The Jazz Gallery: Willy Rodriguez presents A.B.A.C.O.A + 2
7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Willy Rodriguez presents A.B.A.C.O.A + 2 feat. Dave Liebman, Brandon Lopez, Hery Paz & Kenneth Jimenez
Willy Rodriguez -drums
Dave Liebman -soprano saxophone
Hery Paz -tenor saxophone
Brandon Lopez –bass
Kenneth Jimenez –bass
Abacoa is a groundbreaking free improvisation trio founded in 2021. Abacoa, which means ‘big river’ in Puerto Rican indigenous Taino, features Hery Paz on tenor saxophone and flutes, Kenneth Jimenez on bass and Willy Rodriguez on drums and percussion. This group of improvisers seeks to break the mold of and redefine what it means to be ‘Latino’ with exploratory and passionate musical expression. Abacoa is like a river out of control that only seeks to reach its most precious culmination, the Caribbean Sea. No schemes or traditions, just truth in identity.
Willy Rodriguez is a Latin GRAMMY-winning drummer, percussionist and bandleader. He was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and began playing drums at age thirteen. He received his musical start playing throughout Puerto Rico in rock and pop bands. When Willy was twenty-one he started working as the Musical Director and drummer for Latin American Idol’s (Objetivo Fama Univision) touring group. Following his experience at Idol, he was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in 2007. His reputation as a skilled musician spread quickly in the Boston area and he began playing extensively with musicians such as Jason Palmer and Andre Heyward. At Berklee, Willy studied with a host of famed teachers such as Terri-Lyne Carrington, Yoron Israel, Ralph Peterson and Greg Osby. He was awarded the Evans/Daddario scholarship during his time at Berklee. Willy’s reputation grew due to his association with Wally’s Jazz Cafe, the famed jazz club located in Boston’s historic South End, where he conducted the famous weekend jam sessions. Eventually, Willy began performing every Thursday at Wally’s with his salsa group ‘The 427 Flavah Factory’.
In 2014, Willy graduated from New England Conservatory with a Master’s degree in Jazz Drum Performance. At NEC, he studied with Billy Hart, Cecil McBee, Miguel Zenon, Jerry Bergonzi and Bob Moses, among others. He has performed alongside some of the premier musicians in jazz and Latin jazz including Jason Palmer, Papo Vasquez and Dave Liebman, with whom he has recorded and played with extensively. In addition to his work in jazz, he has performed and/or recorded with an extensive list of genre-spanning artists including Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Mon Laferte, Domino Saints, and more. In 2019, he won a Latin GRAMMY for his work on Mon Laferte’s ‘Norma’. Willy recorded the self-titled seventh album by The Mars Volta, released in 2022 after a ten-year hiatus.