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Latin Jazz has a 'New Beginning' with Michelle Pollace on the keys

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As we search for the best new music on  WEMU, we will often feature someone you’ve never heard before but think is worth your time. 

Pianist Michelle Pollace, who we premiered this morning on 89.1 Jazz, is one such artist. She has worked hard to build a reputation in one of the most competitive Latin jazz communities in the world – San Francisco – and is taking her work to the national level with New Beginning, her debut CD. If you gain the respect of the Latin jazz followers of San Francisco and San José California – you have to be good. She has mastered the delicate art of piano montuno, the repeated Latin music figure that resembles the rhythm of riding a horse to provide the perfect underpinnings for percussive improvisation.

Her improvisational skills also must not be overlooked. While her left hand builds the tension and sinuous rhythms, her right plies lacy figures and tricky arpeggios. With New Beginning, we get to hear her great supporting players: bassist David Belove, drummer Phil Hawkins and percussionists Carlos Caro and Michaelle Goerlitz. They too, have fully comprehended the drive and articulation essential for Latin jazz. Lest you think this is a highly intellectual experience, I must add that this disc also has another crucial component of good Latin jazz – it is loads of fun! Produced by Latin jazz piano veteran, Rebecca Mauleon, New Beginning by Michelle Pollace is an excellent introduction to an outstanding new talent.

Linda Yohn simply cannot remember a day in her life that was not filled with music. Her early life was full of changes as the daughter of a well-respected cancer research scientist who moved his family about, but one thing was constant: the love of music instilled by her mother. So, when it seemed life was too hard to bear, young Linda would listen to her radio, play her guitar, dance her heart out and sing at the top of her lungs. So, it isn’t so strange that “older” Linda still does all those things!
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