Most contemporary jazz bands are influenced by Latin music much the same way as a Lincoln Towncar is influenced by racing technology. You'd be hard pressed to trace the roots. Not so with Ritmo Junction; their songs are based on authentic Cuban rhythms.
Using these roots as a launching pad, Ritmo Junction stretches the boundaries between Afro-Cuban, jazz, and popular music. It is not unusual to find recording artists who combine any two of these styles: Afro-Cuban jazz, Latin pop, or pop jazz. What is unique about Ritmo Junction is their skillful and unorthodox combination of all three.
The three founding members don't deny their roots in American suburbia. But instead of playing in a garage rock band achieving the latest sound, these young musicians dig deeper. It is this passion to reach beyond the status quo that truly defines Ritmo Junction.
At most jazz concerts, the performers appear to be on a pedestal above the audience. The audience is supposed to be impressed with the virtuosity and emotional expression of the artist - but impressed at a distance.
The same way Ritmo Junction bridges the musical styles of jazz, Afro-Cuban, and pop music, the group bridges the performance gap with their audiences. It is not unusual to find a table tent explaining the role of clave in Latin music at a Ritmo Junction club date. You might see audience members on stage learning to play percussion and dancing; or you might get an explanation and demonstration of traditional Cuban rumba.
Exposing these nuances to audiences enables them to appreciate and enjoy the show more. This is why Ritmo Junction continually has packed houses - even in clubs more associated with rock or other vocally based bands.
Ritmo Junction's unique combination of musical elements has been captured on two discs: ritmojunction and suburban descarga.
Both discs feature a core 6 piece formation supported by the Habañero Horns. Read more about these discs here.
Warning: Ritmo Junction is not a trio. The band is directed by the trio of Rob Teegarden on guitar; Stuart Ridgway on piano; and Chris Webster on drums. The group performs as a five to nine piece band which includes such special guests as Santana percussionist Gali Sanchez, Spyro Gyra bassist Scott Ambush, and saxophonist Peter Fraize. The band is often accompanied by their Habañero Horn section.