Second Chance (Zoho Music)

Hector Martignon

Released June 8, 2010

Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album 2011




On Second Chance, his second ZOHO release, Colombian-born, New York domiciled pianist Hector Martignon presents his current, hot young Latin Jazz quintet, with special guests Edmar Castaneda on Colombian harp, John Walsh on trumpet, and Vinny Valentino on guitar.
In an exciting program of 6 Martignon originals and 4 North and South American standards, Martignon confirms his eminent position as one of the most sought-after pianists on the Latin jazz scene. He’s toured with Mongo Santamaría, Gato Barbieri, Steve Turre, Tito Puente, Mario Bauzá, Chico O’Farrill, Paquito D’Rivera, and Max Roach.
Martignon’s first ZOHO release Refugee (ZMR 200705) from 2007 was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2008. Martignon was also for eight years pianist for ZOHO artist Ray Barretto in the 1990s. His last collaboration with Barretto, “My Summertime,” was also nominated for a Grammy award.

Hector’s liner notes :
When thinking of second chances, many memories come to haunt us and remind us of all kinds of half finished business, failed projects, unrequited loves, wrong expectations of one’s ability to fulfill a promise… but isn’t there another side to the coin with which we trade the second chances that come our way: the ones we concede to other people, projects, opportunities; the same way we recognize and embrace second chances given to us, with that same open mind and hope we should allow someone, or something, that longed-for second chance.

Some of the tracks contained in this album are second chances. These are renditions that reflect an evolved approach to melodies and arrangements already done by me in years past. I wrote and recorded Guaji-Rita in the 90s with the late Ray Barretto’s band, New World Spririt, after a friend of the band, Rita, suffered a car accident; I hope Rita, as well as Ray, enjoy this version wherever they might be.

For my second solo album, Foreign Affair, I recorded She Said She Was From Sarajevo inspired by a victim of the Bosnian war who was working at a garment store right across the World Trade Center in New York City. I now wonder how she experienced 9/11! I learned some of the rhythms used in this tune on one of my visits to Yugoslavia.

Coqueteos is a hellish tune from the Colombian highlands, where I am from, and in this, my second rendition, I turned it, into a Joropo, with the help of two of my New York based fellow countrymen, virtuoso harpist Edmar Castañeda and percussionist extraordinaire Samuel Torres. This song is also another Foreign Affair veteran.

As a kid I watched six times the wonderful, and politically very incorrect movie Hatari. The elegant and sensual score, written by Henry Mancini, enchanted and seduced me. Decades later, during my stint with Don Byron’s Music for six Musicians I again fell in love with the title theme, Hatari, the way only Don could play it. Here is my second chance for this tune. While on tour in Chile this January, I was lucky to meet one of my idols of Brazilian music, Joao Bosco. Although I love and play most of his music, I find Bala Con Bala (vocally a tongue-breaker) instrumentally the most appropriate vehicle for improvisation. Almost all members of the band solo here. Obrigado Joao!
Andrea is my homage to my very first mentor in music, my brother Andrea, who I hope will hear this, and all my music, from high above. The rhythm plays with subdivisions of 12 with a 6/8 background. I learned so much from listening to Don Grolnick that I learned that Alone Together was a ballad only long after having played the tune in a devilish fast tempo, the same way he did. To make it even more outlandish, I added a heavy montuno at the end for Samuel to get loose. – I loved my mother in law, Elvia, and for her I wrote A Long Farewell in the last months of her life. Madre, espero que le guste!!!

And then Second Chance which I wrote for my wife Amparo (and she knows why) for all the second chances we have given and received. More than the title of a tune or a record, or all the things that conspired in bringing this musical offering to fruition, this is the story of second chances past and future. I will be thankful every time anew!

Hector Martignon

Track Listing:

1. Bala Con Bala (J. Bosco) 7:52

2. Second Chance (Hector Martignon) 6:20

3. Coqueteos (F. Garcia) 6:18

4. Guaji-Rita (Hector Martignon) 6:04

5. Andrea (Hector Martignon) 7:32

6. She Said She Was From Saarajewo (Hector Martignon) 7:43

7. Abre Los Ojos (Hector Martignon) 5:50

8. Hatari (Henry Mancini) 8:06

9. A Long Farewell (Hector Martignon) 5:35

10. Alone Together (H. Dietz) 6:59


Hector Martignon: piano, accordion (7)

Armando Gola: bass

Ludwig Afonso: drums

Samuel Torres: percussion

Xavier Perez: saxophones

Tim Collins: vibraphone (1, 2, 7, 8)

Vinny Valentino: guitar (1)

Edmar Castaneda: harp (3)

John Walsh: trumpet, flugelhorn

Edward Perez: bass

Recorded June, 2007, at JSM, New York, NY, by Hoover Lee (tracks 2, 4, 7, 10) and February 2008, at Bennett Studios, Engelwood, NJ, by Dave Kowalski

Produced by Hector Martignon

Photography: Jerry Lacay

Package Design: Al Gold

Executive producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker


Columbian-born jazz pianist Hector Martignon firmly believes in second chances in life; whether as a form of redemption or renewal, they serve as important new opportunities. On his second ZOHO release, Second Chance presents an exciting blend of Latin-flavored music, drawing on influences ranging from Brazilian and Colombian idioms to elements of Afro-Cuban rhythms, in a vibrant frame of Latin jazz. Penned for wife Amparo, Second Chance has many meanings, the from personal to the second chances we all have in our lives to embrace opportunities that address past issues. As such, some of the pieces on this album reflect, as the pianist states “an evolved approach to melodies and arrangements already done by me in years past.”
In the late’ 90s, the pianist recorded with percussionist Ray Barretto’s band, and a score he wrote for one of those occasions is renewed here, giving “Guaji-Rita” a second wind, its slow burning arrangement making it one of the set’s major highlights. Other delicious pieces given new twists are “She Said She Was From Sarajewo,” and “Coqueteos,” both taken from Martignon’s second solo album, Foreign Affair (Candid 2000)—the latter an especially spicy number from the Colombian highlands that features saxophonist Xavier Perez and fellow countryman Edmar Castaneda, on Columbian harp. Martignon is exceptionally pronounced here, demonstrating his more than ample chops and why he’s a Grammy-nominated artist. For this recording the pianist is ably accompanied by his core Foreign Affair quintet which, aside from Perez, also includes bassist Armando Gola, drummer Ludwig Afonso and percussionist Samuel Torres. The music is further enlivened by the addition of vibraphonist Tim Collins, guitarist Vinny Valentino and trumpeter/flugelhornist John Walsh. The lively, bouncy opener, “Bala Con Bala,” features solos from most of the band—including guests Collins, Valentino and Walsh—on the most instrumentally challenging piece of the set. 
As a child, Martignon was so taken by the 1962 movie Hatari! that he watched it six times. Seduced by Henry Manicini’s sensual score, the pianist gives the movie’s theme a second reading, with a light and beautiful rendition that also features some tasteful percussion accompaniment.
The are many sparks on this album. Written as a ballad, the closing up-tempo standard “Alone Together” finds the pianist running his fingers along the keys and ending on a brash Cuban montuno and syncopated piano vamp, also allowing Torres to shine at the song’s end. 
Spectacular, wonderful and shoulder-moving are all words that don’t seem adequate in describing Second Chance,; this is clearly an exceptional session of Latin and Brazilian shaded jazz, sure to demand far more than a second spin.

Edward Blanco (All About Jazz)