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Jazz music in Dominican Republic- Punta Cana Live Music bands

Jazz musicians in Dominican Republic, weddings and events

The jazz is a musical genre born in U.S.A. at the beginning of the twenty century by the American black people. This music comes from a mix of influences of blues, ragtime and classic music. The main characteristic of the Jazz is the improvisation and the importance of the rhythm.

Contrary to what people generally think, the jazz is a music to dance and celebrate!

Ideal for a wedding Cocktail hour, a honeymoon romantic dinner, a welcome reception, a public festival, a birthday party, wedding ceremony or wedding reception, any social event...

Let me share my passion with you and discover a bit more about the evolution of the "Jazz", the greats artists of this music, the main instruments and finish by listening some jazz standards performed by the musicians of Punta Cana Live Music.

The evolution of Jazz Music:

Born in United States, the music called Jazz started in the early 20th century. Musically, the origin come from a mix of African and European culture. Sadly, the African slaves were prohibited to use musical instrument so they were singing sad melodies working in the plantation of the South.

From this hard labour, began the "Blues", with its melody scales of five sound called pentatonics plus the famous blue note and its wealth rhythmics.. If you listen a tradicional Blues, you can feel the pain, the oppression or desires of the singer. It 's a emotional music that probably would give you some goose bumps.

During the same years , the second popular jazz style was the Ragtime. Interpreted at the piano, it gets famous with Scott JOPLIN and his "Maple Leaf Rag" in 1899. The main characteristic of this groove is the syncopations of the two hands. Played in high beats-tempo, it s difficult to believe that the tune is performed just by one man...

Following this tend of syncopated music arranged for instrument players, like trumpet, clarinet, trombon, bass and percussion, this music called Dixieland or New Orleans jazz was performed by Marching Band in the south of U.S. Two names to remember, the cornetist Buddy BOLDEN and the pianist Jerry Roll MORTON. They were the pioneer in New Orleans.

In the 20's, emerged the Swing with its "king" named Louis ARMSTRONG. He had this special way to play the trumpet and to sing with his own lay-back phrasing. This manner to groove is the swing, the main difference with all the other kind of music like classic music, rock and roll, reggae, merengue, salsa, bachata, pop, cumbia, cha cha, bolero, bossa nova, house music... About the swing, Louis ARMSTRONG definition was: "If you don't feel it, you'll never know it..."

But until 1933, the prohibition in U.S. push the Jazz and its musicians to play in the illegal place and get a kind of bad reputation. People and the media start to associate this music with clubs, alcohol, drugs, prostitution...

In spite of that, the first record of jazz made by a black musician was "the Kid Ory Original Creole Jazz Band" just before the first album of Bessie SMITH, the famous singer of Blues.

Then Paul NEWMAN and some white Jazz man start to record too and to broadcast this music out of America and arrive in Europe cause as white people, they were allowed to travel .

Good thing is that after the success of this International tour, then in U.S., they begin bit by bit to permit Black musicians to perform in the clubs.

In the 30's, the swing get more and more popular, and get a amount of musicians more important to sound bigger. That s why, the Big Band at this time was the main type of band used. People wanted to dance so arranger and compositor wrote jazz standards for 4 trumpets, 4 trombonse, 5 saxophones, piano, guitar, bass and drums. Competitions were organized with two Big Band in the same room and the winner was the one who get more dancers on the floor.

The famous leader of Big Band was Count BASIE, Duke ELLINGTON, Benny GOODMAN, Glenn MILLER...

In the 40's, some very good musicians improvising solos in those Big Band wanted to go faster and get more musical freedom. Playing more complex harmony, musicians as Charlie PARKER, Bud POWELL, Thelonious MONK, Dizzie GILLESPIE, Clifford BROWN, Max ROACH. create the Bebop Jazz, divorcing with the dance character to a art form...

In this decade, Jazz Men were influenced by the Cuban music and its typical rhythms. "Manteca", "A night in Tunisia"or "On Green Dolphin Street" were born by the meeting between Dizzie GILLESPIE and the Cuban compositor and percussionist, Chano POZO. The Afro-Cuban Jazz.

In the 50's, after few years of nervous energy and tension in Bebop Jazz, the new tendency was calm and smoothness with the new sound: Cool Jazz. Developed first in New York, THE album which represent best this modal Jazz is "Birth of the cool" (1957) recorded by the nonet of Miles DAVIS.

Then lots of West Coast musicians composed songs of Cool Jazz. ( Chet BAKER, Dave BRUBECK, Bill EVANS, Gil EVANS, Stan GETZ)

In the 60's, in reaction to this wave of Cool Jazz, some musicians took the way of the bebop and push the limit of this movement to become the Hard bop. Art BLAKEY (drummer) and the band "Jazz Messenger" with Horace SILVER at the piano and Clifford BROWN at the trumpet was the leaders of Hard Bop music.

In the 70's, still pushing the music at its extremity, Jazz player come up to the "Free Jazz".

Free in the meaning of they could play what they felt free to play... No more regular beat or tempo, no more structure, no more harmony, the musician just react at the notes of the others musicians of the band freely... At the beginning of this new musical experience, the pionniers (as Ornette COLEMAN, John COLTRANE, Cecil TAYLOR, Pharoah SANDERS, Don CHERRY...) were accused to do some Anti-Jazz by the DownBeat magazine...

During all this year of evolution, of course, each trend were still existing and played, so that s why we found also the Dixieland Revival, the Bebop revival, the Afro-Cuban renaissance and others kind of Jazz mixed with others kind of music. ( Afro-Brazilian Jazz, Post Bop, Soul Jazz, Jazz-Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Jazz Funk, Smooth Jazz, Acid Jazz, Nu Jazz, Jazz Rap, Punk Jazz, Jazzcore...)

The famous Dominican Jazz Musicians:

Guarionex Aquino & Sandy Gabriel (Percu & Saxophone)

Michel Camilo (Pianist)

Juan Colón (Saxophonist)

Tavito Vásquez (Saxo)

Félix del Rosario (Saxophone player)

Mario Rivera (Sax Baritone)

Juan Francisco Ordóñez ( Guitarist )

Carolina CAMACHO ( Voice )

Isaac Hernandez ( Guitar )

Gustavo RODRIGUEZ ( Piano )

Carlos MARCELO ( Pianist )

Patricia PEREYRA ( Voice )

Juan Manuel PEREZ ( Piano )

The Jazz stages in Dominican Republic:

The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival:

Probably the biggest Jazz Festival in Dominican Republic. They present live music free concert in five city of this Caribbean Island, Santo Domingo, Santiago, Sosua, Puerto Plata, Cabarete.

Between October and November, since 21 years now, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival with the partnership of the non-profit foundation, FEDUJAZZ, invite greats international Jazz player as David SANCHEZ, Ray BARETTO, Chucho VALDEZ, Isaac HERNANDEZ, Arturo SANDOVAL, John PATITUCCI, Joe LOVANO...

Every year, they find the way to attract us to this social festival.

Noches de Jazz en La Zona Colonial :

The "Noches de Jazz en La Zona" belong to the development program of tourism in the colonial running by the Minister of Tourism. Around the month of May, they organize outdoor public live performance in the stairs on the Conde street. Every Thursday, you will discover others artists playing Jazz, as Ordonez Trio, Joel ROSARIO, Sabrina ESTEPAN, Nicole SANTIAGO, Carolina CAMACHO, Isaac HERNANDEZ Quintet, Ernesto NUNEZ, Javier VARGAS....

Santo Domingo Jazz Festival:

During June and July, this festival take place in the Casa de Teatro where greats Jazzman player meet. Organized by GoDominicanRepublic, and the Minister of Tourism, you will listen in the Colonial Center of Santo Domingo, internationals musicians coming from all around the world.

Claude DIALLO (Suisse) , Au petit bonheur (France), Cri Cri Jazz ( Germany), Emilio MARTINI (Cuba), the Underground (US), and Jazz Big Band from Dominican Republic...

Jazz en la Loma Jazz Festival:

The "Jazz en la Loma Festival" open its doors during December in San Jose de Las Matas... In the Hotel La Mansion, called also the Sajoma Jazz Festival. At the top of the bill, appears name as Chucho VALDEZ, the afro-jazz band "Josean Jacobo & Tumbao", Theymur Phell, Mike STERN, Patricia PEREYRA...

La Espiral 313:

La Espiral 313 is one of the funniest Jazz pub in the historical center of Santo Domingo.

It has got a long variety of music program as Jazz, Traditional dominican music, electronic music, reggae, poetry, movies, a place full of culture.

Every Thursday, they propose the Jazz Like Charley with lots of dominican artists.


Jazz en el este:

Jazz en el este is a cultural movement of Jazz Lovers, with the objective to promote good music in the society like a artistic wave for the people in the East of Dominican Republic, Punta Cana, Veron, Uvero Alto, Miches, Higuey, La Romana.

Every month they find a new place to organize this meeting of passionate musicians and just share together. The Jazz en el este festival would not be possible without the motivation of the excellent pianist, Juan Manuel Perez.

L'Stella Cigar Lounge:

The L'Stella Cigar Lounge is a nice bar where you can enjoy hundreds of type of cigars from everywhere in the world, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras... You will find some Habanos as the Cohibe Behike, Alec Bradley, Arturo Fuente, Vegafina, La Flor Dominicana, Padron... And what best music than Jazz to accompany this kind of cigars degustation. Meet up with the musicians of TONKA every months to appreciate a good night of Jazz & Cigars in the Plaza Marina in Cap Cana.

Jazz Nights at Acropolis:

"Acropolis center" and "Jazz en Dominicana" work in partnership every Wednesday to galvanize the Dominican culture in the Caribbean Island. Located in Santo Domingo, this Jazz festival get a nice program with talented musicians as Oscar MICHELI, Joshy y 4 jazz, Guy FROMETA...

Fiesta Sunset Jazz:

In 2017, "the Fiesta Sunset Jazz" festival celebrated its 8th seasons of proposing awesome jazz music and shows on Fridays during all the year at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel & Casino part of the Palladium Hotel Group in Santo Domingo .

Many artists have participated at this Jazz Festival. Peter NOVELLI, Jordi MASALLES Quartet, TAMBORES, Anthony JEFFERSON, Javier VARGAS, Frank GREEN, Richard PENA, Rafa PAYAN trio, SLY de MOYA de FIESTA, Carlito ESTRADA, Rafelito MIRABAL, Alex DIAZ, Carlos MOTA, Eric LITMAN...

Punta Cana Downtown Jazz Festival:

Created a few years ago, the "Downtown Jazz Festival" is a nice meeting of greats talented Jazz Player in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Right in the middle of the huge commercial center Downtown, this Jazz event will offer you a diversity of international musicians.

(Sly de Moya and the Caribbean Jazz Festival, July MONTE, Joe PEMBERTON Quintet, CAFRA Jazz, CICLO Jazz, Titico CARRION...)

The main instruments of the Dominican Jazz Music:

  • The saxophones:

The saxophone is probably the musical instrument that people get first in mind when they speak about Jazz. The sound of the saxophones is made for this music and became popular at the beginning of the jazz history.

There are four principal saxophones;

The saxo soprano is the smallest one, straight, that most of people mislead with the clarinet...

Compare to the human voice, it will be equivalent to a young girl singing.

Each saxophonist get his preference about the different sax they like to play and in the 20th century, those musicians are the most representative of the sax soprano ( Sidney BECHET, John COLTRANE, Wayne SHORTER, Dave LIEBMAN, Jan GARBAREK, KENNY G., Sandy GABRIEL, Julien PETIT )

The saxo alto is generally the one you will start to practice cause of its shape, weight and mouthpiece size. It would sound as a low woman voice...

Some great artists of this instrument (Charlie PARKER, Cannonball ADDERLEY, Paul DESMOND, Ornette COLEMAN, Eric DOLPHY, David SANDBORN, Eric MARHIENTAL, Tavito VASQUEZ, Juan COLON, Pierre COQ-AMAN)

The saxo tenor is my favourite. A bit bigger than the saxophone alto, the tenor sounds to me the most romantic of those four. The tone is really special! Used in many kind of music like Pop, Latin, Reggae, Soul, Funk, Blues, Disco, Big Band, Bossa Nova, Boleros, Merengue, Salsa,..

( Ben WEBSTER, Lester YOUNG, Dexter GORDON, Stan GETZ, Sonny ROLLINS, John COLTRANE, Mickael BRECKER, Bob BERG, Felix del ROSARIO,Matthieu DURMARQUE)

The saxo baritone is definitively the less used. More expensive, heavier, it was performing mainly in the jazz Big Band, playing the bass in the horns section.

Gerry MULLIGAN, Mario RIVERA , Remi FOX are the famous player of this instrument.

  • The piano:

The piano is a complete instrument born around the year 1700 . He belongs to the family of "percussion" and not "strings"cause he stings are struck by hammers and not plucked. The modern keyboard is composed of 88 keys, 56 are white and 36 are black. That s why the pianist can play a lots of "notes", even if he's got just 10 fingers...

We find two different type of piano ;the Grand Piano, the large one and the upright piano, the one that generally dig better in your living room.

Because of its price and its weight, the modern piano is difficult to move, keyboard player use to play on electronic piano. They also have more option of digital sounds in the amplified piano more exploited in Jazz-Rock, Jazz-Funk, Pop music, and lots of kind of music...


  • The guitar:

The Guitar family is the Strings cause of its 6 strings that characterize it. Depends of what kind of music you would like to practice, you will chose the Acoustic guitar, the Classical guitar or the Electric guitar. for the 2 first one, the sound is create by the vibration of the stings amplified by the wood box. For the electric guitar, to get a sound that you can hear, you need to connect it to an amplifier and a loudspeaker... The main difference with the violin, cello or viola is of course the manner to carry it on and the fret that divide the hollow wooden of the guitar that no exist on the violin.. The guitarist use both hand , one to stum or pluck the string or using a pick, and the other hand to press the string on the fretboard.

(Carlos SANTANA, Freddie GREEN, Django REINHARDT, Bireli LAGRENE, Charlie CHRISTIAN, Antonio Carlos JOBIM, Joao GILGERTO, John McLaughlin, Mike STERN, Kurt ROSENWINKEL..)

  • The voice:

I guess everyone knows how the sound of the voice comes from. Breath in and then breath out pushing your diaphragm which propulse the air under pressure trough your throat, making the vocal chords vibrate producing a sound...

The greats Dominican Singers are Johnny VENTURA, Luis VARGAS, ROSANGELA, Carolina CAMACHO, Patricia PEREYRA, Juan Luis GUERRA, Prince ROYCE, Geovanny POLANCO, Johnny PACHECO, Ramon ORLANDO, Nicky JAM, Romeo SANTOS...

  • The violin:

The violin is a wooden string instrument. It has been use since centuries in the Baroque, Classic, Romantic and Contemporary period. But also fits very well for all kind of Jazz.

In the early 20th, the first jazz violinist noted was Joe VENUTI.

Very popular in the Jazz "manouche"or "Jazz "Gypsy" cause of his melodic beautiful sound that can swing at the rhythm of the guitar. Florin NICULESCU is the best I've ever heard improvising. Stephane GRAPPELLI too...

Performed as well in the Jazz Rock amplified or with a electric violin, like the french violin player Didier LOCKWOOD.

  • The trumpet:

The trumpet appeared around the 15th century and is classified in the "brass" family.

Composed of 3 pistons only with a tube of 1,50 m, the main technique is how to blow and how to breath. Producing the "buzzing" sound with your lips, you will create the vibration blowing through the trumpet playing music. It exist diferent type of Trumpet, the piccolo, the bass, the pocket, the herald and the bugles...

Those are some famous Jazz Trumpet Players; Louis ARMSTRONG, Don CHERRY, Wynston MARSALIS, Chet BAKER, Arturo SANDOVAL, Miles DAVIS, Dizzie GILLESPIE...

  • The Güira and the Tambora moca

The Güira and the Tambora moca is the special touch to the Afro-Dominican Jazz. Usually used for the music Bachata, Merengue, Cumbia, Perico Ripiado, Some saxophonist like Tavito VASQUEZ add this rhytmyc to his normal jazz quartet,and it's sound more than great!

The most famous Dominican Guira player is the one who play with the great singer of merengue, Juan Luis GUERRA, Rafael Martinez GERMAN.

The güira is a metal scrapper. One hand on the metal sheet, and the other scrapping with the stiff brush.

The Tambora Moca is played with two hands too, the left tapping on the goatskin with the hand , the right with a wooden rims.

Those two percussions are the motor of the all band and drive the music straight.

The Punta Cana Live Music jazz bands:

Let's conclude this chapter Jazz in Dominican Republic listen the musicians of Punta Cana Live Music performing, in quartet, trio, duo, or with backing track, jazz standards as "Saint Thomas", "All of me", "The Chicken", "The girl from Ipanema", "Misty", "In the sentimental mood".

Those musicians, fanatic of Jazz music, would love to share their passion at your event everywhere in Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete, Flor de Cabrera, Samana, Las Terrenas, La Romana, Casa de Campo, Alto de Chavon, Higuey, Punta Cana, Bavaro, Uvero Alto, Bahia de las Aguilas, Barahona.


The Tropical Jazz Quartet

The Quartet Traditional Jazz

The Soul and Funk Quartet

The Jazz Trio

Dominican Republic Jazz musicians, Saxophonist, drummer and bass player, Bavaro, Punta Cana

The Duo Jazz Piano/Sax

The Saxos Blues Duo

The saxophonist with jazz backing track

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