An up and coming musician making waves in the world of Latin Music will be playing in East Boston to close out the city’s Sixth Annual Tito Puente Latin Music Series–a two month celebration of Latin music and rhythms across Boston.
Gregorio Uribe and his 15-piece group, Gregorio Uribe y Su Orquesta, which harkens back to traditional Colombian bands with large horn and rhythm sections will be playing on Thursday, August 5 at the East Boston Greenway Caboose, 144 Marginal Street, East Boston at 7 p.m.
Even though Gregorio wasn’t born in a family of musicians, anyone that grew up next to him knows that he was brought up in an atmosphere of joy, music and dance, and unconditional support. From his first drum set lessons at the age of 9, until his most recent concerts, his parents and his sister, the artist Verónica Uribe, have always been an essential part of his life.
During his early school years he began forming Rock bands where he would play drums and interpret his first songs. The fact that he was still watching cartoons and he hadn’t even had his first real girlfriend did not stop him from writing songs about tragic love stories and experiences which he hadn’t lived yet.
Some years later he began a new stage where he learned the basics of Vallenato music, thanks to a friend who instilled in him the love for Colombian music and thanks to an old accordion he was able to borrow. Ironically, it was during the time he was living in Australia where he learned to play the accordion by transcribing the songs of Rafael Orozco and Alejo Durán.
Finally, in his last years of High School he became the drummer for Mauricio y Palo de Agua (Latin Grammy Awards nominee) and he won a scholarship to enter Berklee College of Music in Boston.
However, he postponed entering the school in order to venture out around South America. This six-month trip consisted of three friends, three hammocks and a couple of instruments that they took with them in order to make a living. After having performed in the streets of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, the three travelers went back home full of fascinating stories and experiences.
Immediately after this, he began his studies at Berklee where he emphasized in drum set performance and arranging.
At this point another stage of his musical life began. New styles and new names appeared, as well as new instruments and new compositions. He became interested in learning how to arrange in the “Big Band” style and at the same time his interest in folklore and Colombian music remerged, especially for that of the Caribbean coast.
During the four years that Gregorio was in Berklee, he participated in Jazz ensembles, presented clinics on Colombian music, and performed in Salsa bands, musicals, and Rock groups. He also performed with the legendary Ruben Blades, with Colombia’s renowned jazz musician Antonio Arnedo, and he opened the concert for Aterciopelados with the band Pop Filter.
In addition, he opened for Colombian artists Jean Carlos Centeno and Emiliano Zuleta, he became part of the Colombian folk band Achuira, he performed at the Kennedy Center, his compositions were interpreted by the Berklee String Orchestra, he performed with the Colombian dance company Bajucol and he received the Steve Gadd Scholarship from Zildian Cymbals. Finally he graduated from Berklee in May 2007.
After being involved in different musical settings, he decided to put himself in front of the stage and he started his own Big Band. Here he combined the line-up used in the older Colombian bands, such as those bands of Lucho Bermúdez and Pacho Galán, with a fresh and contemporary sound where influences of different styles can be heard.
With 15 musicians on the stage, (3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 4 saxes and the rhythm section) and his unique on-stage charisma Gregorio Uribe y Su Orquesta fills any place where it performs with a great vibe due to its combination of energetic rhythms and subtle harmonies.
Currently Uribe is based in Boston and his music keeps getting the attention of the New England crowd, where his work has been known for some years.
He is now performing in New York, New Jersey and Miami so that more people can enjoy the unique experience of hearing his music live.
The Tito Puente Latin Music Series presented by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s ParkARTS program, sponsored by Bank of America, in partnership with Berklee College of Music, Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, and Goya.