Conga player, bandleader, and composer Alberto Nacif and the superlative musicians who make up the sizzling Latin Jazz septet Aguanko have a new, all original Latin Jazz recording titled “Unidad”, our 5th release as a band, self-produced, and released September 2023, comprised of 11 creatively fresh Cuban Jazz inspired pieces. This recording features the core group of Aguanko musicians from the incredibly rich Detroit area Jazz scene performing this music.

Their previous release, “Pattern Recognition” (Released in July 2018) was well received by audiences and critics, and remained in the Jazzweek charts from September 10, 2018 to March 4, 2019 (24 weeks!), was in the top 20 for four weeks, and peaked at #16. It was voted into the second round of Grammy voting, and in the top 58 for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, but did not receive a nomination.

These tasteful musicians’ interpretation of original music is evocative and sensuous and true to its Cuban roots. Aguanko has received local, national, and international attention, and their live concerts have dazzled capacity crowds at the multiple venues where they have performed. They are also able to offer educational lecture-demonstrations and instructional seminars.

Aguanko Recordings

The Band

“Aguankó, the ensemble led by percussionist and composer Alberto Nacíf, is a talented group of Michigan based musicians who are steeped in the tradition of jazz infused Son-Salsa. In La Bicileta and Chiquita, for example, you might hear shades of Conjunto Libre or Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta Orchestra. And, like the Fort Apache Band, there are Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythms, as in the percussive Rumba Elemental. The overall feel on Elemental is relaxed; the Jazz is sophisticated, but accessible in essential ways. It’s graced with a driving funk and sabor that comes only from years of developing a musical sensibility that speaks from both the heart and soul of the band members. Top notch stuff, this. Very Highly Recommended.” – elWatusi

Reviews of Note

All About Jazz - Review

by Chris M. Slawecki

Aguanko’s composer, conguero and bandleader Dr. Alberto Naciffirst stepped into the worlds of Latin and Afro-Cuban percussion alongside Cuban conga/bongo master Armando Peraza, the pillar of percussion fire who blazed throughout the Santanaband’s first decade. On Pattern Recognition, Nacif teams with another legendary Cuban percussionist: José “Pepe” Espinosa, who jumps in on timbales, guiro and bongos, and doubles as producer of Aguanko’s third release.

El Chino Solar Latin Club - Review

Aguanko returns stronger than ever. The ensemble created by the Mexican percussionist Alberto Nacif – currently residing in Brighton (USA) – launches Pattern Recognition, his fourth record production. A sophisticated album with no other pretensions than to enjoy.

New York Jazz Record - Review

“…Latin Jazz Christmas in Havana is just what it promises: some of the best-loved Christmas songs reimagined for sand rather than snow. “Santa Baby” thankfully loses some its creepiness while “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot like Christmas” is made for dancing. “The Little Drummer Boy” begins charmingly only with percussion and flute before the band enter to liven up the solemnity. ..” CLICK TO READ MORE


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