Behind the Music of Edsel Gomez
Edsel Gomez is today one of the premier Latin Jazz pianists in the world. This is his musical journey.
PUERTO RICAN ROOTS
Born in Puerto Rico, he began piano studies at age five and played with salsa bands since his pre-teen years. He grew up in a musical environment that allowed him to master Afro-Caribbean rhythms in depth, working since childhood with an incredible array of Latin music artists.
BOSTON MUSIC STUDIES
At the age of 17, Edsel moved to Boston, Massachusetts to learn more about jazz. A Berklee College of Music alumnus class of ’85, Edsel was his graduating class' recipient of the Count Basie Award for Outstanding Musicianship during his senior year.
TEN YEARS IN BRAZIL
Edsel lived in Brazil from 1986 to 1996, where he studied Brazilian music extensively and worked with several Brazilian icons. Gomez’s personal approach to fusing jazz with Latin, African and Brazilian music gives him a unique personality and musical voice. He recorded many albums while in Brazil, the most popular ones being: 1. "Celebrating Chico Buarque de Hollanda" (solo album); 2. "America" (duo album with Arismar do Espirito Santo)
NEW YORK-BASED SINCE 1997
Since relocating to New York in 1997, he has been featured in several Grammy nominated as well as Grammy winning recordings. Cubist Music, his own US debut recording was nominated for a Grammy Award and a Jazz Journalists Association Award. He arranged, directed and played in Dee Dee Bridgewater’s Grammy winning recording “Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959), To Billie with Love from Dee Dee". Gomez has collaborated with Dee Dee Bridgewater as pianist/arranger/musical director/composer, traveling around the world for over 14 years, as well as collaborated, recorded and toured with Jack DeJohnette, Don Byron, Brian Lynch, Eddie Palmieri among several others.
AFRICAN PROJECT IN MALI
Edsel worked with a 14-man team of musicians from Mali, Africa for the "Red Earth: A Malian Journey" album as Dee Dee Bridgewater's pianist, arranger and co-composer. The album, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, involved rehearsing and recording with the said team in Mali and another African team in France. The ensemble took the music of this new album around the world, touring for 3 years.
KOREA. Edsel had a three-term residence in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea, as Artist in Residence at The Timber House, Park Hyatt Seoul hotel from 2014-2015.
PHILIPPINES. In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, after a research study collaboration with the Philippine Heritage Library, the Ayala Museum included Edsel in their line up for two seasons (2014 and 2016), where he featured the “Edsel Gomez World Fusion Band”, showcasing the fusion of Philippine traditional and tribal music with jazz and afro-caribbean music as well as musical influences from South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
INDIA. Edsel's long-time fascination with Indian culture led him to a self-imposed pilgrimage to several cities in India for his 50th birthday and which deepened his admiration for their music and culture, as reflected in his album "Road to Udaipur". While in Mumbai, he recorded with Bollywood superstar Shankar Mahadevan, who also showed him around the city.
Edsel was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. He lives in New York City with his Filipina wife, Eileen Sison (founder and artistic director of Escola de Samba de Manila). His eldest son, physicist Dr. Daniel Gomez, PhD. is a fellow with the MIT/Harvard Medical Research Team at Martinos Center, MassGen Hospital in Boston. His youngest son Dennis Gomez, a Russian Literature graduate from the University of São Paulo and a composer/classical pianist, is involved in the Composition Program at Escola de Musica do Estado de São Paolo (EMESP Tom Jobim).
(see Discography for the roster of his album and track recordings)