Gabriel Alegría combines his experience playing jazz as it developed in the U.S. with a passionate interest and careful study of the black music of coastal Perú. By incorporating and exploring the common African roots found in both styles, he has developed a uniquely Afro-Peruvian jazz music concept. The rich legacy of the black music of coastal Perú can be heard in a contemporary jazz context. In all of Alegría’s work, a cross-cultural exchange between the Americas is always present, carefully defining Afro-Peruvian jazz music as the newest voice to come from Latin America.
During the course of a career that has spanned the globe, Alegría has appeared in concert and/or on recordings with Arturo O’Farrill, Maria Schneider, Placido Domingo, Tierney Sutton, The Peruvian National Symphony, among others. He has also performed concerts for the United Nations and various diplomatic missions from around the world. The Afro-Peruvian Sextet has appeared in over 400 concerts and master classes throughout North America. The Afro-Peruvian Sextet currently tours in support of their latest release Pucusana (August 2010) which includes the singles “Taita Guaranguito” and “Pucusana” representing the Peruvian landó and festejo sounds respectively.
Currently Associate Director of Jazz Studies at New York University, Alegría earned a doctorate in jazz studies from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree from the City University of New York, and a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College. His knowledge of Afro-Peruvian music is the result of fieldwork and time spent in Perú learning from the art form’s greatest exponents.