Currently one of the most influential figures in Perú’s jazz scene, Gabriel Alegría was born into an artistic family in Lima in 1970. Alegría’s grandfather Ciro is commonly considered Perú’s most famous novelist and his father Alonso is one of Perú’s most acclaimed playwrights. Alegría combines his experience playing Jazz as it developed in the U.S. with a passionate interest and careful study of the Criollo music of coastal Perú. By incorporating and exploring the common african roots found in both styles, he has developed a uniquely Afro-Peruvian Jazz concept. Through his compositions, melding the music of both cultures, Alegría has helped to carefully define Afro-Peruvian Jazz as the newest musical voice to come from Latin America. His previous four albums, recorded with his group the Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet, on Saponegro (Nuevo Mundo, 2008; Pucusana, 2010; El Secreto del Jazz Afroperuano 2012, and Ciudad de los Reyes 2013) garnered 16 Latin Jazz Corner awards including album of the year. In 2010 The Afro-Peruvian Sextet was awarded the “Latin Jazz Album of the year” for their album Pucusana.
Having earned a doctorate in Jazz Studies from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree from the City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College Alegría is currently a professor of Jazz Studies at New York University. His work teaching students at the university allows him to impart his first hand knowledge of the rich culture of Afro-Peruvian music to new generations of aspiring New York Jazz artists.