Jazz on Sunday

Concert: 3-5 pm
Improvisational Music Workshop: 6-7 pm

The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble

Victor Garcia (trumpet), Stu Mindeman (keys), Joshua Ramos (bass) and Juan Pastor (drums)

Sunday, Oct. 12

The Brink Lounge

701 E. Washington Ave. Madison, WI

CALJE (Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble) is regarded as the new and innovative force on the Latin Jazz scene. With a global sound and ensemble, this band represents Afro-Cuban Jazz, as well as music from all of Latin America. They incorporate traditional Cuban rhythms such as son, guaguanco, and clave negra with modern Jazz harmony. Through this fusion concept, they have explored writing new music based on Argentinian Tango, Dominican Merengue, Puerto Rican Bomba y Plena, Spanish Flamenco and Jamaican Reggae. CALJE delivers captivating performances and high energy in the form of dance grooves. The music is primarily written by co-leaders trumpeter Victor Garcia and pianist Darwin Noguera. This group performs as small as a duo, to a 15 piece orchestra. CALJE has performed and recorded with artists such as Grammy winners Howard Levy from the Bela Fleck Group and Brian Lynch from the Eddie Palmieri group, master percussionist Paoli Mejias and legendary trombonist Steve Turre. They have also given performances and clinics across the midwest and in three cities in the country of Nicaragua. Their debut album “Blueprints” was critically acclaimed, receiving 3 1/2 stars from Downbeat Magazine, as well as other media outlets across the US and abroad.

CALJE made it’s debut by kicking off the “Jazz en Clave” Latin Jazz Festival at the famed Hothouse, alongside international artists such as multi-Grammy winning artist Eddie Palmieri & Dafnis Prieto’s Quintet. Musicians in this band have had the opportunity to share the stage with powerhouse artists such as Tito Puente, Danilo Perez, Paquito D’Rivera, Celia Cruz, Chick Corea, and many others.

“This 15-piece band, playing before a standing-room only crowd at this international music venue, left everyone gasping and wanting more sounds after their near two hour, flawless set.” – Jazz Chicago

Founded in 2006 by Nicaraguan pianist/composer, Darwin Noguera & Mexican trumpeter/composer Victor Garcia, these long-time musical collaborators envisioned an endeavor Latin music that would follow in the innovative footsteps of the pioneering Cuban groups Chucho Valdes’ Irakere, Mario Bauza & His Afro-Cubans, & the Dizzy Gillespie United Nations Orchestra. This dynamic group is continuing the dance and listening legacy in the Latin Jazz genre.

CALJE is involved in educational presentations, varying from elementary to college age students. In a musical and historical interactive environment, they expose students to the diverse repertoire of Latin America, making learning a fun and insightful experience.


Victor Garcia


Victor Garcia has been performing with his group, CALJE, and freelancing in Chicago and beyond for the past 10 years.  He has had the opportunity to play with a multitude of artists from a wide variety of genres, such as Aretha Franklin, Arturo Sandoval, Spoon, Victor Manuelle, Nicholas Payton, La India, The Temptations, Steve Turre, Tito Puente Jr., Paquito d’Rivea, and countless others.  His travels have taken him to Europe, Central America and South America.  In addition, he has recorded dozens of albums, two of which garnered Grammy nominations in 2005 (Angel Melendez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra) and 2008 (Sones de Mexico), and one which was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2007 (Sones de Mexico).  Victor also maintains a busy teaching schedule at the Music Institute of Chicago, Merit School of Music, Loyola University and Roosevelt University.


Stu Mindeman


Stu Mindeman is an active pianist/keyboardist based in Chicago, IL. He spent his formative years in Santiago, Chile, Illinois, and Chicago raised in a home filled with classical music. He started playing piano when he was four years old, and quickly realized that he wanted to pursue a life in music. Stu keeps busy playing a variety of musical styles, including Jazz, Latin Jazz, R&B, Pop, Funk, Salsa, Merengue, Gospel, Hip Hop, among others. He has performed throughout Europe, North/South America, and the Caribbean, with many international and Chicago-based artists, such as Gloria Estefan, Fareed Haque, Rodney Whitaker, Claudio Roditi, John Clayton, Antonio Hart, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, Gary Sinise, Grupo Afinca'o, Matt Ulery, Ricky Luis Porrata and many others. He performed at the 2011 Lotos Jazz Festival in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, the 2011 Hyde Park Jazz Festival, the 2012 Chicago Jazz Festival, and recently the 2013 Iowa City Jazz Festival. He has also played for Chicago's The Second City comedy troupe, musically directing for the touring company and main stage revues. When he is not performing or recording, Stu composes and arranges for numerous performers, churches, and musical acts. You can find Stu performing all over Chicago at such venues as the Green Mill, Andy's Jazz Club, M Lounge, The Chicago Theater, The Jazz Showcase, Schubas, Reggie's, Room 43, ETA Creative Arts, Alhambra Palace, Webster's Wine Bar, Pete Miller's, Jerry's, The Beat Kitchen, The Whistler, Tumbao, and many other great music joints that Chicago has to offer!


Joshua Ramos


Joshua Ramos was born in 1982 in Chicago to a musical family. He first picked up the bass in the seventh grade under the instruction of Bass Player, Margaro Torres (cousin of famed Salsa Pianist/Arranger Edwin Sanchez) who played at his church. Margaro Torres taught and influenced Joshua to play and really kindled his interest in music.  Today, Joshua makes a busy career out of teaching music at various locations and performing. He has been on television numerous times in the United States Europe and Central America.  Music has taken him all over the world. He has toured Taiwan, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago; Lima, Peru; Nicaragua; Moscow, Russia; Kitzbuhl, Austria, New York and the East coast, California and the West coast, The Rocky Mountains, Toronto Canada and Montreal Canada. Joshua keeps busy with The Occidental Brothers, Zara Zaharieva (Wife and Virtuoso Violinist,) Liquid Soul, The Chicago ?Jazz Institute, Ernie Adams, John Santos, Wayne Wallace, Dan Nimmer, Ken Chaney, Carl Allen, Conrad Herwig, Byron Stripling, Dennis Mackrel, Red Holloway, The Awakening,  Liam Teague and Robert Chappel in Panoramic, We Tree,  Life Christian Center worship Team, Victor Garcia and Darwin Noguera's CALJE, Skinny Williams, Samba Mapangala, Darwin Noguera's Evolution Group, Tito Carillo, Andrew Salgado, PowerPlay, Jimmy Bosch, Dave Valentin, pianist Edwin Sanchez, Tim Robbins and countless others.  Joshua has opened for Stevie Wonder, Spyro Gyra and Vernon Reid with Liquid Soul. With the Occidental Bothers band he has performed at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center the Montreal and Toronto Jazz Festivals he has shared the bill with Cindy Blackman, Lonnie Plaxico, Ben Allison Vijay Ayer, Jason Moran, Andrew Byrd.


Juan Pastor


Juan Pastor began studying percussion under the tutelage of Eusebio Sirio “Pititi,” master of Afro-Peruvian percussion. At the Concervatorio Nacional de Lima, he studied classical music for five years. After realizing my interest in jazz, Juan moved to Chicago to study at Northern Illinois University where he received a Bachelor of Music and was part of the top jazz ensemble under the direction of Ronald Carter. In 2013 he received his Masters of Music from DePaul University studying under Dana Hall. Juan has played jazz festivals all over the world, in Europe at the North Sea Jazz Festival, IAJE in New York, The Chicago Jazz Fest, The Lima Jazz Fest, Nicaraguan Jazz Fest and more. In addition, he has had the honor of playing with notable recording artists such as Howard Leavy, Jimmy Heath, Fareed Haque, Patricia Barber, Ryan Cohan, The Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (CALJE), Ian Torres Big Band, Marquis Hill, Victor Garcia, and many others. Currently Juan is an adjunct music faculty member at Benedictine University and a Percussion instructor for the After-School Partnership Program at DePaul University. In 2011, he was commissioned by Elmhurst College to write a piece



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