Grupo Jazz Tumbao is a septet dedicated to the performance of original Latin Jazz, Bebop latin-style, and classic compositions from the masters of Cuban and Nuyorican Jazz. If you've ever heard the young tenor giant David Sánchez, or Jerry Gonzalez and Fort Apache, you'll know where Grupo Jazz Tumbao is coming from. Of course, they can't forget the Dizzy Gillespie - Chano Pozo experiments of the 1940's that originally defined this great style. Grupo Jazz Tumbao seems to be one of the few groups west of New York playing with this perspective. Its members are all accomplished musicians on the Jazz and Latin music scenes in Vancouver, Canada, and have travelled and studied extensively to perfect their craft.
Grupo Jazz Tumbao was formed in January 1997 by, bassist/composer Allan Johnston and trombonist/composer Brian Harding. They'd been playing together in several jazz and latin groups, and had both been serious students of the music (both having spent time in Puerto Rico and Cuba). Finding they had a similar musical vision, and spurred by a deadline for submission to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival the following week, they called up a few good friends who were also well known on the local music scene.
Together, they formed a group whose primary purpose would be the performance of our own original compositions. True to their Jazz roots, their music is a blend of improvisation and clave, as approached by such artists such as David Sanchez and Jerry Gonzalez, et al. As it turns out, their entry to the 1997 Jazz Festival was accepted, and they've played to large crowds at every Festival since, including opening gigs for Cuba's legendary Orquesta Aragón, and Eliades Ochoa of 'Buena Vista Social Club' fame.
It was at the 1998 festival that Downbeat Critic Eugene Holley Jr. asked them "Where's your CD?!!!". Spurred on by his enthusiasm, that winter they began their first recording, "¿Qué Bolá?" Since its release, "¿Qué Bolá?" has been receiving great reviews in the media, including Latin Beat Magazine (September, 2001), the French periodical "Jazz Magazine" (Paris, January 2001), in Coda Magazine (November/December 2000), and on Latin Music web sites such as oasissalsero.com, jazzbuffalo.com, latinjazznet.com, and picadillo.com. It has been played on radio in Canada, the U.S., Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela, and on Radio Havana Cuba.