Photo : DR
One of the most gifted pianists of the new Cuban generation. After years of tours around the world with artists such as Buika, Chucho Valdés, Irakere, Isaac Delgado… or playing in numerous festivals with his quartet, the son of famous conductor Ricardo Gonzalez, former director of the famed Orquesta de Música Moderna de Pinar del Rio from the 60s, has created “The Cuban Express” – a modern and unique Big Band.
Introduced to the piano since he was 8 in Cuba, Iván “Melon” Lewis was first spotted by the great Issac Delgado and will be among the key musicians of the eponymous band between 1995 and 1998. Lewis is one of the first to develop the timbao technique to make it the heart of his music. When you add extra notes with your left hand, the timbao playing creates instantly identifiable melodies that bassist Alain Pérez and Lewis himself will take to the highest level of sophistication so far. Lewis emigrated to Spain in the early 2000s, shuffled from ups and downs to day jobs before being able to get his first piano in old Europe. His meeting with Concha Buika in 2007 will be decisive, an anchor point of experiments influenced by flamenco and copla, two archetypal Iberian styles.
Melon’s latest project is the Cuban Swing Express, which was formed after years of touring with various artists. The Cuban Swing Express is composed of 10 of the most talented Cuban musicians living in Europe. The band combines a mix of traditional and new sounds around a repertoire mixing compositions by Perez Prado, Benny Moré, Ernesto Lecuona, themes and arrangements by Herbie Hancock, songs by Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones. The Cuban Swing Express, a machine to take you away … far away.
Ivan “Melón” Lewis – Piano
Fernando Hurtado – Trumpet
Frank Mayea – Trumpet
Geandelaxis Bell – Trombone
Segundo Mijares – Tenor Saxophone
Roque Martínez – Alto saxophone, flute
José Atero – Guitar
Daniel Martinez – Bass
Juan Vieira – Congas
Yuvisney Aguilar – Timpani
Daniel Morales – Drums