Santi Debriano Biography
Mr. Debriano has been affiliated with several teaching institutions over the years, including the New School For Social Research, New York University, William Paterson University and Wesleyan University. He has also conducted Masters classes at the behest of the Thelonius Monk Jazz Institute, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Jazz in Weimar, and Berklee College of Music. HeÆs currently the Music Director for Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey. At Dwight Morrow heÆs been able to fashion a music curriculum for the students that is reflective of his own vision and musical prerogatives. Mr.Debriano has initiated a program of Jazz and World Music at the High School, with an emphasis on African, Afro-Caribbean, Latin Ameri- can and African-American music and culture. As a result, the students now have course offerings in hand drumming, guitar, Steel Drums, and Jazz Ensemble in addi- tion to the traditional marching band and chorus offerings. The students there are learning melodies from Africa, South America and the Caribbean, classic composi- tions by the jazz masters like Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Randy Weston, Dizzy Gillespie, etc., age old rhythms like cumbia, guaguanco, soca, etc., Negro spirituals, and European classical melodies, all at the High School grade level. Mr. Debriano says, ôItÆs a project that gives me pride in the results. I feel that IÆm giving back a little of what IÆve been taught along the way by the masters of our music.ö
With his newest band Circlechant, Mr. Debriano has created an original form of world music that ties together the many strains of music he has encountered throughout his diverse career. Consisting of a culturally diverse group of musicians - they hail from Brazil, Israel, Belize, Philadelphia, Cuba and Mr. DebrianoÆs own Republic of Pana- ma - CirclechantÆs music bridges the gap between jazz and other musical traditions from throughout the world. Grounded in New York jazz, they incorporate African beats, latin jazz, tango, experimental jazz and classical music. This eclecticism dovetails nicely with the training in ethnomusicology and World Music, which Mr. Debriano received at Wesleyan University, while pursuing his Masters in music. An experimenter at heart, Mr. Debriano has always enjoyed close proximity to master musicians from throughout the world. This type of interaction was the cultural norm for musicians at Wesleyan and has continued to be his normal milieu throughout his career. Over the years, Mr. Debriano has become accomplished on several instru- ments which, taken together, reflect the wide range of his musical interests. He plays the guitar, tenor bass steel drums, gimbre (from Morocco), and several percussion instruments including congas, bongos, and gongs. Yet Mr. Debriano is first and foremost a jazz bassist and composer, and jazz remains his musical and pedagogical home base. ôIÆm trying to contribute to the continuing evolution in jazz, through composition, experimentation, and by furthering the language of jazz bass playing."