Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: Hugo Cruz and Caminos | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: Hugo Cruz and Caminos

Plus, some advice for artist success from local experts

click to enlarge Hugo Cruz - PHOTO: MIKE CANTON
Photo: Mike Canton
Hugo Cruz
Pittsburgh’s Latin music scene experienced a palpable bump when Cuban percussionist Hugo Cruz started visiting the city several years ago. It began with a friendship with musicians Gizelxanath Rodriguez and Ben Barson of local jazz band Afro Yaqui Music Collective. He is now firmly planted in the Steel City with his own band, Hugo Cruz and Caminos, and there’s a new album, too: Punto de Partida, or Point of Departure.

Hugo has been promising this debut release for a while, and I couldn’t be more pleased that it’s finally here. “Latin Morning” was written in honor of his father, himself an accomplished violinist and Grammy winner. “Experiment” is straight-up fusion, reminiscent of Chick Corea. The album is diverse and multi-layered, a wonderful first effort.

By the time you read this, Hugo would have presented his April 12 feature, “The History of Cuban Jazz,” at Downtown’s Greer Cabaret Theater. We talked about both the upcoming Greer show and the album on The Soul Show on WYEP; the full Zoom interview is at soulshowmike.org.

Advice for Artists

Spring is here, and the music scene will soon explode. I asked experienced festival organizers Amy Constantine Kline, of Dormont Arts, and Shelley Johansson, of Flood City Music Festival, to offer expectations for artist success:
  • A vibrant social media presence that actively promotes gigs.
  • Good publicity materials, including track samples and great images. (No “crappy” cell phone images or obvious Photoshop manipulations; landscape, high-res, and color images encouraged.)
  • A bio representing the band’s current lineup.
  • An accurate stage plot.
  • Attention to contract details, such as dietary requests and method of payment.

Come back for more pointers in this column on May 18.

Mike Canton is the longtime host and producer of The Soul Show on WYEP 91.3FM. He recently launched a syndicated edition of the program, now airing in four markets. Both are produced in his Electric Basement Studios. Canton is also a Pittsburgh-area voice artist.

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