Guagua | pan frito

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Jazz: Latin Jazz World: Caribbean Moods: Instrumental
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pan frito

by Guagua

Guagua's original "psychotropical jazz" blends guitar, piano & horn melodies with tropical Caribbean & Brazilian polyrhythms for a uniquely exuberant and danceable sound.
Genre: Jazz: Latin Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Take Your Time
4:25 $0.99
2. Charanga
4:09 $0.99
3. Round
6:49 $0.99
4. Samba Novo
7:42 $0.99
5. Calypso #1
5:32 $0.99
6. Radio Frijol
5:45 $0.99
7. pan frito
5:06 $0.99
8. La Puesta del Son
5:06 $0.99
9. Calm Storm
4:23 $0.99
10. La Proxima
5:44 $0.99
11. Eastern Sun
6:35 $0.99
12. Open Road
8:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Born at the "Radio Bean," Burlington’s musical incubator/coffee house in the winter of ’04, GUAGUA has at long last recorded twelve original Psychotropical tunes and released their debut CD: “pan frito.”

It was a cold Vermont night in January ’04 when composers Raph Groten and Geoff Kim invited a handful of local musicians to work out some of their original Cuban, Brazilian, and atmospherically inspired compositions in front of the Radio Bean regulars. No charts, no set lists, not even a Real Book was to be seen that night. All we had to go on was our wide diversity of musical knowledge, some half-formed ideas and our ability to communicate with each other verbally and musically.

No one remembers the exact lineup of the original “Conjunto Consolador.” But after those first few experimental gigs, the remaining ensemble was renamed "Conjunto Guagua" with Raph and Geoff on guitar / tres / cavaquinho, John Thompson-Figueroa on bass, Twa Mercer on timbales, Keith Levenson on congas, and Diane Bensel on crucial percussion. The band has since evolved and grown from a half-dozen to a dozen and the name has been compressed to "Guagua," but the oral tradition has continued - nothing is ever written down, but we show up each Tuesday expecting to play something no one has ever heard before.

With the addition of the star-studded Psychotropical Horns - Alex Toth on trumpet, Kal Traver on alto sax, and Dominique Gagne on flute - percussionists Gail Hagenbach and Carla Kevorkian and the piano wizardry of Shane Hardiman, the fully-stoked sound of Guagua quickly started attracting attention outside of Radio Bean. We soon got tired of being asked if we had a CD, and seeing the heads shake, and hearing the “you-guys-should-record-some-of-this-stuff”s, and seeing the Bean patrons holding cell phones up so their significant others could listen in.

So we finally did it ... we laid it down ... here it is ... let us know what you think ...

guagua (gwa’-gwa, wa’-wa) n.(Span.) 1. (Caribbean) bus or multi-passenger van for public transport. 2. (S.Amer.) baby, infant, toddler. 3. (Cuba) percussion instrument made of hollow bamboo, played with sticks.



to write a review

Casey Rea - Seven Days

"... the local jazz album of the year!"
Burlington's "psychotropical" ensemble Guagua have just released the local jazz album of the year. Recorded last winter, Pan Frito is a shining example of the musical talent in these here hills. The 12-member band trades in all-original Latin jazz with strong Caribbean overtones. It's an exuberant sound that's artful and unique.

Led by guitarist Geoff Kim, the group features some of the finest musicians in the Green Mountain jazz community. Many of 'em are far younger than their playing would suggest. Guagua's ranks include trumpeter Alex Toth, saxophonist Annakalmia Traver, pianist Shane Hardiman, guitarist Raphael Groten, conga player Keith Levenson, percussionists Carla Kevorkian and Gail Hagenbach, timbale player Twa Mercer, bassist John Thompson-Figueroa, flutist Dominique Gagne and trombonist Andrew Moroz. Several of these players perform regularly around town in various configurations.

Guagua's seemingly eternal Tuesday-night residency at Burlington's Radio Bean has honed the band's chops to perfection. There's nary a note out of place, even when the music embraces improv. Each song is a treat, loaded with inventive melodies and rhythmic shifts.

Pan Frito has it all, from saucy Brazilian beats to lounge-ready chill-outs. Highlights include the suavely mellow "Samba Nova" and the playfully sly grooves of the title track. In between there's "Calypso #1," which features entrancing percussion and a prominent hook. I detected a Cuban influence in "Radio Frijol." Its minor-key licks recall Batista-era nightclubs and men in white fedoras.

Guagua aren't afraid to take Latin music out on a limb, as "Eastern Sun" demonstrates. The song opens with a haze of wah-wah tones that sound a bit like the intro to Miles Davis' In a Silent Way. Soon, cyclical percussion and an insistent staccato note join the gooey guitar. Horns weave through the mix like pythons as the music swells and recedes. It's surprisingly avant-garde, and remarkably listenable.

The melodies on "Open Road" are unrushed, resulting in a truly graceful piece of music. It's a fantastic close to an album with too many choice moments to recount.

What makes Guagua great is their sense of adventure. It'd be all too easy to serve up reheated bossa; instead, the band offers interesting new textures and melodic combinations, all while honoring tradition. The results are wonderful.

Geordie Van Der Bosch

Pretty good album. Took a chance on it because of the name. I was making an instrument called a guagua, and next thing you know....

A little Latin a little Jazz a little Jam Band. A lot good, not bad!


Fills a void
Miss Shadowfax? Guagua / Pan frito is a good approximation of their Latin side of World music. Neat ensemble with an awesome flute player.


Smooth jazz with a spicy flavor
After recieving a copy in the mail, I hadn't heard much of them, but the first couple tracks really set the tone for this whole album. A worthy effort from what appears to be a first time ensemble. I would like to see a followup to this, as I believe this is a legitimate find from the northeast.