Born: August 2, 1969 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Trumpeter, vocalist, percussionist and composer Pete Rodriguez has played with some of the best musicians in the world, including many of Latin music’s luminaries, such as Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, La India and Tito Puente, including singing on Puente’s Grammy and Latin Grammy winning album, Mambo Birdland. Pete is the son of Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, a music legend in the Latin music world who gave “Lil’ Pete” the responsibility of directing his 12-piece orchestra while also playing the trumpet and singing. While excelling in the Latin field, Pete also followed his love for jazz, leading him down a path that has allowed him to perform with such high profile bandleaders as Eddie Palmieri, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Chico O’Farrell, and Carlos “Patato” Valdez. He recently toured internationally with the legendary, Grammy-winning, Afro-Cuban jazz bandleader Bebo Valdez.
In 2006, Pete released his debut CD, Mind Trip. Although Pete has been on many recordings as a sideman, this is his first recording with his own jazz group, where he enjoys the opportunity to play his original compositions. Mind Trip has received critical acclaim, garnering the attention of, among others, jazz great Kenny Barron, who says the following about Pete’s playing and compositions on Mind Trip: “He possesses a full rich sound on both trumpet and flugelhorn and his technique is incredible…. [But] it is as a composer that his development is even more amazing. The melodies he writes are full of complex and quirky rhythms, making unusual dips and turns. … Each of the original compositions, of which there are eight, on this CD is a unique entity unto itself, full of surprises and strange twists and turns. However, one can be assured that Mr. Rodriguez does have a full grasp of the history of the jazz tradition. One need only listen to his reading of Mal Waldron’s beautiful ballad ‘Soul Eyes,’ or Herbie Hancock’s tone poem, ‘Dolphin Dance,’ to hear his respect and love for tradition. I, for one, look forward to many more musical statements from this evolving young artist.”
Mind Trip was recently selected as one of six finalists (out of over 1100 submissions) to compete in the Independent Music World Series showcase in Chicago.
Pete was the subject of a spotlight in the Puerto Rican newspaper 'El Nuevo Dia' and chosen by the writer Jaime Torres as one of the hot young musicians on the scene.
Having had a very busy schedule as of late, Rodriguez is also on a very ambitious recording track as he recently released El Alquimista, on his own Conde label. This record is reviewed here at aaj by Woodrow Wilkins.