Virtuoso Vibraphonist Plays Latin Rhythms

Joyce Linehan
November 17, 2008
Hear why the Smithsonian included Victor Mendoza's music in an exhibit at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Dec. 1.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Berklee College of Music and the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown partner for Berklee Jazz, a new collaboration featuring performances in a wide variety of jazz styles by some of Berklee's world-renowned faculty.

The first season ends on Monday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. with the Victor Mendoza Quartet. Considered by critics around the world to be one of today's finest Latin jazz artists, the Mexican-born virtuoso vibraphonist and composer's career includes performances with his own group and as a guest soloist around the globe. He has made guest appearances with the World Festival Orchestra under the direction of Paquito D'Rivera, and with the Milan Svoboda Orchestra in Prague; sold out shows in London, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and in Tel Aviv; and soloed with the Carlos Chávez Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City.

Black Bean Blues, his most recent recording, was named one of the best Latin jazz recordings of the year by Modern Drummer magazine and led Jazziz magazine to dub him "the genre's leading vibraphone practitioner" and "one of today's most resourceful composers." The Smithsonian Institute included Black Bean Blues in Latin Jazz: The Perfect Combination, its first major exhibition about this genre.

Previous recordings and performances with his own group, as well as with artists such as Paquito D'Rivera, Danilo Pérez, Claudio Roditi, Giovanni Hidalgo, Horacio "El Negro" Hernández, and Antonio Sánchez, have earned Mendoza the respect of critics and jazz fans around the globe. This is Why, one of his previous recordings, inspired Latin Beat magazine to name him one of the Outstanding Latin Jazz Artists of the Year.

Rounding out the Victor Mendoza Quartet will be Rafael Alcalá on piano, Fernando Huergo on bass, and Mark Walker on drums.

These concerts are presented in the intimate, club-like setting of the Black Box Theater. The Arsenal Center for the Arts is located at 321 Arsenal St. in Watertown. Free parking is available, and the venue is handicapped-accessible. Tickets are $15, or $10 for students with valid ID. For tickets or more information about the Arsenal Center for the Arts, visit