About Diego Urcola
Argentine trumpeter Diego Urcola is a gifted improviser and composer who infuses post-bop jazz with South American traditions. A vibrant presence on the New York scene since his arrival in the '90s, Urcola has built close associations with such globally minded performers as saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera, bassist Avishai Cohen, vibraphonist Dave Samuels, and pianist Guillermo Klein. He has also garnered acclaim on his own, including earning Grammy nominations for 2003's Soundances and 2006's Viva. Urcola has continued to explore a cross-pollinated mix of sounds from Astor Piazzolla to Miles Davis, releasing albums like his 2011 quartet date Appreciation and his 2020 collaboration with D'Rivera, El Duelo.
Born in 1965 in Buenos Aires, Urcola was first introduced to music by his father, who was the director of the Music Department at Colegio Ward. He first began playing trumpet at age nine and eventually discovered jazz, inspired by players like Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis. Following his time at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Buenos Aires, Urcola further honed his skills at Berklee School of Music in Boston and Queens College in New York, eventually earning his master's degree. He gained wider attention when he finished second in the 1997 Thelonious Monk Trumpet Competition. Two years later, he made his debut with 1999's Libertango, which found him incorporating jazz with Argentinian and other Latin traditions.
Along with leading his own groups, Urcola has played with such luminaries as Wynton Marsalis, Joe Henderson, Slide Hampton, Claudia Acuña, and Danilo Perez. He is also a longtime member of Paquito D'Rivera's ensemble and Avishai Cohen's International Vamp Band. In 2003, Urcola released his sophomore long-player, Soundances, on Sunnyside. Recorded in his hometown, the album again found him delving into tango, post-bop, and fusion styles. It earned a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. Another Grammy nomination followed for Viva in 2006. Equally steeped in a mix of hard bop and Latin roots, it featured saxophonist D'Rivera, vibraphonist Dave Samuels, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, drummer and fellow Berklee alum Antonio Sanchéz, and others. More work followed with D'Rivera, including appearing on the saxophonist's Grammy-winning album Funk Tango and Grammy-nominated 2009 effort Jazz Clazz.
In 2011, Urcola released his fourth album, Appreciation, which found the trumpeter leading his small group with pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig, and drummer Eric McPherson. That was followed by Mates in 2014 with bassist Cohen, vibraphonist Samuels, harpist Edmar Castaneda, and pianist Juan Dargenton. Following fertile sessions with Guillermo Klein, David Weiss, and Michel Camilo, Urcola again paired with D'Rivera for 2020's El Duelo. ~ Matt Collar
HOMETOWNBuenos Aires, Argentina