Ann Arbor native Maureen Choi returns to the KCH stage with her outstanding quartet, blending the folkloric traditions of Spain, Cuba and South America through improvisation and jazz.
Maureen Choi Quartet is much more than jazz and Latin music. Their captivating live performance consists of original compositions and arrangements of traditional Spanish and Latin American pieces. Maureen is actually one of the few violinists in the world who is able to blend the virtuosity of classical music with improvisation and driving Latin rhythms. The group was born in the fall of 2012 when Maureen arrived in Spain. A virtuoso on the violin, professor at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, she became passionately committed to the rich traditions and sounds of music in Spain. Ida y Vuelta, the last album of the quartet, is the result of this journey featuring some of the most prominent Spanish musicians of today like Javier Colina on double bass and Pepe Rivero on piano. The diverse backgrounds of the rhythm section are paramount to the highly original and fresh sound of Maureen Choi Quartet. Daniel García Diego (Spain) is a flamenco jazz pianist and on award-winning musical director. Mario Carrillo (Spain) eclectic double-bassist graduated from Berkleee College of Music, brings fresh perspectives on traditional music with his arrangements for the Quartet. Borja Barrueta rounds up the quartet blending modern jazz and Afrocuban drumming. The group is currently on tour presenting their latest album, Ida y Vuelta, and their next projects include collaborating with the dancers of the National Ballet of Spain.
Much has been said of Maureen Choi’s mastery of the violin in recent years: “It is the new great voice of the jazz violin”; “She sings with her violin”; “She’s an incredible young talent”. Choi is a unique violinist who innately blends the virtuosity of classical music with improvisation and the sounds and rhythms of the Spanish diaspora.
Maureen is a classically-trained violinist with a passion for composition and improvisation. Since 1993 her award-winning performances and collaborations have spanned several continents and included several diverse musical influences, all of which have helped create her unique sound, firmly based in Latin Jazz.
She received her classical training from Michigan State University where she also studied jazz with the great Rodney Whitaker. In 2010 she won a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, further solidifying her burgeoning passion for the language and technique of improvisation on the violin.
In addition to playing in venues around the world, Maureen is currently based in Madrid and teaches at the Berklee College of Music in Valencia as well as at the Escuela de la Música Creativa in Madrid. She is the composer and leader of her diverse quartet comprised of classically trained flamenco-jazz musicians.
Her first jazz album "Maureen Choi Quartet" (2011) was critically well received among US radio stations and in publications such as Jazziz Magazine and Jazz Corner, as well as remaining in AllAboutJazz Top 50 for several months.
Her second album “Ida y Vuelta” has been hailed as “One of the more original, interesting and surprising on the current scene” (Oscar Gómez, Latin Jazz Producer and five-time Grammy Award Winner), Maureen Choi Quartet offers a captivating live performance consisting of original compositions and arrangements of traditional Spanish and Latin American pieces providing “an intensely enriching experience from the moment they start playing. It starts delicate and finishes as a party” (RTVE, Spanish National Radio)
Maureen Choi Quartet is currently on tour presenting their latest album, Ida y Vuelta, through Europe, Asia and North America and their next projects include collaborating with the dancers of the Spanish National Ballet.
As George Fendel of JazzScene Magazine put it: “Look out! The next jazz violin virtuoso may be discovered in these grooves!”
Daniel García Diego
Daniel hails from a musical family; his father is Paco Garcia, one of the top drummers in Spain. Daniel studied piano at the Conservatory of Salamanca and learned how to drum from his famous father. Later he moved to Madrid, where he played drums or piano in several bands and received numerous awards, including second place in Eurodrummer 2001.
In 2008 Daniel directed the musical "Hoy No Me Puedo Levantar" (Today I Can Not Get Up) in one of the most successful tours in Spain. He continues to have a relationship with the award-winning play.
Back in 2009 Daniel received the coveted scholarship of AlE (Artistas Interpretes o Ejecutantes), to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. At the end of his studies, Daniel received the 2011 Best Jazz Performance award at Berklee.
While in Boston, Daniel expanded his musical horizons by playing with artists like Jorge Drexler, Arturo Sandoval and Castrillo among others, and was invited by the master jazz pianist Danilo Pérez to participate in the Panama International Jazz Festival 2011.
After returning to Madrid in 2012, Daniel created and directed the musical "Más de 100 Mentiras" (Over 100 Lies) with screenwriter and director David Serrano. It has already been nominated for several awards, including Best Direction in the Argentinean Hugo Awards.
When he is not performing with the Maureen Choi Quartet, Daniel has recurring work on commercial recordings and TV shows.
A versatile bassist, Mario began his classical studies performing with the Young Community of Madrid Orchestra and at the School of Creative Jazz. A scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston allowed Mario to become immersed in different musical styles from around the world. He also received the Best Young Educator award in his last year at Berklee.
In the United States he became influenced by all kinds of music: Cuban, Latin, flamenco, classical, Indian and Pakistani, to name a few. He began performing with diverse talents including Cyrille Aimee, Dayramir Gonzalez, Pepe de Luda, Suhail Yusuf Khan, Brookline Symphony Orchestra and Arooj Aftab. Mario soon was leading innovative projects in flamenco fusion and collective improvisation.
In 2011 he recorded the first album by Arooj Aftab "Rebuild Pakistan" which mixes Sufi traditional music with contemporary sounds. He taught at the Global Music Institute in New Delhi and has played gigs in Bombay, New Delhi, Pune, the Calcutta Jazz Festival and, upon his return to his native Spain, the XXIX Madrid Jazz Festival.
Currently Mario is working as an arranger and bassist on their latest album.