Alibi V.28 No.13 • March 28-April 3, 2019 

Best of Burque Music 2019

Individual Performers

Best Songwriter

Kyle Martin

David Felberg
David Felberg
Courtesy KSJE 90.9 FM

Kyle Martin has always been a favorite of Alibi readers. His no-nonsense guitar playing, starkly and plaintively expressed as riffs, are like golden country nuggets coated in rocanrol dust that blew in from Texas during a big storm; the songwriting beneath is just casually great, covering all bases, from honky tonk to hard rock. He also has an acoustic side that is notable for its authenticity. Albums like Alien Cowboy, The Atomic West and Broke Down demonstrate the kind of attention to songwriting that’s just plumb startling in its smoove execution. Check out “Dirty Flowers,” “Bad Behavior” and “The Bad” if you wanna know where to start.

2) Matt Kollock

3) Myles Chavez

Best Composer

Micah Hood

This fellow came out of the much lauded trombone performance program started by Karl Hinterbichler at The University of New Mexico Department of Music. Before that Hood did auspicious stints at Texas Tech and has recently appeared in league with local art music outfits Opera Southwest, The Figueroa Project and Chatter.

Hood’s work as a composer caught our readers’ ears this year. Influenced by liturgical polyphony as well as academic electronic music and the sounds of nature, his work is dense with ideas and musical forms. Besides art music, Hood also composes the scores for films and video games and has composed songs for Latinx Alibi award winners Baracutanga, too.

2) Tony Orant

3) Raven Chacon

Best Guitarist

Dimi DiSanti

A session player and member of several storied jazz ensembles—now and in the past of The Duke City—Dimi DiSanti is a jazz guitarist through and through and is known as the go-to guitarist of New Mexico, whose presence in any band or recording is seen as a virtuosic blessing. DiSanti spent years as the musical director for Latinx trio Sparx and is now in residence as the guitarist for Entourage Jazz. He is also in demand as a solo artist and plays many parties, weddings and festivals throughout The Land of Enchantment.

2) Kyle Martin

3) Chuck Hawley

Best Bassist

Maren Hatch

Maren Hatch is yet another illustrious graduate of the Jazz Studies program at the University of New Mexico. A multi-instrumentalist who also plays violin and piano, Hatch has been commanding the upright bass for more than 15 years. In addition to playing with Entourage Jazz, Hatch also jams with the Squash Blossom Boys and offers lessons on both electric and acoustic bass. She is currently pursuing studies in physics and biology, a process that no doubt adds to the joie de vivre that she brings to her performances.

2) Dawn Tarpley

3) Douglas Bellen

Best Drummer/Percussionist

John Bartlit

Jon Bartlit has been an integral part of the Albuquerque music community for over 30 years. A student of renowned percussionist and composer Christopher Shultis and a graduate of UNM Music’s performance school, Bartlit has forged his own musical brand, performing on many instruments, working as a teacher and composing heady works while serving as an accompanist for many local professional theater and dance companies. In the ’90s, Bartlit was a member of Skumbaag, the band that Alibi readers fervently wish was still making odd noises and fulsome tunes.

2) Mikey Jaramillo

3) Jared Houston

Best Piano/Keyboardist

Tony Orant

This year’s winner of the Best Piano/Keyboardist award goes to mad multi-instrumentalist Tony Orant, who just happens to play in two Alibi award-winning bands, Pink Freud and Zillaphyst. He’s also a music writer and contributes to several keyboard-related publications. As a versatile keyboard player, Orant is also known for his keen ear; he says he can jump in and play on any song, a boast that’s totally evident for those who’ve heard him jam acutely responsive improvisations in coordination with other players all over this town.

2) Roger Baker

3) Jim Ahrend

Best String Player

David Felberg

It goes without saying that David Felberg is one of this city’s most gifted and prolific musicians. The son of legendary local violinist and late professor emeritus Leonard Felberg and concert pianist supreme Arlette Felberg (as well as brother of awesome string player and doctor James Felberg) David is one of the founders of Chatter, programmers of challenging, exciting art music for the entire metropolitan area. He’s also the associate concertmaster for the New Mexico Philharmonic and the concertmaster of the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and attended the prestigious Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival.

2) Dave Devlin

3) Emily Anslover

Best Sax Player

Carli Marshall

By day, this zooming saxophone master holds a master’s degree in accounting and works at a prestigious local law firm. When she’s not wrangling numbers and the law, she’s the saxophonist for Pink Freud and does an all together electrifying job on Floyd/Freud tunes that feature sax solos, like “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and “Us and Them.” She recently appeared as a guest artist on Rue Badly’s latest album, Desert Dayze Mixtape.

2) Lee Taylor

3) Glenn Kostur

Best Trumpet Player

Paul Gonzales

The winner of our Best Musician of 2018 category in addition to his fine score here as Best Trumpet Player, Paul Gonzales is a trumpeter who has been active in the Albuquerque music community since the early ’80s, when he landed in the UNM Music Department on scholarship after holding the first trumpet chair in the New Mexico All-State Symphonic Band. After touring with the US Army Band, Gonzales took the time to study with jazz notables like Bobby Shew. In the ’90s, Gonzales fronted Tetragon, a notable local jazz ensemble. For the past 14 years, he’s been an indispensable member of Son Como Son, Burque’s Cuban salsa band.

2) Kyle Martin

3) Ryan Montano

4) Bradd Dubbs

Best Other Instrumentalist

Micah Hood

This cool cat also won our Best Composer Award. This fellow came out of the much-lauded trombone performance program started by Karl Hinterbichler at The University of New Mexico Department of Music. Before that, Hood did auspicious stints at Texas Tech and has recently appeared in league with local art music outfits Opera Southwest, The Figueroa Project and Chatter. If you want bone music, then Hood is your man; let him slide it on over with a heap of brassiness for listeners to enjoy.

2) TIE: Dave Devlin/Tony Orant

Best Female Vocalist

Delphia

I recall chatting with Delphia when she was just starting her totally with it rise in Santa Fe, about three years ago. Since that all-important interview, this smoky-rich singer has grown a tremendous local following here in The Duke City. With a combination of veritable jazz chops, a penchant for defying convention and a voice that is angelically authentic and full up with the blues, Delphia may very well be the greatest songstress to come up from oblivion and capture the hearts and souls of a nation that loves its singers of life and love.

2) Ariel Macias

3) Rachel Ross

Best Male Vocalist

Michael Herndon

The frontman for Fat City, a long-time rocking-blues unit straight outta Burque, Michael Herndon has been gigging for more than 30 years, supplying a rich tenor to many a musical project in these here parts. Herndon has a very dynamic style and incorporates not only jazz, but R&B and gospel influences into his work as a self-identified “vocal instrument.” In addition to his work with many local bands, Herndon also has his own project, Maiden Voyage, and is well regarded as a solo artist and has opened for the likes of KoKo Taylor and the Kinsey Report.

2) TIE: Adam Liston/Kyle Martin