Butch Morris, Gonzalez brothers, Randy Weston
Ron Scott | 10/13/2011, 11:18 a.m.
In 1968, during his senior year at the New York College of Music, Andy Gonzalez joined Ray Barretto's powerhouse salsa band and later toured with Dizzy Gillespie. Meanwhile, Jerry Gonzalez was off pursuing his own career, playing with the likes of Charlie Palmieri, Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Hilton Ruiz, Celia Cruz, Graciela, Chico O'Farrill, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D'Rivera, Tito Puente, Carlos "Patato" Valdes, Daniel Ponce and Max Roach.
In 1971, Andy Gonzalez joined his brother and signed aboard Eddie Palmieri's renowned salsa band La Perfecta. In 1980, Jerry Gonzalez formed his own band and released a successful album, "Ya Yo Me Cure." Later, in the early '80s, he reunited with his younger brother and together they created Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band (with drummer Steve Berrios)-a conjunto band combining Latin, jazz, rhythm and blues.
The ensemble's first two albums were recorded live at European jazz festivals, "The River is Deep" (1982) in Berlin and "Obatala" (1988) in Zurich, Switzerland. The Fort Apache Band, named for an area in the South Bronx, is a flexible ensemble, numbering as many as 15 members at a time. The band has hosted a number of masters: John Stubblefield, Nicky Marrero, Papo Vazquez, Kenny Kirkland, Sonny Fortune, Steve Turre, the late Jorge Dalto and Milton Cardona, among others. Today, the band remains intact and brothers Andy and Jerry are still pushing the music.
When pianist Randy Weston plays, listeners can hear the music of the Motherland, Africa, the whispers of the ancestors and a rhythmic flow that connects the rustling trees of Africa to the shores of America. His music and words reflect the Black Diaspora.
Weston, the 2011 Guggenheim Fellow for the Creative Arts, will be honored by TRANSART Inc. at the annual Jazz Treasures program on Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rotunda in Brooklyn Borough Hall, located at 209 Joralemon St.
Other awardees are Dr. Robert O'Meally, founder and former director of the Columbia University Center for Jazz Studies, and Charenee Wade, the second-place winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition.
Sharif Abdus Salaam, host of "Jazz Alternatives" on WKCR-FM, is the master of ceremonies. Performances will feature saxophonist Salim Washington, Wade and others.
Tickets are only available online at www.transartinc.org. Admission ranges from $20 to $50. For more information, please call (845) 384-6350.