Ed Fast Reaps Fall Harvest With New Album, Weekly Series, and Upcoming Gig
With the release of his fine new CD, Do or Die, and the launching of weekly appearances in the new Wine and Jazz Series at the posh Brignole Vineyards in East Granby, Ed Fast, the celebrated Latin jazz percussionist, composer, arranger, educator, and bandleader is celebrating full speed ahead in the fast lane with no detours in sight.
Most immediately on his agenda, the versatile multi-instrumentalist, who plays everything from congas and timbales to vibraphone and marimba, performs in the series with his quartet on Thursdays from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the Brignole Vineyard, a locally owned and family run, wine-making operation that bills itself as a “hub for local wine lovers.”
Ed Fast, Conga-Bop Jazz It Up At Asylum Hill Church
Drummer Ed Fast carried his Conga-Bop septet through two sets of lighthearted Latin jazz at Hartford’s Asylum Hill Congregational Church Friday. Moreover, he added a dramatic element to the concert by recounting his personal musical journey in words and photographs. The slide show — complete with brief but compelling narrative — was a brilliant stroke by Fast. He probably surmised that some in the audience wouldn’t be familiar with Hartford’s vibrant jazz scene, so he offered snippets of local and international jazz history as a way to introduce many of the pieces played by Conga-Bop. Perhaps Fast’s most affecting recollection centered on one of his unsung heroes, conga master Bill Fitch, who enjoyed a brief period of acclaim during the 1960s before vanishing from the jazz scene. Fast tracked Fitch down in New Haven and coaxed him out of retirement for a time. Conga-Bop performed a festive version of Fitch’s “Insight,” a tune made famous by vibraphonist Cal Tjader in 1963.
Ed Fast And Conga-Bop At Hartford Library
As the percussion playing leader of Conga-Bop, the hard-swinging Latin jazz ensemble, Ed Fast has become a celebrated figure in town through his band’s many well-received appearances in Hartford, including its soulful, sizzling sessions at The Firebox Restaurant.
As a versatile, Hartt School-trained percussionist, Fast is also right at home sitting-in on occasion with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, touring with premier Broadway road shows throughout Russia, China, Japan and South Korea, or gigging in backup bands at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun accompanying big-name, casino favorites like Aretha Franklin and Paul Anka.