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Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS Band

Chris Washburne, trombone
Ole Mathisen, saxophone
Barry Olsen, piano
Leo Traversa, bass
Diego Lopez, drums
Cristian Rivera, congas

Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS Band pushes the genre of Latin Jazz into uncharted waters combining raw musical innovation with an overtly strong political commentary on our contemporary world. Their recordings resound a postmodern Latin jazz that embraces dissonance, weaving contemporary uptempo beats with a driving sound that suits it intended purpose well. As Washburne writes in the the liner notes of their latest recording “Land of Nod”, “Dance to the rhythms. Moving your body can be an act of resistance. Let it be so.” Syotos was founded 19 years ago and has become what TimeOUT New York calls a “Latin Jazz institution.” They have held the longest running Latin jazz gig in the City’s history, playing every week for 16 years. They are the busiest and most in demand Latin jazz group in New York. Some of the band’s members are alumni from the Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri bands and they continue in those leader’s footsteps, pushing the genre into the 21st century.

Chris Washburne has been called “one of the best trombonists in New York” by Peter Watrous (The New York Times). He has recorded over 150 albums and performed with numerous jazz, Latin, pop, and classical groups including, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, Anthony Braxton, Jacki Byard, Marc Anthony, and Ruben Blades. He leads his own band SYOTOS, the busiest and most in demand Latin jazz group in New York. Their latest release Paradise In Trouble on Jazzheads Records was nominated as the best Latin jazz record of 2004. He is an associate professor of music at Columbia University and the founder and Director of Columbia’s Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program. He has published numerous articles on jazz, Latin jazz, and salsa, and his book New York Salsa will be published in 2008 by Temple University Press.

Regardinmg the unique name, several years ago 28 year old Chris Washburne was told he had virulent nerve cancer, 50 percent chance of surviving an operation for it, zero possibility of ever playing the trombone again – and he’d better check into the hospital in the morning. Washburne insisted on playing one more gig with the band whose core musicians are on this record. At the end of that particular hot night, the trombonist turned turned to his companeros and said, “SYOTOS.” Meaning: see you on the other side.