It might be the dream of many to entertain for a living, but with the gift of self-expression, there comes a price to pay. Life in the recording studio and on the road can be a lonely job, and it’s all in a day’s work for Luis Disla. Kreol caught up with this gifted musician to learn more about his habits, opinions and background
You don’t have to be a devotee of contemporary Latin jazz to be a fan of Luis Disla, who is adept at taking listeners on a musical journey with his precise, charismatic playing. Having recorded music for Burger King advertisements, movies and hit TV series’, Luis’s big break came when he was nominated for a Grammy Award. That led to a life which is consumed with music, especially now he has launched his own solo career with project: ‘The Prophecy’.
He has become dedicated to achieving true excellence in his field, but that can sometimes come at a cost to human relationships, which can be hard to cultivate when constantly touring. As such, Luis must be one of the most eligible bachelors out there!
He elaborates on his dedication to a career as a performer: “Music is a very lonely field. You have to be alone to practice and compose but I enjoy having that space. It helps me express my own self and put me more in the spotlight. Some of the members of my band, Armando and Hector, are married. But I’m not married at this moment.” Luis admits it is hard to keep a relationship when his focus is constant gigging but points out that “sometimes you’ll find the right person and it can be worked out”.
13: Lucky for Me
‘La 313’ was the name of the tropical salsa record which led to Luis’s nomination for a Grammy, along with his band mates Armando Vega and Hector Montijo. Like many musical projects, La 313 was born partly by chance, according to Luis – who can now be called a producer and composer, as well as saxophonist and flautist.
Luis explained the origins of the La 313 name to us, and how the project came about: “La 313 the name, I came up with the idea because the singer Armando Vega and the composer Hector Montijo lived in Detroit, and I was always dialling the number on my cell phone. Also, 13 is my favourite number because I was born on 13th July. Armando came to Miami to see me perform at a night club and asked me if I would be interested in producing and arranging some songs for him. After I heard him sing I told him that I was very interested and we started working on the first song ‘Nunca Pense’. A few months later I met Hector, who was the composer of the lyrics.”
Music and Musical Influences
Like many musicians who live and breathe their craft, Luis’s musical influences run deep, and his mother’s choice of music, namely Tito Rodriguez and Sergio Mendez, had a profound influence on him. Things could have turned out very differently for him, however, and Luis says he could have easily become a lawyer or architect instead of a musician: “I got accepted to University of Lowell to be an architect, but I decided for Berklee College Of Music and the rest is ‘The Prophecy’.”
You might say that a musician is only as interesting as his own influences. John Peel, the legendary British DJ, once said he could tell which records a band had been listening to by hearing their work. For Luis, drawing on his own inspirations is no problem, thanks to an extensive music collection: “I have over 3,000 vinyl LPs and around the same CDs. My iPod collection must have over 30,000 songs.”
Despite achieving what many musicians can spend their whole career striving for, Luis is still able to dream, and he becomes most animated when posed the question: “if you could get any musician, living or passed away, who would be in your dream band?”
“Wow, great question,” he enthuses. “Other than the people I’ve worked with, George Duke would be on piano, Jaco Pastorius on bass, Billy Cobham on drums, Jimi Hendrix on guitar (it is going to be wild but fun), Tito Puente on timbales and Mongo Santamaria on the congas.”
So if you are yet to discover Luis Disla, you are certainly not a latecomer, as this talented performer seems to be riding on the crest of a wave at the moment. “What should I listen to first?” we hear you ask, and we will leave the answer for that question to Luis himself: “Brigette – the melody and harmony are very beautiful and sophisticated.