Gabriel Ayala
Gabriel Ayala

Virtuoso guitarist Gabriel Ayala’s career has been eagerly followed by Arizona Senior Academy audiences for a number of years.  The latest addition to his musical palette will be showcased at the Academy when the Gabriel Ayala Quintet performs at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (May 20).

The program will feature Ayala’s original “JazzMenco” compositions and arrangements.  Ayala describes the evolution of the JazzMenco genre as an ongoing process of translating the sounds in his head into musical notes and instrumental textures, fusing the classical structure of Flamenco with the improvisations of jazz.

He feels he has found his ideal musical colors in the makeup of his quintet. The four remaining members are:  Troy Gray on bass, Danny Brito and Eric Hines on percussion and Richard Katz on keyboard.

Since last appearing at the Academy, Ayala has been busy touring in places as varied as New Mexico, Las Vegas, Minnesota and Canada, where he performed with Dr. John and Willie Nelson at the Ottowa Jazz Festival.  He also linked up with Tommy Chong (of Cheech and Chong fame), touring as a guitar duo.

As a member of the Yacqui people of southern Arizona, Ayala is proud to be an advocate for all things positive for Native American youth.  He is working to expand the mission of his Gabriel Ayala Foundation which awarded over 25 scholarships for higher education last year.

In April, the Gabriel Ayala Trio performed a benefit concert at the San Xavier Mission.  A July release is expected for a DVD and CD of the concert:  “Gabriel Ayala, Live at the Mission,” the proceeds of which will go toward restoration of the Mission.

Submitted by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer

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Gabriel Ayala Quintet Comes to the Academy: May 2014
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