Dayramir Gonzalez's latest album The Grand Concourse is defined by the voyage of a young artist from Havana, whose creation of musical works shines a light on the gems of traditional Cuban sentiments, contemporary Afro-Cuban jazz and the vanguard sounds of New York City. In his through-composed song "Situaciones en 12/8", the compulsive bass motif is the engine that drives the layering melodies, while "Sencillez" is a modern commentary on Cuban musical history of the late 19th century. A Tribute to Buena Vista Social Club, Mozart, and John Coltrane mixed with Dayramir's spices.
“This is an ambitious project that presents me not only as a pianist or improviser, but also as a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and bandleader. For me, making an album is always about creating a full and complete piece of art, where I have a palette of different colors to choose from and can paint all those sounds that float in my head."
The 5-track EP dazzles as an expressive showcase of the energetic Dayramir’s immense talent and sweeping musical vision. An internationally praised pianist and composer, (“Gonzalez’s bravado-infused pianism naturally extends the brilliant legacy of Cuban jazz pianists..,” — LA Weekly) he’s been hailed for his “monster technique” and prolific creative range which melds rock, pop, jazz and Afro-Cuban stylings.
The gifted artist dons multiple hats on The Grand Concourse EP, enthusiastically succeeding as composer, arranger, orchestrator, bandleader, and more leading a dynamic array of musical assemblages, including string quartet, full orchestra, solo piano and Afro Cuban jazz septet. Whether it’s the appealing textures of the jazz-flecked “Smiling,” which Dayramir says “is a harmonious blend of a lot of the sonic elements of the album,” or the more hypnotic “Situaciones en 12/8,” with its fundamental groove evolving from West African musical tradition, or “Iyesa Con Miel,” dedicated to Oshun, one of the most powerful deities’ of the Yoruba pantheon, Dayramir sets his compass for a modern and timeless confluence of sound.
Dayramir’s journey may have begun in Cuba, but there’s been no shortage of mileposts lighting his diverse path. He was accepted into Cuba’s famed National High School For the Arts (ENA) and while still in school, was recruited by Cuban legend Giraldo Piloto to join Klimax, helping to shape the sound of that renowned group. In 2005 he won first place in Havana’s JoJazz festival in the composition category, winning a record deal with Cuba’s national label Colibri. He recorded his first album, released in Cuba in 2007, titled Habana enTRANCE, displaying his skills as artist, bandleader, and composer. The album would go on to win three Cubadisco awards, considered the Grammys of Cuba.
Dayramir was accepted into Havana’s prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) where he strengthened his burgeoning composition skills under the tutelage of master Juan Pinera. Next, he was awarded a musical scholarship to Boston’s revered Berklee College of Music in the U.S., becoming the first Cuban national to receive Berklee’s coveted full Presidential Scholarship. In 2012, he was called “a rising star in the Latin jazz world,” by Carnegie Hall and personally selected by Chucho Valdes to represent the young generation of Cuban Jazz at Carnegie Hall’s “Voices of Latin America.”
Dayramir graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2013 and received the Wayne Shorter award for Most Outstanding Composer of the Year upon graduation
The vibrant The Grand Concourse EP embraces the pulse and mystique of New York City, as well as the allure of early 20th century Cuban sonic leanings and the cultural roots and myths of sensually fused Yoruba religious elements (Cuban-centric Yoruba beliefs identify both natural and spiritual characteristics as part of its foundation) elevated by Dayramir’s 21st century precision.