CD REVIEWS

JAZZAMBIA is a Registered Trademark of Paoli Mejías

Released in 2008, JAZZAMBIA is Paoli's third independently produced CD featuring internationally acclaimed musicians Miguel Zenón - Sax, Jaleel Shaw - Sax, Antonio Sánchez - Drums, Tony Escapa - Drums, Luis Perdomo - Piano, Hans Glawischnig - Bass, Paoli Mejías - Percussion, & Chris Cheek - Sax, Christian Nieves - Cuatro / Puerto Rican Guitar, Rafael "Tito" De Gracia - Timbales, Ricardo Pons - Sax, Yan Carlos Artime - Chorus

Promo Video:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhBEjJYuF48


JAZZAMBIA packaging featured in Disc Makers Catalog




MODERN DRUMMER, November 2009
Anyone who plays any type of drum should check out JAZZAMBIA – no fusion album in recent memory has delivered more tantalizing rhythms. Percussionist Paoli Mejías is behind this intense, joyously free Afro-Cuban jazz, with help from soulful bandmates like bassist Hans Glawishnig, pianist Luis Perdomo, and drummers Antonio Sánchez and Tony Escapa. Sanchez’s playing somehow combines total commitment and focus with an embracing looseness and abandon. He toys with the 6/8 time of “Diaspora” alongside the high-flying alto of Miguel Zenón, goes toe to toe with Mejías on “El Tintero, and creates a beautiful 11/8 backdrop for the percussionist on “Links”. Escapa just crushes the tricky nines of “Logos” and creates a perfect montuno for Mejías’s floor-rattling riffs on “Fragment”. Grooving and sparring together, Mejías and the drummers seem to lift each other up a few extra notches. - Robin Tolleson

A historic recording, if only for the depth of the talent involved, featuring some of the best players in the New York scene, including the ever present Hans Glawischnig on bass, Luis Perdomo on piano, Antonio Sanchez and Tony Escapa on drums, Miguel Zenon, Jaleel Shaw, Ricardo Pons and Chris Cheek on saxophones and the leader Mejias on drums; he’s helped on two tunes by Tito De Gracia. And they produce some fierce and intelligent music, as might be expected. It’s searching jazz, flexible, and at this point so much modern jazz has taken on the Spanish tinge that it’s hard to separate this as Latin jazz; it’s just modern, part of the geometry of invention that includes Havana, Puerto Rico, New York and a good part of the rest of the world. Some tunes have tumbaos, like the tag on Jibarology; some don’t. Hard to find a cliché; this is the sound of the modern world. Again, historic.  Highly Recommended.
- Peter Watrous



The group burns from the drop on Zenón's "Diaspora", which moves swiftly along a molten river of bass and percussion, and features blazing solos from Zenón and Perdomo. The title also relates to Mejias' stated goal: to bring attention to the African roots of Latin jazz. Read more



Percussionist Paoli Mejias demonstrates this unique ability on Jazzambia, guiding an exemplary group of jazz musicians through a set that touch upon culture and tradition while exploring new territory. He surrounds himself with outstanding musicians that feel comfortable pushing back and exploring the outer edges of the music with Mejias... Perdomo and Glawischnig serve as perfect collaborators who use their fluent knowledge of modern jazz and wide range of Latin rhythms to walk the boundaries of tradition and exploration with Mejias. Zenón delivers some particularly expressive improvisations that stand out in the album while Sanchez’s flexible sense of modernity swings hard alongside Mejias’ powerful percussion. There’s an essential set of music on Jazzambia that allows Mejias to deliver an essential message about the power of percussion and its importance in the development of the style... - Chip Boaz  Read more


Latin bandleaders these days are making music that becomes simultaneously more modern and more ancient. "Jazzambia," by the Puerto Rican percussionist Paoli Mejías, is the latest proof. It includes several other like-minded musicians, including the pianist Luis Perdomo and the saxophonist Miguel Zenón, and it's exciting to see where it goes.

There are standard structural elements of Afro-Cuban music here — tumbaos and montuno sections — but there are also rhythm strategies that come from various kinds of new jazz that many would say are not Latin at all. (One track, "Diaspora," culminates brilliantly with Mr.Zenón soloing with more free-jazz gusto than he ever seems to use, over the interlocking patterns of two hand drummers.) The point is that jazz was part Latin from the start, and has become only more so. - Ben Ratliff
En su tercera entrega discográfica, el percusionista Paoli Mejías perfecciona una aleación de ritmos atados a las raíces negras del puertorriqueño.

Si se tratara de comparar al percusionista Paoli Mejías con un pintor de renombre, el idóneo sería Salvador Dalí. Y es que la música creada por Mejías, al igual que las obras de Dalí, muestran elementos diferentes cada vez que se toma el tiempo para apreciarlas. Mejías gusta de fusionar ritmos, innovar y mantenerse a la vanguardia. - Gloria Ruiz Kuilan


TOP 20 CDS OF 2008
Ya a la altura de los maximos exponentes de la percusion en el mundo, Paoli Mejias reafirma con esta, su tercera grabacion, por que es reconocido como uno de congueros de mayor peso en el ambito del jazz latino. En esta oportunidad, rinde tributo a sus ancestros africanos, aunque en la pieza Jibarology incorporó el cuatro, magistralmente ejecutado por Christian Nieves. Definitivamente, un trabajo digno en el que prueba su ingenio y creatividad.

- Fundacion Nacional Para La Cultura Popular Puertorriqueña
Paoli does it again!! Driving and progressive Latin Jazz with a Afro-Rican attitude! It made my top 10 for 2008 after the first listening.

- Goyo Pappas, Music critic and writer, moderator of Latin Jazz eGroup
LOS MEJORES 20 DISCOS DE 2008, Nuevo Dia
Con su tercer disco Paoli se establece como uno de los percusionistas más polifacéticos y visionarios del umbral del siglo 21. Su madurez en la selección del repertorio y en el desarrollo de un sonido propio en el jazz son encomiables. Su identidad, por supuesto, descansa en sus fusiones de jazz con bomba y plena. "Jibarology", con Christian Nieves en el cuatro y Miguel Zenón en el saxofón alto, es un manjar por la fusión del aguinaldo con elementos de la improvisación jazzística.

- Jaime Torres Torres
Paoli Mejias’ latest release, Jazzambia, features Miguel Zenon. It is some of the best Latin Jazz to be played here in the USA in years IMHO. You will not be disappointed.

- Street Level Productions Blog
Paoli Mejías y `Jazzambia', Nuevo Dia
Cuán agradable es ver -en este caso, escuchar es la palabra- un concepto que se va precisando, que va adquiriendo contornos cada día mejor dibujados hasta llegar a una expresión más diáfana!  Ese es el caso de `Jazzambia', el tercer CD como líder de Paoli Mejías. En él, el percusionista puertorriqueño retomó las ideas de sus dos discos anteriores -`Mi tambor' y `Transcend'-, las pulió y las llevó a un nuevo nivel de universalidad… Para ello no sólo contó con una banda formidable (que incluye entre otros a los saxofonistas Miguel Zenón, Jaleel Shaw y Ricardo Pons y al pianista Luis Perdomo) sino también con buenas composiciones, algunas de ellas de los propios músicos… `Jazzambia' es música fresca, vital, de esas que mantienen al oyente preguntándose cuál será la próxima sorpresa que traerá. Sirve de clara señal de que Mejías está seriamente comprometido con su arte, con la definición de un concepto propio.

- Rafael Vega Curry

Recorded at Kaleidoscope Sound Studios, NJ

Mixed by Grammy Award Winning Engineer Jon Fausty at Morrisound Studios, FL