it is an honor to be affiliated to his amazing online school. You can check it out (and get discounted prices on his courses) at: 

Well, that's it for today and I hope I can keep sharing more in the coming weeks. 

Blessings and stay safe,

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

II V I ETUDE - Using a composed idea in a solo

Hi Everyone,

It's been a while. I have been very busy on this side, but here I am...

I've been getting a lot of questions on different topics and I decided to begin a series of videos in which I will cover a plethora of concepts such as jazz theory, music technology, recording and mixing, composition and arranging, etc.

On the first video (watch it here) I use a jazz-oriented idea on a II V I in major with the altered V7 and apply it in the context of jazz fusion. Although in this particular video I don't dive too deep into the theory and nuances of the material, it will give you an idea of how you can use an existing idea and incorporate it into a solo. In subsequent videos I will explain in detail this and many other topics.

Please subscribe to my blog (, my youtube channel, and my Facebook page ( so you can receive notifications when I upload new videos. And if you have any question, don't hesitate to contact me.

You can download the backing track, PDF, and Guitar 7 Pro file here:

Materials for II V I ETUDE 1

I hope you enjoy this first video and can apply these concepts to your own music.


ESTUDIO II V I - Usando una idea compuesta en un solo.

Hola todos,

Me había desaparecido. Ha estado bien ocupado de este lado. Pero aquí de nuevo.

Me han llegado muchas preguntas abarcando diferentes temas y decidí comenzar una serie de videos en los que voy a explorar conceptos como teoría de jazz, tecnologia, grabación y mezcla, composición/arreglo, etc.

En este primer video (bajalo aqui) uso una idea de jazz (II V I en tonalidad mayor pero con el V alterado), aplicada en el contexto de jazz-fusión. Aunque en este video no explico cada detalle con profundidad, les dará una idea de lo que se puede hacer con una idea compuesta de antemano. En otros videos  voy a explicar con más detalle este y muchos otros temas.

Por favor suscribete a mi blog (,
mi pagina de youtube y mi pagina de Facebook ( para que recibas las notificaciones de futuros videos. Y por favor, cualquier pregunta no dudes en contactarme.

Pueden bajar el backing track, un PDF y el archivo de Guitar Pro 7 aqui.

Materiales para II V I ETUDE 1

Espero disfrutes este primer video y lo puedas usar en tu música.


Saturday, January 20, 2018



Next week I'll be at the NAMM Convention in Anaheim, CA with Strandberg Guitars.
Super happy with the opportunity to share my excitement about these amazing and innovative instruments. Also excited to get together with old friends and make new ones.

If you are there, please stop by and say hi.

Hope to see you around.



  Nuestro Primer Libro Infantil, Del Otro Lado de la Calle, Esta Disponible!!! Wanda se inspiró en mi composición "From Across the Stre...