The Latin Department Celebrates the Life and Music of Daniel Ponce

This week, the Latin department will celebrate the music of Cuban drummer Daniel Ponce in anticipation of the Daniel Ponce Memorial Concert to be held on June 17th at 7pm in St. Peter’s Church, produced by Verna Gillis of Soundscape and featuring Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, David Oquendo y Raices Habaneras, Olu Femi, and Michele Rosewoman. From June 10th to the 17th, the programs Caribe Latino, Latin Jazz Hour, Nueva Canción y demás, and Mambo Machine (Monday 10/6 and 17/6 10pm - 1am, Wednesday 12/6 10 -11pm, and Saturday 15/6 12 - 2am) will all exclusively feature music recorded during weekly Soundscape performances during the 80’s, where we hear Ponce playing with the Interamerican Jazz Quintet and his own group Jazzbatá as well as alongside other Latin Jazz greats such as Tito Puente, Paquito d'Rivera, and Orlando “Puntilla” Ríos.

Born in Havana Cuba in 1952, Daniel Ponce was known as a “rumbero,” an active participant in the local music scene. Landing in September 1980 in Miami, Florida, he soon made his way to New York City, where he was discovered performing in Central Park, earning the attention of legendary bassist and Latin music connoisseur Andy González. Daniel’s first recording “New York Now,” released on the Celluloid label and featuring Paquito d'Rivera, is still considered a percussion classic. After 20 years of living in Miami, Ponce passed away on March 10th of this past year.