Juan Alamo Brings A Passion For Percussion In His Homage To Puerto Rico

May 24, 2019

Juan Alamo marries Latin rhythms with classical composition and jazz when he plays and writes music for the marimba.
Credit Courtesy of Juan Alamo

For Juan Álamo, rhythm just comes naturally. He has a passion for percussion that surfaced when he was a little boy growing up in Puerto Rico. Juan parlayed that passion into serious classical study of the marimba, an instrument similar to a xylophone but bigger and with a deeper tone. In his recently-released album “Ruta Panoramica,” Álamo marries the Latin rhythms of his hometown with his classical training and a love of jazz to create a unique fusion sound not typically heard from a marimba. 

Juan Álamo has performed around the world and is a composer and a professor of music at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Host Frank Stasio talks with Álamo, and his band Marimjazzia perform live in studio featuring Steve Anderson on the piano; Brevan Hampden playing congas; and Andy Kleindienst on electric bass.

Marimjazzia performs on June 7 at 8 p.m. at Sharp 9 Gallery Jazz Club in Durham.