Q: Tell me about your background? Where were you born? Education, etc.
A: I was born in Louisiana and raised back and forth between Seattle and Boston, Mass. After my high school graduation, I was accepted into a private college of the arts in Seattle, where I studied with such jazz greats as Hadley Caliman and Julian Priester.
Q: How did you end up playing saxophone?
A: When I was young, I listened to old records of my grandfather on the upright bass playing bebop with his ensemble. I loved the sound of the saxophone and started playing when I was ten.
Q: Which do you consider your most important musical influences?
A: My biggest musical influences have been from Jazz. Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie.
Q: How would you describe your musical style as a musician?
A: That's a hard question.Ý I canít say exactly what my style is; I've been told many different things. I can tell you who I respect and listen to the most. They are Charlie Parker, Paquito D'Rivera, and Stan Getz.
Q: How is the Latin Jazz scene in Seattle, WA?
A: Seattle is more known for other kinds of music, but there is a great community of Latin Jazz players and groups here.
Q: As you know, the Latin Jazz genre is dominated mostly by male musicians. What's your opinion on being a woman performing Latin Jazz?
A: All music is generally dominated by men.ÝI have experienced many things being a woman performing in Latin and Afro- Peruvian jazz. The first thing is that most of the time people doubt I can play until they hear me. Men and women both normally appear to think that Iím the singer, then when they find out Iím the saxophonist, they doubt my ability. Depending on the environment and the audience, and the type of music, I have experienced sexism and obscenities from audience members and musicians alike. But I continue to do what I love. And I hope more women will be successful in music, especially the great female composers out there.
Q: What do you consider most important right before taking the stage for a performance?
A: Relaxation, concentration, and preparedness.
Q: Tell us about your latest CD and the musicians that participated?
A: My latest CD, Layla Angulo Sextet, was a wonderful project both to compose and record. The musicianship between everyone was incredible. We recorded live and didn't add much computer help, because I feel the best music and sound is the real thing played by real musicians interacting with each other. That's what jazz is. The musicians on the CD included the young new talent Carmen Staff on Piano, who studied in Cuba and is continuing her studies with Danilo Perez at Berkeley School of Music. On Trumpet, David Bayes, who earned his Bachelor's Degree in California and played lead trumpet for the Manhattan Transfer, and has been playing Latin jazz for years. Our very talented, Michael Glynn studied with bass master Buddy Catlet at Cornish College, and continues playing with the greatest jazz and Latin jazz musicians in Seattle. Our Special Guest, Arturo Rodriguez on Timbales played and performed with Tito Puentes, Pete Escovido, and many other great musicians. Zach Barnhardt on drum kit is an essential when itcomes to having many different styles. He's played all over California and Washington state. My Last, but definitely not least, musician and Co-Composer, Walter A. Torres brought his incredible style in composing. Having composed for many other musicians including Julio Ramirez and Diego Delcorral, I was very inspired by his work and was lucky to have him involved in this project.
Q: What do you think of the Latin Jazz scene in the world today in general?
A: Latin Jazz is growing in the world today and many people are trying new things with jazz. It's an ever-evolving music that has no limits and I am so inspired to be a part of it. I am incorporating something a little different myself with the Afro-Peruvian rhythms that are on the new CD. I will be composing more jazz with Afro-Peruvian soundson the next one, too. It's a very rich rhythm that the world doesn't recognize much, yet.
Q: What would be your ideal Latin Jazz dream band?
A: Michel Camilo on Piano; Miles Davis, if he were here, on trumpet; Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez on Drums; Giovanni Hidalgo on Congas; Changito on Timbales; Walter A. Torres on Cajon; and Cachao on Bass.
Q: What do you most want music fans to remember after listening to one of your performances?
A: I would hope for people to walk away feeling that they've heard something unique and honest. I want people to be left inspired and thoughtful.
interview by Bobby Ramirez