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Pollen by Yoser Rodriguez

Pollen Yoser Rodriguez (Lulaworld Records, 2016) Pollen is Cuban-born, Toronto musician Yoser Rodriguez’ first solo project bridging the worlds of pop, world and jazz, with songs exploring the immigrant experience in Canada, environmental issues, love and friendship. Following in the footsteps of fellow Cuban Canadian, Juno and Latin Grammy-winner Alex Cuba, Rodriguez is part of the new generation of genre-defying Cuban singer-songwriters.

Not merely ‘straight ahead’ music with Cuban motifs, but idiomatically composed music deeply influenced by the Afro-Caribbean musical ethos…..[the music] stretches and expresses the idiom in new ways. — Latin Jazz Net

Featuring Rodriguez’ vocals and unrivalled bass playing, Pollen is a rich and sinuous journey with Brazilian, African, Trinidadian, Cuban, funk and soul influences. Co-produced by pianist Jeremy Ledbetter, the album’s singular musical vision draws on the talents of some of Canada’s finest players and vocalists and points to the exploding Latin/world scene in Toronto, Ontario.

Four of Canada’s most accomplished world jazz drummers, Chendy León (Cuba), Marito Marquez (Portugal), Amhed Mitchel (Cuba) and Maninho Costa (Brazil) join Peruvian-born percussionist Luis Orbegoso to construct the enchanting rhythmic diversity of the recording, with additional vocals provided by fellow Cubano, Adonis Puentes and Venezuelan singer and composer Eliana Cuevas. The Cuban contingent on the recording also includes powerhouse trumpeter Alexis Baro, electric guitarist Elmer Ferrer and fellow bassist Roberto Riverón.

Yoser Rodríguez was a popular bass player on Havana’s salsa and jazz scenes before moving to Canada over a decade ago and has worked with Jane Bunnett, Hilario Durán, Jeremy, Jesse Cook, Alex Cuba and Adonis Puentes. He is well-known as bassist for the Lula All Stars, Canefire and Alexis Baro.

This is the fourth release by the Juno-winning Toronto world label, Lulaworld Records, a joint project of Toronto’s primary world music venue Lula Lounge and the not-for-profit, Lula Music and Arts Centre. Also on the label are Lula All Stars’ “Salsa de la buena,” The Heavyweights’ “Brasstronomical” and Quique Escamilla’s “500 years of night” (Juno winner for best world music album 2015).

Pollen was produced with support from the Ontario Arts, Toronto Arts Council and The Canada Council for the Arts.

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