After an extended vacation of travel with family capped off by a bout of the mosquito virus called dengue fever, I arrived back in Cabarete just in time for a long weekend, during which I had the chance to interview pianist Jairo Milanes at a Dominican-Mexican restaurant in Puerto Plata.
Jairo discussed his experiences touring with Juan Luis Guerra (one of the few Dominican musicians to become popular internationally) as well as his current Latin jazz fusion composition projects and his performances with saxophonist, Sandy Gabriel.
Pianist Jairo Milanes shares a book of solo transcriptions with me during our meeting.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, I had the opportunity to travel to Delgerkhaan—a small town, a short five-hour bus ride southwest of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. Despite the short, five-day length of my trip, I was able to capture close to thirty recordings. Additionally, the quality and range of styles I was able to capture was truly impressive. Here are a few of my favorite performances:
I was surprised to find out that there are only a handful of record stores in Belgrade. On most days, you can take a walk into your nearest market and find some used records in amongst other odds and ends. It’s nice to pick up a record while shopping for tomatoes, but there is something great about being surrounded by crates of “to-be-discovered” “new” music.
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In case you missed it, read about the first two days of the DR Jazz Fest here.
Day 3 and 4 of the DR Jazz Festival took place in Cabarete, and in Cabarete, there’s no better place for a concert than the beach! A giant stage was constructed, with a tent to protect at least a fraction of the crowd from the inevitable rain, and so began two exciting days of great music, with plenty of dancing as well. Here’s a recap.
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During the first two weeks of November, I had the opportunity to visit Mongolia’s Tsaatan reindeer herders. After two days of driving we made it to our guide, Puuja’s house. Waking up early the next morning, our small party saddled horses and prepared ourselves for the two-days of riding it would take to reach the Tsaatan. We wound our way through wilting pine forests and across the frozen ground of the northern Mongolian tundra long after the tourist season had ended, with winter well underway.