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Gil Gutiérrez: SMA to NYC

Dr. David, Editor / Publisher

Living most of my life two hours outside of New York, I have frequently visited the City. On one of these trips, I told a long-time friend, who had for many years resided there, "The people here are so interesting." He replied, "There is no other reason to live here."

There are a lot of reasons to live in San Miguel: climate, food, affordability, community, culture... But chief among these would still have to be the people. They are so interesting. Outstanding within this interesting class is master showman Gil Gutiérrez

Gil makes it look easy. Playing guitar, leading the band, hosting at Zandunga... he obviously loves what he's doing. But offstage he works at it, with the discipline of years, decades. Like the sunshine, Gil is a force of nature, making San Miguel great.

From San Miguel to the Big Apple, and back again, a kid from Oaxaca makes good.

Gil Gutiérrez, known throughout the music industry as one of Mexico's finest musicians, is acclaimed for his artistry in merging classical, jazz and flamenco. Revered among fellow musicians, Gil attracts many celebrities to his performances, some of who have spontaneously jumped on stage and joined his jam session.

At the age of 14 Gil began performing classical guitar in restaurants in Oaxaca. There he caught the attention of German-born guitarist Wolfgang "Lobo" Fink of Willie & Lobo. At 17, he teamed up with Fink to play venues in San Miguel de Allende. When Fink returned to Germany, Gutiérrez went to Mexico City to study jazz, earning money by playing his guitar on city buses.

After discovering Gil in San Miguel, famed, Tonight Show trumpeter Doc Severinsen introduced Gutiérrez to American audiences. Together they formed the San Miguel 5 (with Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat, Cuban percussionist Jimmy Branly and bass player Kevin Thomas). The San Miguel 5, for whom Gutiérrez also served as musical director, performed over 60 shows, including with symphony orchestras across the United States.

In 2007 Severinsen and Gutiérrez recorded their first album together, En Mi Corazon. In 2011 they played Carnegie Hall together, accompanied by the New York Pops. Gil was recently featured on PBS American Masters "Never Too Late," which focuses on Severinsen's career.

A virtuoso with the nylon string guitar and tres, Gutiérrez is recognized for his ability to connect with the audience, channeling local energy into each performance. Constantly pushing boundaries, as a musical director he brings together new combinations of musicians and musical styles, including opera, jazz, cantaor flamenco, Cuban and Mexican, to create performances in the cultural vanguard.

With his classically trained mastery of jazz, flamenco, and son Cubano, Gil has performed and has an avid following throughout Latin America, America and Spain. Gutiérrez's collaborations, include superstars Ana Gabriel, Francisco Céspedes, Arturo Sandoval (Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City), Ricardo Arjona, Pedro Guerra and others.

Gutiérrez has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Mexican Cultural Institute of the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C. and before a crowd of 10,000 at Millennium Park in Chicago. As a soloist he's played with the Minnesota Symphony, the Florida Symphony and with the Doc Severinsen Big Band Tour. In 2013 he was the featured artist and directed the ensemble at the Calaca Festival honoring Chavela Vargas in San Miguel. His original compositions have been performed by the New York Choral Society.

Gil has scored several films, including El Cochero, El Alcazar de Chapultepec and Una Causa Noble. He composed and performed the soundtrack for the documentary film Lost and Found in Mexico. In 2013 Gutiérrez was featured in the National Geographic Traveler Documentary, The Granny Diaries.

In June, Gil and his trio will be performing six shows at New York's legendary Birdland Theater. The trio includes David Rodriguez on bass and Robert Stern on violin.

David Rodriguez is a Grammy and Emmy nominated producer and performer, who performs at venues from Carnegie Hall to the Apollo Theater. He's worked with artists ranging from Max Roach to Tito Puente to the Rochester Philharmonic. He is now the Executive Producer at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Violinist Bob Stern has performed with classical and pop artists, including Jerry Miller (Moby Grape), Charlie Prichard, and Laura Branigan.

But you don't have to go to New York to catch the show. Gil, David and Bob perform with other members of Gil's sextet Sunday's in a dinner show at San Miguel's very own Rancho Zandunga.



Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

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