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Edwin Blas is an acclaimed trombonist who combines a wide range of styles that reflect East and West Coast influences along with his Puerto Rican background. Edwin has been a member of the horn section for legendary Latin artist Joan Sebastian for 15 years and has also been heard with such popular bands as Grupo Niche, Al McKay Earth Wind & Fire and Los Tigres Del Norte, Jennie Rivera, Paula Rubio, Andy Montanez, Donmingo Quinones, Rock Band Vilma Palma, Eddie Santiago, Johnny Blas and his Latin Jazz Band.
Born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, Edwin was exposed at an early age to the Afro-Caribbean music, which he heard in his neighborhood. At that time, he was listening to artists like Mon Rivera, Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta, and Johnny Colon – but was particularly drawn to trombonists Willie Colón, Renaldo Jorge, and Lewis Kahn.
At 5-years-old, Edwin took up the trombone and by the time he was 16, he was playing in nightclubs and rehearsing with big bands. During this time, he started studying Jazz and Salsa music. “I wanted to be in touch with my Puerto Rican roots,” he says. “But I also believe that Latin jazz was really born in the United States. It’s one big melting pot here. In the end, I feel that we are all really one: North America, the Caribbean. We are separated by water but we are united by our culture and our music.”
While still young, Edwin moved with his family to California. There, Edwin was exposed to a different form of Latin music and the West Coast jazz style. He quickly embraced his new environment and organically began melding the different styles of music into his playing. He went on to study music at Los Angeles City College and Dick Grove School of Music. During his time studying, he got to play with – and learn from – such notable trombonists as Dick Shearer of the Duke Ellington Band, Mel Wanzo from Count Basie’s band, J.J. Johnson, Bill Tole, Roy Main, Bill Reichenbach, Les Benedict and may more. “I was so fortunate that I had an opportunity to learn from these legendary players,” comments Edwin. “They really showed me how to play and blend all of the genres together.”
Edwin has become a staple in Los Angeles music scene. For 15 years he has been seen in arenas, concert halls and rodeos throughout the United States and Mexico with Joan Sebastian. He has appeared on the Billboard Music Awards with both Joan and Jenni Rivera.
Edwin Is working on a new CD as an Arranger and Trombonist with Johnny Blas and his Latin jazz band.