The The Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra presents the world premiere of The Palladium Suite by Latin jazz great Ray Santos in a concert entitled “Santos at Seventy-Five” March 27 at 7:30 PM in the Purchase College Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 914-251-6200 or visiting www.artscenter.org.
Purchase College, State University of New York, is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.
The Palladium Suite is a tribute to the famous ballroom on 53rd Street and Broadway in New York City that was the outstanding venue for all the great Latin music and dancing during the late 1940s through the mid 1960s. The composition consists of four parts. Part I, “Millenium III,” is a fast rumba/mambo, in the style of the popular instrumentals of that era, which were used to show off the versatility of the ensemble performances of bands such as Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez. Part II is named “The Hollywood Bolero.” It is a slow tempo type of music using lush, romantic harmonies that gave dancers a chance to get up close and relax after the fast tempo mambo. “Blue Montuno” is the title of Part III. It employs the 12-bar Blues form at the medium tempo that was very popular with dancers doing the cha-cha, which was the rage in the 1950s. As in the previous two sections, there is ample room for ad lib improvisation by the individual soloists in the orchestra. Part IV is aptly named “The Closer.” It is played at the fast tempo that was typical of the last piece played at the end of a half-hour set at The Palladium. As in Part I, it served to let the band and singers shine and, at the same time, set up a challenge to any band that was to follow on the bandstand.
The Palladium Suite was commissioned by the Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra, with support from the New York State Music Fund.
Ray Santos is artist-in-residence at the Purchase College School of the Arts, Conservatory of Music. For years, he was one of Latin Music’s best-kept secrets. That changed when his arrangement of Beautiful Maria of My Soul for the film The Mambo Kings was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. He also penned the arrangements for the tunes Perfidia and Quiereme Mucho, which were sung on the soundtrack by Linda Ronstadt, who then contacted him to arrange and conduct the material for an album of Latin standards. The result of the Ronstadt/Santos collaboration was Frenesi, a tour-de force production that earned the Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album of the Year.
A New York City native and Juilliard graduate, Santos is an accomplished saxophonist and composer. He is also an ace arranger who has penned an extensive output of charts, recorded by two generations of the most influential musical figures in contemporary American and Caribbean music, including Machito, Mario Bauza, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez.
He has contributed to and collaborated on several Grammy award winning albums with such artist as Eddie Palmieri, Paquito D’Rivera and Tito Puente.
He has been artist-in-residence at City College of New York for over 20 years. Among his numerous awards are the Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award and the Bobby Capo Achievement Award.
The concert is supported by the Wachovia Foundation Fund for the School of the Arts and the Westchester Community Foundation.