Diego Urcola's new record, Viva, features the Grammy nominated trumpeter leading an all-star lineup. "I wanted to put together my dream band," said Urcola. The core group of Edward Simon, Avishai Cohen, Antonio Sanchez, and Pernel Saturnino are joined by guests, Paquito d'Rivera, Jimmy Heath, Dave Samuels and Conrad Herwig. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for Paquito," Urcola says. "He gave me my first big break, and I got to meet a lot of people through him, including Dave, with whom I've been working in the Caribbean Jazz Project for the last three years." Heath was Urcola's advisor for his master's degree at CUNY/City College-Queens College and later an employer in his big band and quintet, while Herwig is a friend via the United Nations Orchestra.
Viva features four Urcola originals; two from fellow Argentine composer/big bandleader Guillermo Klein; a pair from another Argentine composer and one of Urcola's best friends, Juan Raffo; a piece by Heath, and the Astor Piazzola classic, "Adios Nonino," a sublime melody the bandoneon master wrote for his father. "I love this tune," says Urcola. "I wrote this arrangement a few years ago for a concert I did with Paquito."
On Viva, a sensibility of experimentation is vibrantly apparent throughout. So too is Urcola's aim to integrate his homeland's voice into the jazz idiom. "I like to bring the tango flavor from my country into the mix," he says, then adds, "But foremost I'm a jazz musician."