Victor Rendón, Director
Of Mexican-American descent and originally from Robstown, Texas is an educator, author, and veteran of the New York City Latin music scene. He studied intensively for many years with Jimmy Ramirez, Dr. Rosemary Small, Louie Bauzo, John Almendra, "Little" Ray Romero, Frankie Malabe, Mike Collazo Sr., Pablo Rosario, Changuito, Roberto Borrell, John Amira, Jerome Goldschmidt, Morris “Arnie” Lang, as well as jazz drummers Paul Guerrero, Henry Okstel, & Charli Persip among others.
Formerly co-leader of the Rodríguez/Rendón Latin Jazz Orchestra, Blue Mambo, and Co-Tim-Bó, he now leads the Bronx Conexión Latin Jazz Big Band. He has worked as a side man with Mongo Santamaria, Chico O'Farrill, Carlos "Patato" Valdés, Ray Santos Orchestra, Grupo Caribe, Latin Jazz Coalition, The "New" Xavier Cugat Orchestra, Grupo Latin Vibe, Los Mas Valientes, Rudy Calzado, and many others.
As an author/transcriber, his work has appeared in Modern Drummer, Percussive Notes, LP Newsletter, Music in Motion Films, DCI Music Video, Drum! Magazine, and Warner Bros. Publications. He is author of The Art of Playing Timbales distributed by Alfred Publishing. For several years, Victor also published his own semi-annual magazine, Latin Percussionist.
Rendón, who holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas and a Master’s degree in education from Hunter College, has had a lengthy career teaching instrumental music and Latin percussion in the New York City Public Schools, and at the Boy's Harbor Performing Arts Center.
Currently, he is an Adjunct Lecturer at Lehman College in the Bronx where he gives instruction in Latin percussion and drumset. He also co-directs the Lehman College Latin Jazz Ensemble with his long-time colleague, Armando Rodriguez. In addition, he also directs the Lehman College Percussion Ensemble. A successful clinician, he conducts workshops in Latin percussion styles. He has conducted clinics/workshops for the Department of Education in New York City, PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention), KOSA-NYC, Global Praise at Princeton University, and the Eddie Ming Drum School in Bermuda, Texas State University, Indiana State University, among other events. Mr. Rendón is an LP, Sabian, Vic Firth, and Evans performing artist.
Trombonist and composer Rick Faulkner has made a reputation for himself on the New York City jazz and world music scenes for his rich, expansive sound, no holds barred playing style and infectious, soulful compositions.
As a freelancer, he has worked with artists ranging from Max Roach and David Murray to Haitian stars Tabou Combo, and has played everything from salsa and Dixieland to the avant-garde. He was a member of the legendary ska band the Toasters, touring internationally and recording three CDs. Along with Fred Reiter he is co-founder of the critically-acclaimed New York Ska Jazz Ensemble.
In addition to recording with NYSJE and the Toasters, Rick has appeared on the CDs of artists such as folk singer Sloan Wainwright, and Haitian band Skah-Shah #1. His arrangements have been played by Michael Brecker and John Scofield, and he has contributed many compositions to CDs by NYSJE, the Toasters, and Los Mas Valientes. His compositions have been featured on the Lifetime television show The Place, and the soundtrack of Ash Baron Cohen's 1997 cult feature film Bang.
In the world music realm, Rick has performed with klezmer veterans Eve Sicular and Metropolitan Klezmer, internationally-acclaimed Italian percussionist and folklorist Alessandra Belloni, salsa legends Raulín Rosendo, Ramón Rodríguez, Orlando Marín, Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers, and 1999 Grammy Award nominee Juan Carlos Formell.
Is a full-time musician in the New York City circuit. He has played and recorded with many salsa bands such as La India, Brenda K. Starr and Ray Sepulveda, Machito Jr & Tito Rodriguez Jr, Tito Puente Jr (Big Three Orq.). Aside from the salsa scene, he also plays trumpet in Broadway shows. He currently performs in "Hair Spray", "Cabaret" and "Man of La Mancha".
Alto saxophonist Debra Kreisberg performs, composes, arranges and records with the NYC-based Latin jazz ensemble Los Mas Valientes, the award-winning klezmer bands Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos, and leads the East Harlem Trio and The Highliners, two brand-new jazz projects dedicated to showcasing her original voice as a player and composer.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music with an MM in jazz studies from Manhattan School of Music, Debra has performed with Natalie Merchant, the Rochester Philharmonic, Hazmat Modine, jazz guitarist Sheryl Bailey and has toured in the U.S., Canada and in Europe.
Her playing and compositions have been heard on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN Worldbeat, SiriusXM Radio, Showtime's The L Word, WBGO, WKCR and WAMC Northeast Public Radio. An equally committed educator, Debra serves on the faculty of 92nd Street Y School of Music, Bronx House School of Performing Arts, and for eight years served as Managing Director of Educational Outreach in 92Y's School of the Arts, developing an implementing arts programming for New York City public schools.
Brooklyn-born flutist Dr. Jessica Valiente holds a B.A. in music from Barnard College in conjunction with Manhattan School of Music, an M.A. in music performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College, CUNY) and a D.M.A. in music performance from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is a 2014-2015 recipient of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation on charanga entitled: “Siento una Flauta: Improvisational Idiom, Style, and Performance Practice of Charanga Flutists in New York from 1960 to 2000.”
A conservatory-trained classical musician, she began to expand into jazz improvisation and studies of traditional musics from all over the world about 10 years into her classical performance career. Her musical interests reflect her family's mosaic heritage, including African-American traditional and popular styles, music of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and indigenous music of both North and South America. She specializes in Afro-Cuban and other Latin styles, Brazilian choro, and straight-ahead jazz, and performs on traditional Native American style courtship flutes and the Andean quena as a soloist.
Her debut in the Latin music scene came when she took over the flute chair in the conjunto of legendary mambo/pachanga-era bandleader, Orlando Marín, while also frequently performing with the critically-acclaimed bilingual Spanish/English theater company, Teatro Pregones.
During these years, she also maintained her position in the world of early music (her first love), performing on recorders and renaissance flute with the internationally-renowned bilingual Italian/English commedia dell'arte troupe, I Giullari di Piazza.
Today, Dr. Valiente is known primarily as the musical director of Los Más Valientes, the salsa and Latin jazz ensemble that she has been directing since 1995. Together, she and her band have produced and released three CDs on the Laughing Buddha label, and one on the 706 Music label, all of which have received wide critical acclaim. She also performs on flute and piccolo with the Brazilian choro ensemble, Choro Down Neck, while staying in touch with her classical music roots, as flutist with the chamber ensemble Trio Non Sequitur, recorderist and baroque flutist with the Fieldstone Early Music Ensemble, and principal flutist with The Colour of Music Festival Orchestra. She has had a long career as a private teacher, and has taught music at Brooklyn College, John Jay College, Baruch College, University of Bridgeport, New School University, Mercy College, and the John J. Cali School of Music of Montclair State University.
Born in the Bronx, Mr. Mannozzi has had a long and fruitful career in music. During the 1970's and 80's, he recorded several "classic" albums with Típica 73, Los Kimbos and Conjunto Libre.
In addition, he has worked with Nelson Gonzalez, The New Swing Sextet, and Mambo Negro. Joe is also a prolific arranger having written arrangements for the Bronx Horns and many other groups in the NYC area.
GRAMMY NOMINATED Percussionist Wilson "Chembo" Corniel studied music at The Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in New York City, Pastore Music in New Jersey, and also attended La Escuela National de Arte (ENA) in Havana, Cuba in 1997 and 1999 under the direction of Chucho Valdez.
Chembo is a member of the faculty at Purchase College and also teaches percussion privately. Chembo had the pleasure of working/touring and or recording with many artists such as Chucho Valdes, Larry Harlow, Tito Puente, Machito, Celia Cruz, Grady Tate, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hilton Ruiz, Dave Valentin, Willie Colon, Angela Bofill, Steve Wilson, Ray Vega, Buddy Montogmery, Bob Baldwin, Chico Freeman and many more.
Chembo now leads his own Latin Jazz quintet "Grupo Chaworo" since October 2001 and also started his record company "Chemboro Records, Inc." in 2004. Chembo Corniel has landed a nomination from the 52nd NARAS GRAMMY AWARDS for the cd "Things I Wanted To Do" for "BEST LATIN JAZZ ALBUM" 2010. His latest 2012 cd "Afro Blue Monk" with invited guests: 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Award recipient Jimmy Owens, Ileana Santamaria and featuring Elio Villafranca on this cd is getting great reviews around the world.
Chembo Corniel had been endorsing Latin Percussion (LP) products since 1982; he also endorses REMO Heads, Vic Firth Sticks and Sabian Cymbals.