Flutist Martha Councell-Vargas releases “Gran Danzón” – An Album celebrating Music of the Americas

A specialist of music from Latin America and the Caribbean, acclaimed flutist Martha Councell-Vargas releases a new album on the Blue Griffin label  – “Gran Danzón” (BG 307).  With a pop-art cover that tips the hat to the glitzy 1940’s and 50’s pin-up culture of Cuban dance orchestras’ record jackets, she is joined by pianist Richard Steinbach and percussionist Olman Piedra, as they pay homage to the celebratory and festive spirit that bonds the American continent.

I love Martha Councell-Vargas “fluteism” and sense of humor. Her new CD is excellent: …impeccable playing ..and the rendition of my Gran Danzón is right in the pocket!”

– Paquito D’Rivera

The four works by presented on the album are all by American composers (both North and South), and are unified not only by their common heritage, but their juxtaposition of Euro-classical form with the American folk music tradition – bringing forth what Councell-Vargas believes to be a “Universal Americanism.”  She writes: “It is my hope that when experiencing these works together, we will delight in similarities and celebrate the diversity of our music.”

The title track – “Gran Danzón” by the incomparable Paquito D’Rivera – presents a special reverence for Martha Councell-Vargas, as it was her interview with the great Cuban artist, and the subsequent discovery of the charanga style, that inspired the flutist’s love of Latin American music, and the search of the unifying element of music of the Americas.

Martha Councell-Vargas has been enjoying an active performing career as a soloist and chamber musician in Central and South America, Europe, and across the United States. With a scholarly and artistic specialization in the music of Latin America and the Caribbean, she has participated as a guest artist in the Festival Internacional de Flautistas in Lima, Peru the Festival Internacional de Flautistas en el Centro del Mundo in Quito, Ecuador, and in Panama City, Panamá for the Asociación Nacional de Conciertos, among others.  Her many recital and concert appearances include the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra, and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The complete track list is as follows:

Andres Sás Sonatina-Fantasía 

1 Fantasía

2 Elegía

3 Danza

Eduardo Gamboa – Transparencias

4 Torito

5 Arrullo

6 Rompe

7 Jarabe


Christopher Caliendo – Sonata No. 7 “The Jazz Sonata”

8 Andante un poco allegretto

9 Andante Rapsodia

10 Moderato con fuoco


11 Paquito D’Rivera  – Gran Danzón “The Bel-air Concerto”


“Gran Danzón” was recorded at Blue Griffin’s Studio The Ballroom, produced and engineered by Sergei Kvitko, and is available at www.BlueGriffin.com, as well as other online and physical retail outlets.