Foreign Affair at the NUYORICAN POETS CAFE

Like every 3rd Thursday of the month for the last 4 years, on January 20th the incredible FOREIGN AFFAIR will be performing music from both it’s (2009, 2011 Grammy nominated-) CDs at the premier venue of Manhattan’s lower East side, the venerable, 35 years-old NUYORICAN POETS CAFE, where most of the experimental/avant-garde Latin poetry, theater and music of the roaring 70s (80s, 90s and 2000s for that matter) originated. It’s walls are decorated with the latest art from some the best Latin artists in NYC. It’s worth going just to SEE the place, and then, with this January weather, who doesn’t want to get warm and cozy with award-winning music? Musicians of all corners of NYC come and sit in and some intrepid dancers even dare to show their best steps… come and join us!!!

Jazz for the XXI century…

Some reviews Hector’s latest CD, SECOND CHANCE, (nominated for a 2011 GRAMMY) and REFUGEE

“…Martignon’s witty conception… pairs tunes that sequentially bookend each other. Time shifts, brisk turnarounds and bounding rhythms flash by with… dry bravado…it’s a likable mix. Martignon solos with crisp invention, and breathily sings his heartfelt “Observatory”…DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE

“The incredible pianist Hector Martignon has released many top-level recordings since his days as a sideman with Ray Barretto, but Second Chance signifies a look back while searching for his future direction. Many of these compositions are revisits of previous albums with different personnel, emphasizing the horns of saxophonist Xavier Perez and trumpeter John Walsh, giving them more of a jazz rather than Latin jazz feel. While his Colombian and South American roots are very much present in the music, not to mention his personal virtuosity, Martignon seems ready to make a move toward composed, modern neo-bop as evidenced on at least half of this effort. It’s the hopped-up version of “Alone Together” at the end of the CD — with acknowledged influence of the late keyboardist Don Grolnick — that gives rise to this contention. His acoustic keyboard is a bit under the radar in the mix except when he solos, but tracks like Joao Bosco’s bubbling and rumbling modal samba “Bala Con Bala” (also featuring vibraphonist Tim Collins) and the heavier “Andrea” from 6/8 in 4/4 time, are closer to his identity as standouts. A soulful, romantic approach is heard, as well as a simmering danzon, slow seductive guajira, or funky commercial side. Fellow Colombian-born hand percussionist Samuel Torres (check out his efforts as a leader) is a big part of the band, while Edmar Castaneda (harp) and Vinny Valentino (guitar) make cameo appearances. This is a recording to savor, definitely listen to more than once, and keep in your collection, especially if you have the original versions of these finely crafted pieces of gold, so you can hear how they have evolved and acquired a new sheen.”  ALLMUSIC.COM review by Michael G. Nastos




Nominated for a 2011 GRAMMY (Best Latin Jazz Album)

Colombian-born jazz pianist Hector Martignon firmly believes in second chances in life; whether as a form of redemption or renewal, they serve as important new opportunities. On his second ZOHO release, Second Chance presents an exciting blend of Latin-flavored music, drawing on influences ranging from Brazilian and Colombian idioms to elements of Afro-Cuban rhythms, in a vibrant frame of Latin jazz. Penned for wife Amparo, Second Chance has many meanings, the from personal to the second chances we all have in our lives to embrace opportunities that address past issues. As such, some of the pieces on this album reflect, as the pianist states “an evolved approach to melodies and arrangements already done by me in years past.”In the late’ 90s, the pianist recorded with percussionist Ray Barretto’s band, and a score he wrote for one of those occasions is renewed here, giving “Guaji-Rita” a second wind, its slow burning arrangement making it one of the set’s major highlights.

Other delicious pieces given new twists are “She Said She Was From Sarajevo,” and “Coqueteos,” both taken from Martignon’s second solo album, Foreign Affair (Candid 2000)—the latter an especially spicy number from the Colombian highlands that features saxophonist Xavier Perez and fellow countryman Edmar Castaneda, on Columbian harp. Martignon is exceptionally pronounced here, demonstrating his more than ample chops and why he’s a Grammy-nominated artist. For this recording the pianist is ably accompanied by his core Foreign Affair quintet which, aside from Perez, also includes bassist Armando Gola, drummer Ludwig Afonso and percussionist Samuel Torres.
The music is further enlivened by the addition of vibraphonist Tim Collins, guitarist Vinny Valentino and trumpeter/flugelhornist John Walsh. The lively, bouncy opener, “Bala Con Bala,” features solos from most of the band—including guests Collins, Valentino and Walsh—on the most instrumentally challenging piece of the set. As a child, Martignon was so taken by the 1962 movie Hatari! that he watched it six times. Seduced by Henry Manicini’s sensual score, the pianist gives the movie’s theme a second reading, with a light and beautiful rendition that also features some tasteful percussion accompaniment.
The are many sparks on this album. Written as a ballad, the closing up-tempo standard “Alone Together” finds the pianist running his fingers along the keys and ending on a brash Cuban montuno and syncopated piano vamp, also allowing Torres to shine at the song’s end.
Spectacular, wonderful and shoulder-moving are all words that don’t seem adequate in describing Second Chance,; this is clearly an exceptional session of Latin and Brazilian shaded jazz, sure to demand far more than a second spin. (From an ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM review)


Nominated for a 2009 GRAMMY (Best Latin Jazz Album)

In May of 2008, ZOHO records released Hector Martignon’s fourth solo CD, REFUGEE, featuring four of the world’s best bassists ( Eddie Gomez, Richard Bona, John Benitez and Matthew Garrison) plus four of the best drummers (Jeff “Tain” Watts, Willard Dyson, Horacio “Negro” Hernandez and Dafnis Prieto) along with great invited guests (Kenny Barron, Mark Whitfield, Sammy Figueroa, Edgardo Miranda, Roberto Quintero and others) all in this, FOREIGN AFFAIR’s collection of original compositions and arrangements of beautiful standards. It was subsequently nominated for a GRAMMY 2009.


Learn to play salsa music on the piano with this guide that includes instructions on playing a variety of music, including traditional Cuban music and more modern Puerto Rican and New York styles.
Includes book and CD.
Instructions on how to play various forms of salsa from traditional Cuban music to the more modern Puerto Rican and New York stylesInformation on rhythmic patterns of salsa and how to apply them to the piano
Book provides historical, geographical and cultural background information; CD includes more than 50 tracks with piano examples and a full salsa band percussion section


Besides being the pianist and co-leader, Hector arranged most of the music for this spectacular crossover CD, with music by Mozart, Chopin, Piazzola, Ellington and Bowling. The CD imediately hit the JAZZ-CHARTS.

Hector and Joe are currently working on a second CD, BACH’S SECRET FILES, dedicated to the music of J.S. Bach, but also featuring the latest hits of Mendelsohn, Ravel, Puccini, Debussy and Satie. It is slated to be released in April.