Pacific Mambo Orchestra
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2014 GRAMMY® Winner the Pacific Mambo Orchestra (a.k.a. the PMO) is a 20 piece, San Francisco based musical group leading the rebirth of the Latin Big band Sound. The PMO uses the traditions of the classic mambo‐craze orchestras of the 1950s to deliver their original music and clever, modern arrangements of hit songs. Currently the only fully active Latin Big Band on the West Coast of the United States, this elite group of the Bay Area's finest musicians performs in both English and Spanish (French and Portuguese selections are also available).
The PMO is directed by Mexican‐born pianist Christian Tumalan and German‐born trumpeter Steffen Kuehn, each one a highly skilled and experienced artist in their own right. The band's instrumentation consists of four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, piano, bass, timbales, congas, bongos and two lead singers, the lovely Ms. Alexa Morales and Armando Cordoba. Powered by a sensational percussion section featuring Venezuelan timbalero Omar Ledezma Jr., Mexican conguero Javier Cabanillas and Peruvian bongo expert Braulio Barrera, the band also showcases savvy improvisers forged in the region’s most celebrated Latin bands.
PMO’s sizzling, self‐titled, 2014 Best Tropical Latin Album GRAMMY® award winning debut record honors the sounds of the great Latin Big Bands of the 1940s through 1960s, including Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez, while infusing them with an intoxicating new energy. Richly textured arrangements flow through the entire production, with exquisite playing by ace musicians. With a repertoire of mostly original scores, the selections move in a frenetic pace, pulsing with the sounds, rhythms and beats that only a true #BigBand is capable of producing.
Their GRAMMY® award crowned the PMO's first national tour of Performing Art Centers in the US. The tour featured Tito Puente Jr. and was received with great acclaim by fans and critics alike. Their musical numbers spanned many Latin genres ‐‐ Salsa, Mambo, Latin Jazz, Cha Cha Cha ‐‐ along with a fusion of sounds that incorporated more modern genres (R&B, Hip Hop). The show also pays tribute to the pioneers of the classic mambo orchestras, all while paving the way to a bold new sound designed to reach the next generation of #BigBand listeners.
PMO was also voted as the Best Band of the “2014 Best of the Bay” in the San Francisco Guardian Reader's Poll. This Best of the Bay insert coincided with the last copy ever of the 48 year old newspaper and the issue has become a collectors item.
About the Pacific Mambo Orchestra's GRAMMY® Award winning, self‐titled debut album:
This sizzling debut may be attributed to the hard work, passion and determination of visionary bandleaders Tumalan and Kuehn, who founded the group three years ago with the aspiration of growing PMO into the most active Latin Big Band in the nation. Once they achieved their goal, they embarked on a six‐month grassroots campaign to finance their first recording, seeking support from aficionados via local clubs and the internet. And the fans came through.
The resulting compilation is the first project of its kind to emerge from the San Francisco Latin scene and a unique, welcome contribution to the music world. Tumalan and Kuehn not only produced the album, but also performed, composed, and wrote the music and lyrics for many of the songs. One of their biggest accomplishments was gathering the impressive roster of international, award‐winning talent that appears on the album. Together, band members and contributors bring forth decades of collective experience playing with a variety of musical greats, from Dizzy Gillespie, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Tito Puente, to Art Garfunkel, Blood Sweat and Tears, Jerry Garcia and Mariah Carey. The resulting tracks showcase fresh songwriting, inspired arrangements, clever improvisations, and superlative vocals.