“Kali's bristling tone and bilingual fluency has commanded attention in New York”
-Wall Street Journal
Since moving to New York City in 2014, Cuban trumpeter-composer-arranger Kali Rodriguez-Peña has been blending traditional sounds from his native country with the influences of some of his heroes like Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard, and the compositional style of Wayne Shorter's music, along with elements of R&B and Hip Hop. Solidly established on the scene, he is poised to become one of the leading voices of a generation of young talented Cuban musicians who are taking their best shot in the Big Apple.
Kali, one of the new Rising Stars of the Latin Jazz says: "I want to break with the concept of what 'Cuban music' is or means. Cuban music is more than what people think. I know my roots and I love them, but I also live in the 21st Century and I believe that one can add new things to what has been done before. I want to modernize Cuban music and merge everything I know and I've learned so far. I think is possible, and I don't have to lose my roots to do this".
Cuba's JoJazz Contest Winner 2009 and 2010
Finalist for the National Trumpet Competition 2016
CD "Familia" - Arturo O'Farrill and Chucho Valdes
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Kali Rodriguez-Peña was only 14 years old when he caught the attention of multi-instrumentalist and world acclaimed musician Bobby Carcasses, a mentor and inspiration as Kali discovered jazz music. Then, he began to appear in the most important jazz-related national events such as Jazz Plaza Festivals and The JoJazz Contest where he won top prices for "Best Improvisation" , and for "Best Small Combo" categories, which encouraged him to record and produce his first CD “Gente de Colores” (Colorful People), in 2011.
In 2019 he graduated from the renowned Manhattan School of Music where he was awarded full scholarship and studied under the tutelage of Jon Faddis and Stefon Harris. While attending school he began playing in some of the top venues and festivals of the USA and Canada including Montreal Jazz Festival, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Exit Zero Jazz Festival, Symphony Space, Birdland, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Black Cat (SF), Freight and Salvage (Berkeley), and Dieze Once (Montreal), to mention just a few. Besides performing with his band, Kali has also shared the stage and recorded with world-renowned musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Arturo O’Farrill, Paquito D’Rivera, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdés, Anat Cohen, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Miguel Zenón, Jeff “Tain” Watts, David Murray, Cándido Camero, Pedrito Martínez, among others.
Kali has been a guest lecturer at the University of California, Riverside on Cuban music and Jazz. In March of 2016, he was selected as a finalist for the National Trumpet Competition. He also participated as a guest performer in the album "Familia" by Grammy-winning artist Arturo O'Farrill and Chucho Valdez, as well as Michel Camilo's latest release "Essence."