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Juan Pastor Talks Chinchano

Juan Pastor first started stuying percussion under the tutelage of Eusebio Sirio “Pititi,” master of Afro-Peruvian percussion at the Concervatorio Nacional de Lima, I studied classical music for five years. He ended up moving to Chicago to study at Northern Illinois University where he played in the top band and received a bachelors degree in music. From there he continued his studies by attending DePaul University where he received a Masters degree in Music. He has stayed in Chicago and created a band called "Chinchano" which combines jazz and Peruvian rhythms. This weekend the band will be performing at the Green Mill (4802 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL Visit for more information.) We thought we would talk with Juan and get more information about his background and the group Chinchano. Chicago Jazz Magazine: Tell us about where you grew up and how you got interested in percussion. Pastor: I grew up in Lima, Peru. My family always had music in the house, I have early memories listening to my mother singing Peruvian folk music. I was always interested on the percussion while growing up, I got interested on composition later on life. Chicago Jazz Magazine: How did you end up here in Chicago? Pastor: I came to study at DePaul University, there I was able to study with Bob Rummage, Bob Lark and Dana Hall. While in school I was also getting involved with music projects and decided to stay in Chicago. Chicago Jazz Magazine: When playing Peruvian and Afro Cuban music the rhythms played differently than the swung eight note feel normally associated with straight ahead jazz. How difficult is it to switch feels from Peruvian and Afro Cuban to straight ahead jazz? Pastor: Even though Chinchano does not really play much Afro Cuban music, I did study Cuban music back in Peru and I am sure it shows on my playing. Afro Peruvian music is very similar on a way to American Jazz, they both have African influences, I actually do not think about style too much when I write music for Chinchano. Chicago Jazz Magazine: Who where some of your main influences in the world of jazz that you listened to in order to learn the style? Pastor: Well, this can be a long answer… but of course I have listened to a lot of great jazz players, If I have to mention just drummers, I would pick Elvin Jones, Art Blakey and Tony Williams. I say these names because I did some strong listening on them while in school but I am still always listening to new drummers. I am a huge fan of Brian Blade, Antonio Sanchez, Henry Cole, Mark Guiliana and so many other contemporary drummers. Chicago Jazz Magazine: You group is called Chinchano, what is the meaning of Chinchano and what was the concept behind starting it? Pastor: Chinchano is what you called a person from Chincha, a town south of Lima in Peru. I have early memories going there to study and learn about the Cajon and afro Peruvian culture. The cajon is a Peruvian percussion instrument that I play with my band, it is the most important instrument of Afro Peruvian music. When the band started, we were working on mostly Afro Peruvian Jazz so the name Chinchano sounded right for it. Chicago Jazz Magazine: This weekend you will be a the Green Mill in Chicago playing a CD release party both Friday and Saturday nights. What is the name of the new CD and what can the audience expect to hear this weekend? Pastor: The CD is named “Un Cambio”, we will perform compositions from this album plus material from our first record. We will also perform a couple of brand new compositions, so I would say expect a night full a new music. The band will have Stu Mindeman on Piano, Patrick Mulcahy on bass, Marquis Hill on trumpet, Greg Ward (Friday) and Rich Moore (Saturday) on alto saxophe. Chicago Jazz Magazine: Do you have anything outside of this weekend that our readers can watch for? Pastor: Yes, We are playing Friday the 11th at Strobe Recording Studios. We are sharing a bill with a band called “Blink” led by Jeff Green. The show starts at 9pm and both bands will play an hour set, Strobe Recording studios is at 2631 W Division St

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