Full Artist Bios
During his career, Alí has collaborated and performed with such figures as Johnny Pacheco, Eddie Palmieri, and Paquito D’Rivera. He has also recorded with bands of great tradition such as Orquesta Broadway and Africando as well as modern fusion bands like Alfredo Naranjo y El Guajeo, La Clave Secreta, and Los Jóvenes del Barrio.
It is much beyond the amazing Afro Latin rhythms that Alí’s strings reach. He has become a sultry sound in tango, regularly performing with Grammy winner bandoneonist Raul Jaurena, and a regular collaborator on scores with flamenco guitarist Pedro Cortés. His repertoire expands even further to include gypsy jazz and American folk music, as a member of the touring quintet Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo De La Vida. He has also infused the violin into the popular rhythms of R&B, performing live with The Roots, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z. Alí can be heard arranging and collaborating dance beats with Grammy winner producer Louie Vega and artists Anané and Luisito Quintero, as well as recording with award winning groups Aventura and Don Omar. His violin has backed up amazing singers of the stature of Mercedes Sosa, Susana Baca, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Alejandro Fernández, and Cheo Feliciano among others. From international performances to innovative recording sessions, from tropical Afro-Caribbean beats to swing and jazz, from arrangements in salsa to collaborations in Middle Eastern music, and from güajiro folkloric phrases to electric funk grooves, Alí Bello has proven himself as a musician with an exceptionally skillful repertoire and much more to come. Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band
Captivating audiences with an invigorating and fresh perspective of Latin jazz, Alí Bello and The Sweet Wire Band presents a fusion of contemporary jazz with many different Afro-Venezuelan and Caribbean musical styles.
The band has recorded two albums: Inheritange and Connection Caracas - New York, under the New York music label TigerTurn and Zoho Music, and have been reviewed as one of the Top 50 Jazz CD’s of 2013 by JazzTimes Magazine, ranked 4th among The Best CDs Released in 2013 by Mark Holston of JAZZIZ Magazine and has also been named Album Of The Week twice by the Latin Jazz Network, among other reviews. The albums’ many musical colors and textures create canvases of musical intermixtures in which Ali’s virtuosic violin, and it’s very distinctive palette of sounds and timbre, is the protagonist.
In 2019, Nicole's career blossomed when she and her husband, renowned drummer and bandleader Dan Pugach, were dually nominated for a Grammy® for their arrangement of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Nicole graces the stages at both the iconic Birdland Jazz Club and Greenwich Village's 55 Bar monthly. Before Covid, she toured extensively nationally and internationally. She was named in the top 40 under 40 for 2020 in Connecticut Magazine, and her weekly live stream during the Covid-19 crisis "Virtual Piano Lounge" was featured in Forbes in October 2020.
Nicole's critically acclaimed 2018 release, Hive Mind (Dot Time Records), earned the title of 'Best Jazz Album' in the 2018 International Music and Entertainment Awards. She was a finalist in the International Sarah Vaughan Vocal Competition and her original composition "The Coffee Song" won the New York City Coffee Music Project Songwriting Competition. Zuraitis has assembled an all-star female ensemble to record her project Generations of Her - Women Songwriters and Lyricists of the Last 100 Years while working diligently on her sixth album as a leader.
Nicole has collaborated with such luminaries as Cyrille Aimee, Thana Alexa, Dave Stryker, Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, Omar Hakim, Melanie Safka, Helen Sung, and Bernard Purdie. She is a proud educator and teaches jazz and songwriting worldwide, with highlights including Berklee College of Music, NYU, SAM in India, The Australian Embassy, and the Lithuanian Consulate. Nicole is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration from LSUS and loves to rescue and rehabilitate pit bulls with her husband, Dan. For more information, visit www.nicolezmusic.com or tag @nicolezmusic.own text and edit me.
Mexican pianist Citlalli Guevara and Bulgarian pianist Slavina Zhelezova, both winners of prestigious international competitions and awards, began their musical collaboration in 2009 as two young pianists in the Bell’arte Foundation Program based in Brussels. Working closely under the tutelage of Philippe Entremont and Nelson delle Vigne Fabbri, the two immediately bonded based on their shared vision for the unique artistic potential of the music for duo piano. The duo debuted to a standing ovation at the Palm Beach International Piano Festival (Palm Beach Atlantic University, USA) in 2009.
The duo’s debut CD, Midnight Conversations, released in 2017 by Centaur Records, has received high praise for its wide range of four-hand selections, including the duo’s own arrangements of Piazzolla’s tangos. The album has been acclaimed for the duo’s “daring,” “virtuosic,” and “blistering” interpretations (Piano News, 2/2018), “velvety,” “gorgeous,” and “opulent” sound, and “brilliant performance that's a lot of rollicking fun” (American Record Guide, March/April 2018)).
Most recent performance highlights include Mozart Double Concerto with the ISMEV Symphony Orchestra (Veracruz, Mexico), Poulenc Double Concerto with Xalapa Symphony Orchestra (Xalapa, Mexico), recitals at the Cervantino International Festival (Guanajuato, Mexico), El Blanco y Negro International Piano Festival (Sala Blas Galindo Centro National de las Artes, Mexico City) and the Duo Cycles Series (Simon Bolivar Amphitheater, Mexico City). Additional performance highlights include the highly-acclaimed Mexican premiere of Schnittke’s four-hand concerto with the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra (Guanajuato, Mexico), Schnittke Concerto with Zacatecas Symphony Orchestra (Zacatecas, Mexico) and Xalapa Chamber Orchestra (Xalapa, Mexico); four-hand recitals at the classical series at the legendary Cornelia Street Café (New York City), Harvard Club of New York City, and the Pro-Musica Concert Series in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. In 2009, the duo gave the Taiwanese premiere of Ziegler’s arrangements of selection of Piazzolla’s tangos (Taichung, Taiwan).
The duo has also appeared with various orchestras in Mexico including Puebla Symphony Orchestra, Sonora Philharmonic Orchestra (Hermosillo, Mexico) and Michoacan Symphony Orchestra (Morelia, Mexico.) Festival performances have included Schumann-Chopin International Piano Festival (Cuernavaca, Mexico), Palm Beach International Piano Festival (Palm Beach, USA), Taiwan National Orchestra Summer Festival (Taichung, Taiwan)and Xalapa International Summer Festival (Xalapa, Mexico). In addition, the duo has toured Mexico extensively with many sold-out and broadcasted performances, including Teatro del Estado (Xalapa), Teatro Clavijero (Veracruz) and Teatro Ocampo (Cuernavaca).