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Musical World

Michel Camilo

  • Composer
  • Jazz
  • Pianist


Michel Camilo reviews

Spirit of the Moment

"Depending on what track you’re listening to, “Spirit of the Moment” is presenting one of three big ideas. There’s Latin jazz as we know it. There’s jazz as we know it that is unmistakably informed by the cultural backgrounds of his new trio... And there is the contemplative, rubato ballad, which reflects no particular identity or place. Each idea could generate a whole album, and it would be good to hear this fleet band make any of those records." ~New York Times

“‘My Secret Place’ features a striking rubato opening leading into a lovingly played Camilo ballad, pensive and introspective. Bill Evans would have applauded this performance…absorbing…” ~ JazzTimes

"In a return to his Grammy winning form, Camilo returns to a straight ahead trio format focusing on mostly originals with a few Miles related signature pieces thrown in…The music flows nicely and this smart jazzbo simply tees it up and hits it right down the middle. Contemporary jazz piano fans have a new winner on their hands here." ~Midwest Record

"Michel Camilo is one of kind when it comes to piano jazz explorations, and his unique playing style is all his own. For those new to Michel Camilo, this is a fine introduction. For those who enjoy the piano stylings of Michel Camilo, this is another lovely delight to savor and enjoy. Highly recommended." ~Jazz Review

“After twenty years of developing his chops as a trio player, pianist Michel Camilo took a few years off to do other things -- a solo album titled Solo and a lovely orchestral homage to George Gershwin were two results of that break. With Spirit of the Moment he returns to the trio format, and he sounds refreshed and happy to be back. As always, his style is powerfully energetic and at times ideas seem to be flying out from under his fingers almost more quickly than he can fully process them. But with the help of a crack rhythm team (drummer Dafnis Prieto and bassist Charles Flores) he manages to keep his feet on the ground and generate lots of inspiring moments. Notable among them are an all-too-brief rendition of the John Coltrane classic "Giant Steps" that sounds almost like "Flight of the Bumblebee", a lovely version of Wayne Shorter's "Nefertiti", and the aptly titled "Hurry Up and Wait", a jittery and edgy uptempo original with a Latin feel. Despite his obvious affinity for faster material, Camilo also shines on the ballads: he delivers sweetly lyrical renditions of "My Secret Place" and "A Place in Time", both of them originals. Highly recommended.” ~All Music Guide

Honors and Awards

  • Appointed as 2009-2010 “Jazz Creative Director Chair” for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • GRAMMY Award for Live at the Blue Note-- "Best Latin Jazz Album"
  • Latin GRAMMY Award for Rhapsody In Blue-- “Best Classical Album”
  • Latin GRAMMY Award for Spain with Flamenco guitarist Tomatito-- "Best Latin Jazz Album"
  • EMMY Award for The Goodwill Games Theme-- “Outstanding Individual Achievement in Musical Composition/Direction”
  • GRAMMY Nomination for Spirit of the Moment-- "Best Latin Jazz Album"
  • GRAMMY Nomination for Spain Again with Flamenco guitarist Tomatito-- "Best Latin Jazz Album"
  • GRAMMY Nomination for Triangulo--"Best Jazz Instrumental Album"
  • GRAMMY Nomination for Hands of Rhythm with percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo-- "Best Latin Jazz Album"
  • IX PREMIOS DE LA MUSICA Award for “Spain Again” with Tomatito – “Best Jazz Album”
  • III PREMIOS DE LA MUSICA Award for “Lorquiana-Poemas” – “Best Arranger”
  • Jazz Journalists Association Nomination for Triangulo– “Best Latin Jazz Album”
  • Billboard Latin Music Awards Nomination for Triangulo– “Best Latin Jazz Album”
  • Honored in 2008 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City-- “Outstanding Dominican-American”
  • Honored at the 1992 Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Festival
  • International Jazz Award from the Clearwater Jazz Festival
  • Knight of the Heraldic Order of Christopher Columbus from the Dominican Government
  • Silver Cross of the Order of Duarte, Sanchez & Mella from the Dominican Government
  • Orden al Mérito Ciudadano from the Dominican Consulate in New York City
  • CASANDRA Awards – “Best Artist Residing Abroad”, “Best Classical Composer” and “Best Classical Performer”
  • SOBERANO Award – by the Dominican Journalists Association
  • 2004 Artist of the Year— by JazzWeek
  • Composition Grant from Meet The Composer
  • NYSCA Composition Grant from New York State Council for the Arts
  • National Symphony Orchestra commissioned his Piano Concerto No. 1
  • Tenerife Auditorium commissioned his “Piano Concerto No. 2 - Tenerife”
  • Katia and Marielle Labèque commissioned his Rhapsody for Two Pianos and Symphony Orchestra
  • National Symphony Orchestra commissioned his Tango for Ten Pianos
  • Michel Camilo Piano Scholarship, created by The Duke Ellington School of the Arts
  • Berklee College of Music-- Honorary Doctorate in Music
  • Michel Camilo Scholarship, created by Berklee College of Music.
  • Honorary degree from alma mater Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo
  • Honorary degree from UTESA University of Santiago, Dominican Republic (the youngest person ever to receive the distinction)
  • Berklee College of Music -- Herb Alpert Visiting Professorship