• In his early twenties, Alfredo Rodriguez came to the United States with a spoken invitation from Quincy Jones.
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    In his early twenties, Alfredo Rodriguez came to the United States with a spoken invitation from Quincy Jones.
    Courtesy of the artist
  • Christie Dashiell performs as part of the Kennedy Center's Discover Series.
    Hide caption
    Christie Dashiell performs as part of the Kennedy Center's Discover Series.
    Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Christie Dashiell, Alfredo Rodriguez On JazzSetWBGO

Christie Dashiell, Alfredo Rodriguez On JazzSet
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Though originally from North Carolina, Christie Dashiell attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and now studies with Peter Eldridge from New York Voices at Manhattan School of Music. No stranger to the Kennedy Center, she has participated in the Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead training program there, and sung with the a cappella choir Afro-Blue from Howard University.

Two summers ago, Dashiell and Afro-Blue made it to fourth place on NBC's The Sing-Off. They impressed everyone with their arrangements of Sam Cooke, Whitney Houston, R. Kelly, Nicki Minaj and whole lot more. When Afro-Blue was eliminated, the singers were gracious and their fans crushed. Some are in the audience for Dashiell's show at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club. As Director of Jazz Kevin Struthers says, her trajectory is going up.

Born in Havana, Alfredo Rodriguez came to the U.S. just four years ago. He was in his early 20s, carrying a suitcase, a sweater, pair of jeans and a spoken invitation from Quincy Jones. That's a powerful endorsement, but it has been in Rodriguez's hands to deliver the music.

From the age of 14, Rodriguez played piano in his father's band on a daily TV show.

"[M]any famous Cuban musicians came through," Rodriguez says. "I was still a kid, but had a chance to perform every day, and write arrangements for all kinds of music: boleros, rock 'n' roll, dance music."

At the same time, he was studying classical piano at a conservatory.

An uncle gave Rodriguez the Köln ConcertKeith Jarrett's extended, improvised, beautifully recorded solo piano concert from Germany. That's when Rodriguez realized what he truly wanted to do: just sit and play.

Sometimes that playing is quiet, as at the beginning of his "El Güije," titled for a goblin-like troll or leprechaun who appears in Cuban art, especially art for children. "Guantanamera" means the girl from Guantánamo, with music by Jose Fernandez Diaz and words by Jose Marti, popularized by José Feliciano and Pete Seeger outside Cuba; it's taken apart and reassembled with extraordinary control and imagination by the Alfredo Rodriguez Trio.

Dashiell Personnel
  • Christie Dashiell, vocals
  • Allyn Johnson, piano
  • Christian Dashiell, bass
  • C.V. Dashiell, drums
Dashiell Set List
  • "Up Jumped Spring" (Hubbard, arr. Christie Dashiell)
  • "How To Love" (Lil Wayne, arr. Dashiell)
  • "Thinking Of You" (Dashiell)

Recorded Dec. 7, 2012

Alfredo Rodriguez Trio Personnel
  • Alfredo Rodriguez, piano
  • Riccard Rodriguez (no relation), bass
  • Henry Cole, drums
Alfredo Rodriguez Trio Set List
  • "El Güije" (A. Rodriguez)
  • "Guantanamera" (Diaz, Marti)

Recorded Nov. 16, 2012

Credits

The Artistic Advisor for Jazz at the Kennedy Center is Jason Moran with Kevin Struthers (Director of Jazz) and Jean Thill (Jazz Coordinator). Recordings by Greg Hartman of the Kennedy Center. Surround Sound mixes by Duke Markos.

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