The Cubop City Big Band is known as the most prominent European Latin orchestra of the past three decades. With their innovative interpretations and arrangements of the Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz repertoire, the orchestra brings the rich cultural heritage of this music to life. In 'El Gran Concierto', the orchestra presents the best of their repertoire that includes music by Machito, Beny Moré, Tito Rodriguez, Tito Puente and many more.
Under the leadership of founder and drummer Lucas van Merwijk, the orchestra has become an institution and has been an important factor in Latin music in Europe for years. During their lively and spectacular live performances, they show how the tradition of New York mambo music continues to inspire and connect.
The orchestra has worked with a large number of prominent Latin musicians, including Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, Edy Martínez, Andy González (Libre, Tito Puente), Armando Peraza (Santana), Luis Conte, Nelson González (Cachao, Gloria Estefan, Paul Simon), Edmar Castañeda and Roberto Quintero. Yma America, the charismatic singer from Venezuela, has been the regular singer of the orchestra since 1995.
The Cubop City Big Band is more than just a group of talented musicians. They are a testament to the rich cultural history of Latin jazz and mambo. Their dedication to authenticity and innovation in their music allows them to preserve the traditions of the past while also pushing the boundaries of the genre.
Through their performances, they not only entertain audiences but also provide a connection to the past and a glimpse into the vibrant culture of Latin America. By embracing their heritage and showcasing it through their music, they are contributing to the preservation and celebration of this important art form.
In a world that often values convenience and homogenization, the Cubop City Big Band stands out as a beacon of authenticity and cultural pride. Their music is a reminder of the beauty and richness of diversity, and the importance of preserving and honoring our cultural roots.
Since 1995, the Cubop City Big Band has been a leading force in the international salsa and Latin jazz scene. Founded by Lucas van Merwijk, the orchestra took its name from the famous New York club where artists such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, and Chano Pozo performed and helped to create the genre of Cubop. With eight albums featuring music by influential Latin musicians such as Machito, Beny Moré, Arsenio Rodriguez, Tito Puente, Grupo Afrocuba, and Tito Rodriguez, the Cubop City Big Band is one of the most respected salsa and Latin jazz groups in Europe. In fact, their CDs are so popular in South America that they are often illegally copied there. The band is made up of musicians from the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Panama, Germany, the United States, and Venezuela. Over the years, they have collaborated with notable figures in the Latin music world, including Alfredo 'Chocolate' Armenteros, Edy Martinez, Andy Gonzalez, Armando Peraza, Luis Conte, Nelson Gonzales, Edmar Castañeda, and Roberto Quintero. The band has had numerous hits on Latin radio stations in South America and the United States, and their album Moré and More was named the second-best Latin album of 1998 by the New York Latin Beat magazine. The band has also performed on three tours of South America and four times at the North Sea Jazz Festival.
•1995 Lucas van Merwijk starts CUBOP CITY BIG BAND •1995 CD recording ‘the Machito Project‘ CUBOP CITY BIG BAND •1996 Cubop City Big Band tour with Chocolate Armenteros •1996 North Sea Jazz festival Cubop City Big Band •1997 Cubop City Big Band recording ‘Moré and More’ •1997 Concerts Cubop City Big Band with Edy Martinez •1998 Tour Dutch Antilles with the Cubop City Big Band •1998 nr 2 Best Latin Album in Latin Beat Magazine •1999 Album ‘Live in the Hague’ Cubop City Big Band on Tam Tam Records •1999 ‘Mission Impossible‘ Tour Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Curaçao & Aruba •2000 Concert with Luis Conte, Raul Rekov, Armando Peraza. •2001 Cubop City Big Band Torres y Salsa festival France •2002 Cubop City Big Band cd 'Arsenio' on Tam Tam Records •2002 Cubop City Big Band concerts with tresséro Nelson Gonzales •2003 North Sea Jazz festival Cubop City Big Band •2004 Cubop City Big Band Theatre Tour 'The Mambo Kings' with Bob Fosko •2005 Theatre tour Cubop City Big Band ‘Tribute to Afro Cuba’ 10 year anniversary with Leonardo Amuedo •2005 Theatre tour Cubop City Big Band ‘Latin Vocal Explosion’ with Izaline Calister & Lilian Vieira •2006 Caribean tour Cubop City Big Band to Bonaire & Curaçao •2006 North Sea Jazz festival Cubop City Big Band •2006 Live album‘Latin Vocal Explosion’ with Izaline Calister & Lilian Vieira •2007 Tour to Colombia, Surinam, Curaçao, Aruba •2008 Tribute to Tito Puente with Andy Gonzalez •2010 Album release Que Sensación! •2010 Otro Mundo Musica Venezolana with Roberto Quintero 2010 •2011 Otro Mundo Colombia with Edmar Castañeda 2011 •2012 Otro Mundo ‘Uruguay’ met Beatriz Aguiar, José Lopretti, José Perez 2012 •2013 Cubop City Big band Concerts Dias Latinos •2014 Cubop City Big Band Kingdom Concert in presence of King Willem Alexander & Queen Maxima •2015 Cubop City Big Band Tierra Viento y Fuego concert tour •2016 Cubop City Big Band Star Earth Wind & Fire Latino album release •2017 Theatre Tour Earth Wind & Fire Latino •2018 Theatre Tour Earth Wind & Fire Latino •2019 Shanghai Jazz Festival (CN) •2021 Cubop City Big Band 25 years tour
•2022 Salsa Antyana project met Randal Corsen en Dibo Duran •2022 Cubop City Big Band album release 'El Inolvidable' Tam Tam Records •2022 Cubop City Big Band 25 years tourn
Line Up •Drums & Timbales: Lucas van Merwijk •Bongo: Marco Toro •Conga: Juan Bulu Viloria •Piano: Marc Bischoff •Baby Bass & Electric Bass: Samuel Ruiz •Trumpet: Loet van der Lee •Trumpet: Oscar 'Chucky' Cordero •Trumpet: Joe Rivera •Trumpet: Erik Weldkamp •Trombone: David Rothschild •Trombone: Ilja Reijngoud •Trombone: Frans Cornelissen •Bass Trombone: Martin van den Berg •Alto Sax: Rolf Delfos •Alto Sax: Miguel Boelens •Tenor Sax: Felipe Castro •Tenor Sax: Wouter Schueler •Baritone Sax & Flute: Gerrit Jan Binkhorst •Lead Vocals: Yma America •Lead Vocals: Alberto Caicedo
Projects for theatre •The Mambo Kings Theatre Tour •Tribute To Afro Cuba Concert Tour •Latin Vocal Explosion Theatre Tour •Latin Guitar Explosion Theatre Tour •Latin Diva’s Theatre Tour •Tribute To Tito Puente Theatre Tour •Tierra Viento y Fuego! The Latin Side of Earth Wind and Fire •Salsa Antyana project met Randal Corsen en Dibo Duran
Musical Theme Project Otro Mundo •Otro Mundo Musica Venezolana with Roberto Quintero 2010 •Otro Mundo Colombia with Edmar Castañeda 2011 •Otro Mundo ‘Uruguay’ met Beatriz Aguiar, José Lopretti, José Perez 2012
Festivals and Tours •North Sea Jazz Festival (NL) 1996, 2002, 2006, 2022 •Toros y Salsa Festival (FR) •Cubop City Big Band tour with Chocolate Armentero (NL) •Curaçao KLM Jazz Festival (CU) •Aruba Heineken Jazz (AR) •Bonaire Jazz Festival (BO) •St Maarten Jazz Festival •Strand Feesten (BE) •Den Bosch Jazz in Duke Town (NL) •Cubop City Big Band tour with Nelson Gonzales (NL) •Festival Haarlem Jazz (NL) •Percussion Festival Paradiso van Slag (NL) with Armando Peraza, Luis Conte, •Armando Perazzo and Raul Rekow. •Jazz op het Dak VPRO (NL) •Cubop City Big Band tour with Eddie Martinez (NL) •Jazzfestival Maastricht (NL) •Jazz Festival Terneuzen (NL) •Vredenburg International Jazzfestival Utrecht (NL) • Shanghai Jazz Festival 2019 (CN)
Press & Quotes
•SALSA POWER 'With this tribute, Cubop has taken the big band sound to a new level and I'm wondering how they are going to top this.'
•LATIN BEAT 'a must for Latin big band fanatics that, in my humble opinion, will have you dancing with joy.'
•JOSE RICO 'Utilizing the expertise of the veteran arranger and pianist Eddy Martínez, who did the outstanding arrangements, Van Merwijk was able to capture that Latin big band sound and spirit. The band beautifully interprets tunes that were either composed or made famous by Moré, all Cuban standards. This CD swings from beginning to end.
•Jazzprofiles.com: ‘...Lucas van Merwijk is one of the great drummers of our time. He lays down so much good stuff that even the eyes of a trained drummer can't catch it all...’
•Sonny Bravo New York (arranger/ piano player for Tito Puente for many years:‘…as I'm listening, the track that almost knocked me off my chair was: "A Puerto Padre!" Wow! Kudos to Marc for taking it where no man has gone before, not even J.M. Ceruto! Great piano solo, too! A well deserved tip-of-the-hat to a great aggregation, which you have indeed done and done it very well!I think the CD is terrific, incl. the charts, the "adaptations," and the solos!
•Marty Sheller New York (legendary NY arranger) '…a superb job. Terrific arrangements, excellent execution and wonderful musicianship all around. It's a breath of fresh air in a Latin Jazz scene saturated with mediocre music. Keep up the good work. Palante!'
•Latin Beat New York THE CUBOP CITY BIG BAND¡Qué Sensación! (Tam Tam Records) The Dutch drummer/percussionist Lucas Van Merwijk (member of the popular international Latin jazz band Nueva Manteca) is proud to release this new production as leader of a mega-ensemble, The Cubop City Big Band. Originally established by Lucas in 1995, this 20-piece salsa/Latin jazz big band from the Netherlands swings with the best in the world of Latin music. Comprised of international players from all over the world, The Cubop-City Big Band has hosted multiple Latin jazz luminaries, including Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, Edy Martínez, Andy González, Armando Peraza, Karl Perazzo, Raúl Rekow, Nelson González and Luis Conte. Their new recording is a big band tribute to some of the icons of Afro-Cuban jazz, starting with Grupo Afrocuba (a leading force in the 1980s and one of Lucas' major inspirations for this production). In fact, Lucas selected three of Afrocuba's compositions: ¡Qué Sensación!, Sí Preguntan Por Mi, and Ya Puede Empezar la Dicha de Los Dos. The late Emiliano Salvador (legendary pianist/composer) is remembered via his compositions Para Luego Es Tarde and A Puerto Padre, while master-reedman Paquito D'Rivera is honored through an original score titled Pa'Quito (written in Paquito's style by the band's pianist and arranger Marc Bischoff). This recording delivers an amazing big band sound and intriguing arrangements, as well as creative solos generating inspirational Latin jazz. — Rudy Mangual
•Descarga (New York)LUCAS VAN MERWIJK AND HIS CUBOP CITY BIG BAND Arsenio (CD Tam Tam) Category: LATIN JAZZ; BIG BAND LATIN JAZZ; NETHERLANDS*****EditorsPick: With a cast that includes guest tresero Nelson Gonzalez and the compositional talents of pianist Edy Martinez, Netherlander Lucas Van Merwijk and his twenty member Cubop City Big Band have produced quite a special tribute to the legendary Cuban bandleader and composer Arsenio Rodriguez. The project opens with an over 10 minute sizzling medley -- a terrific dance-club ready Arsenio primer. To keep the groove going, Mr. Merwijk wisely chose "La Cartera" as the second track. The dancers won't be able to stop. Singer Yma America does a superb job, especially on the explosive "Mulata Rumbera," one of the bests tracks on the disk. Van Merwijk's timbale chops took the opportunity to shine. Special note must also be made of the four part "Baila Simbale Suite," the percussive jazz overture structured by Mr. Martinez. The prognoses: The big band sound is, indeed, alive and well. Highly recommended. (BP)
•SALSA POWER (USA) Cubop City with another tribute effort, this time tackling the music of Arsenio Rodríguez. Just like their past tributes (Machito, Beny Moré) this one does not disappoint. For those who had followed Arsenio's career you'll find it ironic that a man who revolutionized the conjunto sound, is getting a tribute by a big band. "La cartera" gets a riveting arrangement (as the entire CD) by Colombia's own Edy Martínez. He gives the piece a bigger than life sound with the powerhouse vocals by Miguel Montenegro. This starts the CD out with a smoking opening.
While the musical arrangements and the band are in top form, the vocals of Yma América carry this release to glory. With a style similar to Graciela from Machito's fame, Yma gives this production power and class. She kicks in the door with "Mulence" and what a show stopper it is. Going note for note with the band, you wish every recording were done with such fire. Another interesting piece here is the four-part suite based on Arsenio's "Baila Simbale" with new parts by Edy Martínez. This excursion is a vivid Afrocuban jazz showcase with Lucas Van Merwijk demonstrating his percussion skills, while the thirteen-piece horn section wants to rip through your speakers. With this tribute, Cubop has taken the big band sound to a new level and I'm wondering how they are going to top this. Maybe a live CD? I'm not sure how many folks will hear this beautiful relelase but if you don't, shame on you! This is what it sounds like when real musicians play.