Edition #55 – Wilson “Chembo” Corniel answers 7 questions

by | Nov 30, 2023

1. Why are you a musician?

I am a musician because I grew up learning how to play congas/ percussion at an early age. I was inspired by the music that was being played in our house by my parents and always tried to play along with the records. Later on I started taking lessons from some of the more advanced players that live in my neighborhood and other professionals that were performing with known groups at that time.

I have always been fascinated with the sounds of the drums, when I play I feel an escape into a world of so many possibilities and expressions that I can transmit to people’s souls, it’s spiritual.

2. Who inspired your musical inspirations?

My musical inspirations are my drum teachers, Tommy Lopez, Sr. (Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta), Ray Romero (Ray Barreto, The Machito Orch., Eartha Kitt), Carlos Patato Valdez to name a few.

As far as musical groups my inspiration are Jerry Gonzalez & Fort Apache, Chucho Valdes & Irakere, Machito & His Afro Cubans, Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Afro Cuba de Matanzas, Tata Guines, Los Papines.

3. What is your practicing routine?

I try to practice almost every day for a least one hour or more depending on the time that I have available, also since I’m playing gigs during the week I get to keep my chops up.

4. Why did you make this album?

Artistas, Musicos Y Poetas
By Chembo Corniel Quintet

It was about time that I put out some new music, the previous album that I released was in 2016 (Land Of The Descendants).

My newest release in March 2023 is “Artistas, Musicos Y Poetas” (Artist, Musicians & Poets).

As a native New Yorker (born and raised) this new album shows a diverse side of me and my music, I feature some spoken word, a mixture of Afro Caribbean rhythms with a touch of Jazz.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in making this album?

The biggest obstacles was getting the finances to complete this album, I had to pay the musicians, arrangers, studio/engineer/mixing/mastering, artwork, etc., all of the monies that were used came from my concerts, gigs, teaching private lessons, other artist’s recordings, etc. I am an other independent record company (Chemboro Records, Inc.) and have six albums under my company’s name.

6. Who is featured on the album?

My band members are: Hery Paz (tenor sax/flute), Carlos Cuevas (piano), Ian Stewart (bass), Joel E. Mateo (drums), Chembo Corniel (congas/Batas/ Barill de Bomba, misc. perc.). Guest soloists: Don Pancho Terry (shekere), Andrea Brachfeld (flute), Hector Martignon (piano), Elio Villafranca (piano), Paul Carlon (tenor sax), Ivan Renta (tenor sax), Agustin Someillian (trumpet), Vince Cherico (drums), Felipe Luciano (Poet) & Ismael East Carlo (Poet)

7. Where may we find you online?