Duende, a word of Andalusian origin literally meaning goblin or imp, is sometimes described as the indefinable, magical power of creativity that results in a work of art, or simply as soul. Kenneth Tynan used the term duende to describe the understated music of jazz pioneer Miles Davis, and defined it as “…the ability to transmit a profoundly felt emotion with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of restraint.” Duende is a musical value that has inspired all of the members of the quartet…
- Harry Appelman — piano/keyboards
- Josh Schwartzman — bass
- Mark Merella — percussion
- Sam “Seguito” Turner — percussion
The Duende Quartet plays Latin Jazz in the style of Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader and Willie Bobo with a nod to the Blue Note sound of the’60′s. In a unique small group setting Duende Quartet captures the vibe of the jazz combo while using the rhythms of a Cuban conjunto. Duende has a vast repertoire ranging from traditional Cuban songs to modern jazz compositions.
The Duende Quartet has been chosen twice by Jazz at Lincoln Center to tour internationally under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State’s American Music Abroad program. The group was one of six jazz quartets to tour in 2007, and one of ten selected in 2009. Formerly known as the Jazz Ambassadors, this program has hosted such legendary musicians as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie. Duende played concerts and led workshops in India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Taiwan in March 2009, and in Turkey, Albania, Cyprus and Bosnia in February 2007.
… Appelman plays piano with an economical, supple grace and beautifully developed ideas. This is not a fiery Latin-Jazz outing typical of the genre but it has a thoughtfulness that suggests the kind of approach Bill Evans might have taken were he a Latin player.
The result is a satisfying set with pleasurable discoveries throughout. Though the outward fireworks may be muted, the interplay between Merella, Turner and Schwartz, with Appelman’s incisive lines yield the kind of heat that is generated from strong ideas rather than the vacuity that results from blind virtuosity. All in all, this is a very satisfying date and worthy of an enthusiastic recommendation.
— David Kane; Cadence Magazine, July 2008
… The Duende Quartet specializes in small-combo arrangements for piano, bass and percussion that are intimate, interwoven and, thanks to unexpected shifts in meter, delightfully inventive.
… It’s Duke Ellington’s “African Flower,” however, that inspires the most alluring and subtly textured performance: a rhythmically insinuating showcase for bassist Josh Schwartzman, best known for founding the Baltimore-based band Rumba Club, and seasoned percussionists Mark Merella and Sam “Seguito” Turner.
— Mike Joyce; The Washington Post, March 28, 2008
“… happy, soothing, and jumping jazz…”
— Patricia Leslie; The Examiner, June 17, 2009