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More About William Cepeda

William Cepeda is a cultural icon of Puerto Rico.

Known as a cultural icon of Puerto Rico and a four-time Grammy nominee and composer, William Cepeda was born and raised in Loiza, the heart of Puerto Rico’s “Little Africa.”

 

His artistic excellence, authenticity, and advocacy for research and comprehensive documentation of Puerto Rican music, dance and culture have earned him multiple awards, grants,and recognition.

 

In 1992, he revolutionized Latin music with the introduction of Afro-Rican Jazz, an

innovative blend of traditional Puerto Rican roots, folk, dance, progressive jazz, and world music. He is widely credited with innovating and creating the jazz sub-genre: Afro-Rican Jazz.

 

Cepeda’s musical influences include Dizzy Gillespie, Miriam Makeba, Miles Davis, Fela Kuti, and Lester Bowie among others.

 

His ensemble has toured the world and performed at such prestigious jazz festivals as Montreux,
North Sea, and Tabarka and performing arts venues and clubs.

 

A protégé of the Dizzy Gillespie, Cepeda was a member of the United Nations Orchestra. Also,

he has traveled the world and performed with many jazz artists, such as Lester Bowie and his Brass Fantasy, David Murray, James Moody, Steve Turre, Bobby Watson, Miriam Makeba, and Slide Hampton & the Jazz Masters. Also, he is equally known in the Latin music scene and has performed with such legendary figures as Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, Ruben Blades, and Oscar de Leon.

 

In addition to his jazz and world music repertoire, Cepeda’s oeuvre includes Bomba Sinfonica, a

full-length orchestral work for a symphony, opera, choir, and soloists.

 

In 2013, Cepeda was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee College of Music. The same year the Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Festival was dedicated in his honor.

 

Cepeda continues to compose, develop new projects and seek new opportunities

Testimonials

“William Cepeda plays amplified, heavily percussive music buoyed by its rhythmic complexities and its bursts of bright-edged brass playing”.

 

Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

 

"My mouth dropped when I heard these releases, Sporting a perfect melding of Afro-Caribbean music, Latin Jazz, and African rhythms, this duo release by the incomparable William Cepeda is at the head of the 1999 world music class."

Sarah Zupko, Billboard Top 30
 

"...a more progressive aesthetic happening, combining jazz, funk, fusion with Puerto Rican bomba into a unified whole that is eminently danceable and musically electrifying. Highly recommended.”

Michael G. Nastos, CD Review
 

 

"....this is not quite jazz we've heard before, and thank God for that. At least somebody is up there swinging beyond hard-bop nouveau."

Karl Stark, The Philadelphia Inquirer
 

"...a more progressive aesthetic happening, combining jazz, funk, fusion with Puerto Rican bomba into a unified whole that is eminently danceable and musically electrifying. Highly recommended.”

Michael G. Nastos, CD Review
 

This experimental concept goes a step beyond the limits of the music they call latin jazz."

Caetano Caro, El Noticiero Mundial
 

"William Cepeda will take you a step ahead into another world of music...this concept must be heard."

Joe Bless, Root Music Press
 

Musicial Reviews

Amplified Sound

“Combining their inventive sound with a forward-thinking musicality, William Cepeda consistently manage to hit all the right notes. With undeniably unique songs and engaging performances, this is one Musician to keep your eyes (and ears) on.”

Jukebox.com

“I’ve been to a few William Cepeda performances, and it never seizes to amaze me how they perform each song with such passion and enthusiasm, just as if it were the first time they were playing it live.”

Opus.com

William Cepeda and his unique sound make a significant impression with their music. Their performances contain an acoustic maturity and contemporary creativity that exudes confidence and originality.”