When thinking of second chances, many memories come to haunt us and remind us of all kinds of half finished business, failed projects, unrequited loves, wrong expectations of one’s ability to fulfill a promise… but isn’t there another side to the coin with which we trade the second chances that come our way: the ones we concede to other people, projects, opportunities; the same way we recognize and embrace second chances given to us, with that same open mind and hope we should allow someone, or something, that longed-for second chance.
Some of the tracks contained in this album are second chances. These are renditions that reflect an evolved approach to melodies and arrangements already done by me in years past. I wrote and recorded Guaji-Rita in the 90s with the late Ray Barretto’s band, New World Spririt, after a friend of the band, Rita, suffered a car accident; I hope Rita, as well as Ray, enjoy this version wherever they might be.
For my second solo album, Foreign Affair, I recorded She Said She Was From Sarajevo inspired by a victim of the Bosnian war who was working at a garment store right across the World Trade Center in New York City. I now wonder how she experienced 9/11! I learned some of the rhythms used in this tune on one of my visits to Yugoslavia.
Coqueteos is a hellish tune from the Colombian highlands, where I am from, and in this, my second rendition, I turned it, into a Joropo, with the help of two of my New York based fellow countrymen, virtuoso harpist Edmar Castañeda and percussionist extraordinaire Samuel Torres. This song is also another Foreign Affair veteran.
As a kid I watched six times the wonderful, and politically very incorrect movie Hatari. The elegant and sensual score, written by Henry Mancini, enchanted and seduced me. Decades later, during my stint with Don Byron’s Music for six Musicians I again fell in love with the title theme, Hatari, the way only Don could play it. Here is my second chance for this tune. While on tour in Chile this January, I was lucky to meet one of my idols of Brazilian music, Joao Bosco. Although I love and play most of his music, I find Bala Con Bala (vocally a tongue-breaker) instrumentally the most appropriate vehicle for improvisation. Almost all members of the band solo here. Obrigado Joao!
Andrea is my homage to my very first mentor in music, my brother Andrea, who I hope will hear this, and all my music, from high above. The rhythm plays with subdivisions of 12 with a 6/8 background. I learned so much from listening to Don Grolnick that I learned that Alone Together was a ballad only long after having played the tune in a devilish fast tempo, the same way he did. To make it even more outlandish, I added a heavy montuno at the end for Samuel to get loose. - I loved my mother in law, Elvia, and for her I wrote A Long Farewell in the last months of her life. Madre, espero que le guste!!!
And then Second Chance which I wrote for my wife Amparo (and she knows why) for all the second chances we have given and received. More than the title of a tune or a record, or all the things that conspired in bringing this musical offering to fruition, this is the story of second chances past and future. I will be thankful every time anew! Hector Martignon
Born in Colombia, Hector Martignon’s solo CDs are metaphors of the diverse influences that have shaped his music, from Baroque polyphony to 21st century avant-garde, Balkan folklore to afro-Cuban, Colombian and Brazilian idioms. Martignon’s current quintet Foreign Affair, featuring saxophonist Xavier Perez, bassist Armando Gola, percussionist Samuel Torres, and drummer Ludwig Afonso, has performed in festivals and clubs in many parts of the world. Officially born at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's famed annual festival The Next Wave, the ensemble has had a remarkable evolution, combining DNA from many cultures, genres and rhythms. Musicians like Eddie Gomez, Jeff Watts, Horacio “Negro” Hernández, Mathew Garrison, John Benitez, Dafnis Prieto, Donny McCaslin have since made their contribution to this new sound of Jazz, culminating in a nomination of Refugee, Martignon’s first ZOHO CD release, for a GRAMMY in 2008 as best Latin Jazz album of the year.
For years, Hector has been one of the most sought-after pianists on New York City’s jazz scene. During his 8 years as pianist, arranger and composer with the late Ray Baretto's various ensembles, Martignon recorded 6 albums, including the Grammy-nominated "My Summertime”. He toured extensively with Paquito D’Rivera (with whom he toured with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), Mongo Santamaría, Gato Barbieri, Steve Turre, Conrad Herwig and Don Byron, who had him record on one of his latest CDs. He has been invited pianist with the bands of greats such as Tito Puente, Mario Bauzá, Chico O’Farrill, Max Roach in his Project America and with Paul Simon, working on his Capeman.
At age 18 Hector recorded with Mikis Theodorakis his epic orchestral work Canto General. Since then he has appeared as performer, arranger, and producer on hundreds of Jazz, Latin Jazz, classical and Pop albums. He performed the piano and wrote all orchestrations for Russian singer-songwriter Vitaly Osmasço’s new album with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra.
While studying classical piano and composition in Europe, he played for Celia Cruz and Ismael Quintana in their European tours, and recorded with Tata Güiness and Arturo Sandoval, at the same time attending seminars of contemporary composition with masters like Gyorgy Ligeti, Luigi Nono and Karl Heinz Stockhausen. He also performed classical recitals in Germany, Italy and his native Colombia, specializing in Bach, Chopin and Debussy. Living in Brazil for a year, Martignon soon became a requested studio musician and worked for star producer Carlinhos Brown.
All songs by Hector Martignon (Hecmart Songs, ASCAP) except as otherwise indicated. All tunes arranged by Hector Martignon. Tracks 2, 4, 7 and 1 recorded at JSM, NYC in June 2007 by Hoover Lee. All other tracks recorded in Bennett Studios, Englewood, NJ, in February 2008 by Dave Kowalski. Mixed and mastered at My Kitchen Studios, NYC, February, 2010. Produced by Hector Martignon. Photography: Jerry Lacay. Package Design: Al Gold. Executive producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.