These days, it is not uncommon to hear a musician speak of a particular formation -- a random group of professionals playing in clubs or recording with different players in a variety of configurations.
As keyboardist Federico Pena prepares to perform Friday and Saturday night at Bohemian Caverns, his lineup of fellow musicians will include drummer Quincy Phillips, percussionist Alfredo Mojica and bass player Romeir Mendez.
"I've worked with Quincy, a lot more with Alfredo and not much with Romeir," said the Uruguay-born pianist and composer, who studied under the renowned Argentine concert pianist, Antonio de Raco. "It is what it is [and] you keep going and make it happen. I'm the common denominator [and] the music will be fresh."
While Pena feels that good music is simply that, he does understand at the same time it is necessary to get a handle on the direction. The band, he says, has a certain jazz sensibility to it, but it's not necessarily rooted in the blues.
|» Where: Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW|
|» When: 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday|
|» Info: $18; 202-299-0800; bohemiancaverns.com|
"I really don't know how to describe the music I write," he continued. "You might hear a song that's got a Brazilian [feel] to it and that might be followed by jazz ballad. It's all very eclectic, you know?"
The Samba-like rhythm and sound, he notes, is more than just a product of where he grew up and who he studied with. Working as a session player in the studios was a real education and one he found to be second nature.
"What I learned in the sessions is that less is more, you know? The studio equipment is sophisticated [and] I wasn't given a lot of direction," Pena said. "I learned by trial and error and eventually got confident."
At Bohemian Caverns, Pena and his group of musicians will perform an eclectic mix of plug and unplugged pieces, while he goes back and forth between keyboards and the piano. The main thing for him is that the music is there on stage and worth exploring.
"I would like people to feel a connection to live music," he said. There are amazing musicians here in D.C. doing things on a world class level."