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Andrés Prado's British-Peruvian Jazz Quartet[]

Saturday 27 September, 2008 at the Latin Palace, 146 Camberwell Road, London SE5 ORR. Organised by Peruap, This document may be the output of several authors. Check "History" tab to locate authorship data.


Music is the most fluid of the cultural genes and influences [1] and London was dancing to Latin rhythms in the 1920/30's long before Londoners were even aware of Latin American writers, artists, architects, ceramicists, film directors or a whole new array of creativity transmitted via TV and now internet.

The most potent form of cultural mixing comes in the processes of “transculturation” and here Jazz has a record [2] second to none: its modern form took off where Black America met -- pretty much for the first time on a basis of anything resembling equality -- with White America.

So it is appropriate that one of the ten compositions performed was named Chincha. Chincha was the area of Peru to which many black Afro-Peruvian families came to live in the period following emancipation (or escaped to prior to that?) and has been the power-house of musica costena (ao) revival of the last few decades

This article is not a “critical review”. It cannot be. Because my wife and I are such passionate fans of what from today we can call the genre of British Latin (Peruvian) Jazz** and in particular what Andrés Prado's British-Peruvian Jazz Quartet so eloquently achieved on Saturday night (27/9/08). But also because this appears in Minkapedia which first gets distributed as an education column in Minkanews – where you are probably reading this. So the article aims to be educational without being didactic.

The music[]

The quartet played ten pieces under the direction of Andres Prado and ranged from an twelve bar blues to three pieces with direct roots in Peruvian culture. These were titled: Paracas desert, Chincha and Amazonas. Paracas is inspired by the serene beauty of the Ica desert, the startling designs (particularly in weavings) of the ancient Paracas people and the shimmering colours of the landscape.

Chincha (mentioned above - click on arrow to access YouTube video V2hovHdqdjw, Andres Prado playing a theme dedicated to Chincha. This is included to give an idea of the music, played solo - it is not a recording of the Latin Palace, London concert, which was by the Quartet.) is a tribute to Julio "Chocolate" Algendones[3] - the great Peruvian cajon and congas player - who is another source of influence for Andres. Amazonas is a tribute to the indigenous people of the Amazon (principally the Loreto, Amazonas and Ucayali departments of Peru).

See the Andres Prado website for information generally about his music: There are several other clips on YouTube (Google YouTube. Search: Andres Prado) of which two are included (embedded) below. None in our opinion capture the special magic of Saturday: the combination of players was magnificent and included some of London's top Jazz performers - Steve Waterman (Trumpet), Mario Castronari (Bass), David Barry (Drums) and Andres Prado (Guitar / Director 27/9/08 / Composer); three of the ten pieces specifically referenced Peru - Chincha, Paracas and Amazonas; location, ambience, acoustics and attendance could all have been demoralising but the struggle against the karaoke in the adjoining bar was . . . cathartic . . .

Andres Prado interviewed[]


This Peruvian television interview is included in this article because it is by the doyenne of the music progamme presenters in Lima. At this stage the clip is in Spanish, but - perhaps a reader-editor can provide a translation. The clip was added to YouTube December 21, 2007.

The tenor of the music A friend compared Andres Prado to Juan Diego Florez - both Peruvians by birth - and remarked on the difference between the audience for Opera (and even operetta) and Jazz. Opera performs in grand opera houses often with grand state subsidies and Jazz - well, you often hear it in the smokey back-rooms of pubs. BothJuan Diego Florez and Andres Prado have become ambassadors for Peruvian culture. They have embraced "non-indigenous" genres and given them the "Peruvian touch". If you doubt it listen to JDF's "Christmas huayno" on the same page: you can click and listen to it and to Prado's pieces reviewed here. It is also said that JDF and AP share a "bel canto" style. Bel canto is defined as a particularly mellifluous interpretation: flowing with sweetness or honey; melodious, musical, dulcet, harmonious. This is clear if you listen to the recordings of JDF on the academia page. His voice in the higher male register, the works he sings, the operatic tradition, even the tastes of his fan club all reinforce the "bel canto" tendency. However in the case of the guitar, "bel canto" is less easy to reproduce even if that were the intention. The plucking (as opposed to the bowing) of a stringed instrument produces a "stoccato" non-continuous sound and so it is by fast-flowing fingerwork over the jazz sequencies and chord structures and (newer electronic devices) that the musician finds one way to invoke in the listener a "bel canto" feeling. Andres Prado achieves this effect - intentionally or unintentionally - remarkably well.

Coltrane (OXRsYn2iTIA&hl=en&fs=1)

EmbedVideo received the bad id "OXRsYn2iTIA&hl=en&fs=1" for the service "youtube".

In this clip, Peruvian guitarist Andrés Prado leads his quintet at the Artists' Quarter in Saint Paul, MN. He is playing with with Peter Schimke (piano), Pete Whitman (sax), Kevin Washington (drums), Jeff Bailey (bass). "Mr. Coltrane" by Andrés Prado. Recorded July 14, 2007. One of the tags is "bebop". Coltrane demonstrates that Jazz is "the highest form of individual expression in music". The clip is also a tribute to Coltrane himself - one of the great influences in Andres Prado's music. Other jazz musicians whose music has inspired AP include Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) and Thelonious Sphere Monk (October 10, 1917-February 17, 1982)

The Musicians[]

Andres Prado

Andres went to primary and secondary school in Lima, Peru. In Europe his talent perhaps would have been recognised outside his family and friends at an earlier age and he would have been sent packing to a specialist music school of the Yehudi Menuhin variety. But in Lima there were not (and I believe are still not) any such schools. However Andres comes from a musical family which has its roots in the “deep south” of Peru in the town and music of Arequipa where one of the most traditional and typical genres of music was that of the “Yaravi”. His grandmother was gifted as an exponent of this music and brought the family to Lima where Andres's mother taught him classical piano. On leaving school Andres entered the National Conservatoire (Academy) of Music and studied classical guitar (the playing of and composition for which Peru has a distinguished tradition going back to vice-regal days). After that Paris for one year. (see the Latin American – Paris artistic connection . .) At this point Andres Prado reasseses his musical development and goes back to South America to attend the Escuela de Musica Popular in Avellaneda, Buenos Aires before, in 2001, moving to London to do a Masters in Jazz at the Trinity College of Music, where Steve Waterman was his tutor.

London's top Jazz performers - Steve Waterman (Trumpet), Mario Castronari (Bass), David Barry (Drums) played with Andres Prado (Guitar / Director 27/9/08 / Composer). The apologies of this column (which goes out "internet-wide" to Peruvians, Latin Americans and others) that these artists have not been given the space here for an appreciation of their compositions etc. (Add further information - this is an OCE document: open collaborative editing).


(ao): accents omitted for fear of corrupting text when transferring into the Minkanews email page

  1. Is there such a thing as a "cultural gene"? See the debate about memes and the meme. In brief it is claimed / explained by Dawkins and others that a meme (pronounced /miːm/) consists of any idea or behavior that can pass from one person to another by learning or imitation. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, gestures, practices, fashions, habits, songs, and dances. "Memes propagate themselves and can move through the cultural sociosphere in a manner similar to the contagious behavior of a virus." The analogy of course can be over-extended. Why does the music of Shakira "spread like a virus" and Jazz remains a more specialist "contagion", especially - or perhaps, even - in this part of London (Latin Palace, between Vauxhall and Camberwell).
  2. apiywi: a pun if you want it
  3. ”Chocolate" Algendones, great percussionist, a specialist in the cajon. Founding member of the group Perú Negro, a member of Matalaché and Peru Jazz. He accompanied Chabuca Granda on percussion. Although mentioned in [1] the Afro-Peruvian page of Wikipedia, sadly his own page remains unedited at this date (30/09/08).