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en un ritual de  lenguas • degustan  tierra 

entre sus labios y escupen • invocando la

nostalgia  alucinante del sol  de mediodía 



With JARDINEROS (GARDENERS), HERY PAZ summons two kindred spirits from his diaspora: master percussionist ROMÁN DÍAZ, (also featured on vocals) and veteran drummer FRANCISCO MELA to search beyond the forms and codes of Cuban musical structures by reimagining syncretic, rhythmic and poetic materials into personal improvisational and instrumental practice. Far from ritualism, mysticism and traditional constraints, JARDINEROS is a poetic declaration to freedom, a landscaping of new grounds for uncompromising dialogs among Cuban Improvisers. 

Cuban musicologist Lea Cárdenas elaborates on JARDINEROS: “Approaching this album pretending to listen to what we traditionally understand as Cuban music would be a mistake. The revolutionary nature of the instrumental formats used, the novelty in Paz’s writing to graph the musical content through unconventional notation, the creative freedom that he offers to each of the musicians who accompany  him  on  this  journey,  open  new  stylistic  pathways...”

Paz comments on the music’s origin: “long before elucidating any musical ideas for  this project there was a very concise poem I wrote…


in  a  ritual   of  tongues • they  savor  soil

between  their  lips  &  spit • invoking  the

hallucinating nostalgia  of  the midday  sun




…those words conjured nostalgia from my life back home in what I can only describe as sensorial abstractions. Not quite memories, these are tactile feelings taking root somewhere deep between my imaginarium and reality. My back on a cold cement floor, the brass tasting water of a well, the burning smell of a charcoal pit or the paralyzing lethargy of the high noon heat…                             ...This music is my humble attempt to portrait those feelings and events in all their poetic mystery.”

Featured on drums is Francisco Mela, who has been a frequent and close collaborator of Paz since his arrival on the New York scene. Mela is a favorite amongst jazz’s elite instrumentalists including Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, Chucho Valdez, Cooper Moore, and Willian Parker, to name a few. Mela is a true Cuban original, he has distilled the sounds and intricacies of our music into a consummate improvisational language of his own that dismantles any stylistic barriers.​ Completing the trio is master percussionist Román Díaz, who is a living repository of Afro-Cuban culture initiated by his elders into the ancient African brotherhood of the drum. He is an internationally renowned ambassador of Cuban music, an important Olú Aña or “keeper of the sacred drum” and a great innovator. “Román is a poet in every sense of the word, I’m extremely honored that he wrote “El Real de las Palmas” for me, so I had to find a way to include it in the musical narrative of the album.”

JARDINEROS offers a  recontextualization  of Cuban   popular music, based  on the  use of sounds and  interpretive  resources  belonging to the most experimental musical  styles. It is a return to the roots, the reaffirmation of an identity, of an idiosyncrasy that  is consolidated and preserved  from  memory  and  life  experience... Paz concludes and reflects “It fulfills  a shared  necessity  among Cuban contemporary artists  to  establish  new dialogues to explore  and  expand  our folkloric  constituents  beyond their  traditional form. So, I set out to  create a  flexible  compositional  space, for us much  like  GARDENERS  to  cultivate, nurture  and sustain  that  conversation...”  

 JARDINEROS - Group Pic (Color) (Photo by Kenneth Jimenez).jpg



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