Formed in August 2003 by reedman Paul VornHagen and conguero Alberto Nacif, Tumbao Bravo has released five critically acclaimed CDs of mostly original compositions that have been featured on all the major jazz public radio stations throughout the United States. Winner of the 2005, 2007 and 2013 Detroit Music Awards for Best Jazz Recording and Best World Music Band, this combo has performed at all the major Michigan jazz/music festivals including Detroit, Michigan, Lansing, Birmingham, Raisin River, Great Lakes Folk, Blissfest, Wheatland Dance and Ann Arbor to name a few.
The title cut of their 2009 Cd was used as a soundtrack for the USA Network TV show, Burn Notice. Five of their songs were also used in the soundtrack for the feature length romantic comedy, “Bride Plus 1” released in 2018 and filmed in Los Angeles. In September 2018, the band released their 5th Cd, “El Nido-The Nest” which was featured on many National Public Radio (NPR) programs including the top rated, JAZZ AFTER HOURS and Miami, Florida’s WDNA–a mecca for latin jazz recordings. All band members have won or been nominated for individual Detroit Music Awards as well teachers at U of Michigan, Washtenaw CC, Jazz Camps and music studios. For the past 12 years, Tumbao Bravo has been presenting a program called “The Rhythms of Cuba” at numerous libraries throughout southeastern Michigan and the San Francisco Bay area. Other music performance venues include Chicago, Toledo, OH, Windsor, CAN and Oklahoma. Presently, the band performs monthly at the stellar jazz club in Ann Arbor called THE BLUE LLAMA as well as the DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE in Grosse Pte Woods and the new LUCILLE’S JAZZ LOUNGE in Toledo, OH. Our newest band members include Armando Vega on congas and Kurt Schreitmueller on piano.
Paul Vornhagen – Flute, Piccolo, & Saxophones Composer/Bandleader
Winner of six Detroit Music Awards for Best Jazz Reeds, Best Instrumentalist, Best Jazz Recording and TDWR, Paul has released 14 recordings as a bandleader on PKO, SCHOOLKIDS, INNER LIGHT AND STRAWBERRY RECORDS labels to critical acclaim. In addition to the Detroit/Ann Arbor Toledo area, he has performed in San Francisco, W. Hollywood (CA), New York City, Chicago, Hawaii, Mexico, Paris (France), the Virgin Islands, Miami (FL) and England. In February 2004, Paul visited Havana, Cuba where he performed as a guest artist with members of the Buena Vista Social Club, Cubanismo and Irakere in local jazz clubs and private parties. While there, he was also honored to perform at Grammy winning vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer’s 78th birthday party. Paul has also served as the Michigan horn section leader and baritone sax chair for the touring Tito Puente, Jr Band.
Music Festival credits include the Montreaux-Detroit Jazz Festival, Ann Arbor Jazz and Blues Fest, Birmingham Arts Fair, Berkeley (CA.) Jazz, The Lansing Jazz Festival, Sun Fest (London, ONT.) and The Michigan Jazz Fest. Paul has been fortunate to have had guest appearances with his Quartet through the years that include: Freddie Hubbard, Marcus Belgrave, Wynton Marsalis and vocalist, Abbey Lincoln. A dedicated private music instructor, he teaches 30 students per week and co-directs a Jazz camp each summer. Visit the website http://paulvornhagenjazz.com
Tumbao Bravo is excited to add Kurt as our newest member– a well sought after and versatile pianist known for his tight ensemble playing and sensitive accompaniment as well as an inventive, dynamic soloist. Early in his musical development, Kurt studied for two years at the Cleveland Institute of Music, four years of classical piano at Hillsdale College as well as private instruction with Detroit jazz greats, Matt Michaels and Gary Schunk. He has been playing professionally in and around the Detroit Metro area for over 35 years in various stylistic configurations ranging from jazz (Ron Brooks/Ralph Armstrong) and latin jazz (LL7) to pop/rock and gospel bands. In addition to performing live with many different artists, Kurt also has an extensive studio and production background, composing and producing arrangements for radio and television for over two decades. He is currently the music director for Oakpointe Church in Novi, MI.
Dr Olman E. Piedra – Timbales/Congas/Cajon
Dr. Olman E Piedra received his DMA from Bowling Green State University. He also received two Master’s in Music degrees, in Percussion Performance and in Improvisation from the University of Michigan, and a BM from Baylor University. Dr. Piedra is an educational artist/clinician for Amedia cymbals, Meinl percussion, Remo drumheads and Innovative Percussion. He teaches percussion and drum set at the The University of Toledo. He has performed with the Sphinx Orchestra (principal percussion), the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Italian pop artist Patrizio Buanne, NOMO (toured around the United States, Canada, and Europe), Roland Vazquez’ Latin Jazz Combo (Percussive Arts Society International Convention), vocalist Lauren Kinhan (from The New York Voices), Ken Thomson and Slow/fast, David Bixler’s I-75 ensemble, and the University of Toledo jazz faculty group at the third annual JEN convention in Louisville, KY. Olman has also been performing alongside Grammy Award winning artists The New York Voices at their vocal jazz camp since 2009. He can be heard on William Bolcom’s Grammy award winning album “Songs Of Innocence And Of Experience” with Leonard Slatkin, conductor, on His Name Is Alive’s “Detrola”, and “Sweet Earth Flower, a tribute to Marion Brown”, NOMO’s “New Tones”, “The Dreamer” by jazz guitarist/composer Paul Cohn, “Reaching for the Moon” with Morgen Stiegler, “Above the Sound” by pianist/guitarist Ariel Kasler, “Gran Danzón” with Martha Councell-Vargas, and with the University of Toledo Jazz Faculty ensemble CrossCurrents on their debut album on Summit records.
Check out Dr Olman Piedra’s website at http://olmanpiedra.com
Armando Vega- Congas
Conguero and vocalist Armando Vega grew up immersed in Latin music and culture in Detroit, Michigan. Beginning to sing salsa at seventeen, he received early mentoring from Herman Olivera, famed Grammy nominated singer with Eddie Palmieri and many others. Years later Armando performed with Olivera before a crowd of 30,000 at the Cleveland Puerto Rican Festival. Armando promoted his own CD (produced by Luis Disla) while touring Puerto Rico, opening for such latin greats as El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico and many other prominent artists. He has also performed with Elias Lopes, one of Puerto Rico’s most famous latin jazz trumpeters and Tito Puente, Jr. As a band leader and sideman with Tumbao Bravo and other prominent bands, Armando has built an enthusiastic following in Detroit. His stage presence is electric and filled with positive energy as he delivers sizzling conga solos and tight ensemble playing.
Patrick Prouty – Electric Bass, Upright Bass
Patrick Prouty is a veteran bassist/composer from Detroit, MI.
His previous side-man gigs have included playing with Bill Heid, Johnnie Bassett, Jan Krist, Al and Whit Hill, Alberta Adams and many other artists. From 2000 until 2007, he was the bassist for soul legend Bettye Lavette. During his tenure with Lavette he toured all over North America, Europe and Japan.
In 2007, Patrick received a master’s degree in improvisation from The University of Michigan. Patrick has won numerous awards including a Handy, multiple Detroit Music Awards and was the winner of the Block M Records New Music Award in 2006.
In October of 2007, Patrick released his first recording as a leader entitled The Charmed Life. It is a jazz quartet recording of all original Prouty compositions with an all-star cast of Detroit musicians. The Charmed Life won the 2008 Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording.
Check out Pat’s website http://patrickprouty.com
Paul Finkbeiner – Trumpet/ Flugelhorn
Graduate of Western Michigan University as a Jazz Studies Major, Paul has performed all over the world on cruise ships,the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Orange County Jazz Festival in L.A., Evergreen Jazz Festival in Colorado, the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and Symphonic Hall of Auditorio Nacional de Musica in Madrid, Spain. In addition to Tumbao Bravo, he has recorded with such stellar jazz artists as Paul Keller, Bess Bonnier, Jan Krist, Glenn Tucker, Paul Vornhagen and Phil Ogilvie’s Rythym Kings. Paul is the Jazz Studies Director at the Ann Arbor Community Music School.