Pro-Music-News Drums & Percussion

Giovanni Hidalgo honoured at the 19th Puerto Rico Jazz Festival

Master percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo was the highlight of the 19th annual Puerto Rico Jazz Festival 2009. At the finale concert, the festival director, accompanied by Latin legend, Eddie Palmieri, presented Giovanni Hidalgo with an honorary portrait. Giovanni, a veteran of the inaugural Puerto Rico Jazz Festival with five performances under his belt over the past years, was humbled by the gesture and the thunderous applause.
A founding member of the sensational Puerto Rican Latin jazz/folkloric band Batacumbele, Giovanni Hidalgo was new school, the player to watch. He'd absorbed concepts born of Cubans Tata Güines and Changuito and pushed them to new heights. In terms of his stunning technique alone, Giovanni remains one of the greatest.
The mood was electric this year as Giovanni's band performed at the finale concert. The 3000-plus crowd spilled over the confines of the Tito Puente Amphitheater onto adjacent lawns. Giovanni was in fine form on his signature LP Giovanni Palladium Series Congas, spurred on by the intensity of master timbalero, Tito De Gracia who played his signature LP Tito De Gracia Timbales. Then the spotlights drew all eyes to a performer who'd just taken the stage: Giovanni's father, Mañengue, a legend in his own right.
Among the other artists who performed and/or were honored were Pedrito Martinez & Robby Ameen with Conrad Herwig, Little Johnny Rivero & Orlando Vega with Eddie Palmieri, and Marcos Ayala with The Berklee College of Music Band. In addition, Fidel Morales led the jam sessions after the concert, where Paoli Mejias, Gadwin Vargas, Tito De Gracia, Robby Ameen and Memo Acevedo performed.
“It was touching, really beautiful,”enthused LP education coordinator Guillermo “Memo” Acevedo, himself an acclaimed percussionist and recording artist. “To be in San Juan that night was really a privilege—it was unforgettable!”
 Giovanni Hidalgo honoured at Puerto Rico Jazz Festival 2009
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