It can finally be celebrated: in 2020 Cubop City Big Band existed 25 years, but the anniversary tour was postponed for a year due to Covid-19. Now it's time to celebrate with the salsa and Latin jazz big band that is loved all over the world, not least in Latin America itself: the band toured there and scored several hits. Grandiose performance for a Latin orchestra from Europe!
The big band led by drummer Lucas van Merwijk collaborated 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. Lucas van Merwijk was voted best drummer in the jazz and world/fusion categories by the readers of De Slagwerkkrant many times.
The Cubop City Big Band has been at the forefront of the international salsa en latin jazz scene for many years. The orchestra was founded in 1995 by Lucas van Merwijk and was named after the New York club ‘Cubop City’, the stage where in the years 40-50 giants such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito and Chano Pozo would perform and ‘invent’ Cubop.
The Cubop City Big Band is one of the most prominent salsa and latin jazz formations in Europe.
The CDs of the Cubop City Big Band are illegally being copied on a large scale in South America; the biggest compliment you can get as a European Latin orchestra.
The band now has seven albums to its name with music from key figures of Latin music such as Machito (the Machito Project) Beny Moré (Moré and More), Arsenio Rodriguez (Arsenio), Tito Puente and Grupo Afrocuba (Que Sensacion!).
The band members are musicians from the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Panama, Germany the USA and Venezuela.
Over the years the orchestra has worked with a number of big names from the Latin scene, including Alfredo 'Chocolate' Armenteros, Edy Martinez, Andy Gonzalez (Libre, Tito Puente), Armando Peraza (Carlos Santana), Luis Conte, Nelson Gonzales (Cachao, Gloria Estefan Paul Simon), Edmar Castañeda and Roberto Quintero.
The band had multiple hits on Latin radio stations in South America and the United States (Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York). Their album Moré and More was chosen as number 2 on the list 'Best Latin Album of 1998 in the New York Latin Beat magazine.
The band has done three tours to South America and performed three 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
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
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 •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)
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.