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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - What a Difference a Day Made
Artist - Ermelinda Cuellar

For those not in the know, What a Difference a Day Made is the vibrant, thrilling, new album from Houston-based vocalist Ermelinda Cuellar where two originals join re-imagined jazz standards and Spanish songs.

It is a celebration of life and love through Latin music and straight-ahead jazz and one where the band playfully weaves a tapestry of textures and grooves for listeners to delight in and explore.

Furthermore, after losing her band member to COVID five days after the recording, Cuellar bravely pushed on to complete this project. What a Difference a Day Made marks American vocalist Ermelinda Cuellar’s first widely-distributed release. Born to Peruvian parents in Texas, Cuellar is well-known to Houston audiences as one of the busiest musicians playing jazz and Latin music in the region.

Her background, bandstand experience, and training in opera result in vocals with clear intonation, rhythmically precise improvisations, and passionate storytelling in English and Spanish.

1. Man with a Horn (3:16)
2. Sabor a Mi (5:08)
3. Al Mal Tiempo Buena Cara (original) (5:34)
4. I Could Have Danced All Night (4:02)
5. Midnight Sun (5:47)
6. Angelitos Negros (4:15)
7. What a Difference a Day Made (4:51)
8. Duerme Niño (original) (4:30)
9. Who’s Crying Now (5:16)
10. Historia De Un Amor (4:55)
11. Alone Together (4:32)

This acutely beautiful, masterfully created, and heartfelt at every turn new album of pure, unadulterated decadence opens on the luxuriant Man with a Horn and the Latin-sung melodies of Sabor a Mi and follows those up with the finger-snapping Al Mal Tiempo Buena Cara, the twirling ambiance of I Could Have Danced All Night, the luxuriously-sculptured Midnight Sun and then comes the Latin-imbibed Angelitos Negros.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites off this new album, the spirited title track What a Difference a Day Made and then the beautiful Latin hipsway of Duerme Niño is brought forth, which is in turn backed by Cuellar’s simply magnificent turn of Journey’s rock classic Who’s Crying Now, the album rounding out on the pure Latin balladry gossamer of Historia De Un Amor, coming to a close on the pleasingly fervent rhythms of Alone Together.

The project was conceived at the height of the pandemic. With venues closed, Cuellar wanted to create work for her underemployed bandmates. They began recording in December 2020, but COVID hit close to home. Percussionist Anibal Ambert came to the recording session with what he thought was a cold after a negative Covid test.

A few days later, he was re-tested and found to have Covid. His condition worsened rapidly, and five days later, he died. Heartbroken, Cuellar found it challenging to listen to the project or find the strength to finish it. However, she and the band knew Anibal would have wanted them to push on and put their collective work out into the world.

Ermelinda graduated from the Moores School of music with a degree in Opera Performance and worked professionally in opera and musical theatre for many years before focusing her direction on jazz. Upon hearing it, She felt the same feeling of enchantment and wonder that she did as a child and realized she wanted to go down this path and explore finding her own unique sound.

Many different artists and musical styles influence her vocals, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall, Sarah Vaughan, Kurt Elling, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Blossom Dearie, Susana Baca, Omara Portuondo, etc.

Her background, bandstand experience, and training in opera result in vocals with clear intonation, rhythmically precise improvisations, and passionate storytelling in English and Spanish. She has performed at the Trinity Jazz Festival in Houston, TX, in January 2019 as one of “The Jewels of Jazz.” They opened for jazz pianist Helen Sung.

Then she was invited back in January 2020; she was part of “The Bluebonnet Blossoms” group, which opened for jazz vocalist Roseanna Vitro. In addition, Cuellar has performed at many venues in Houston, including Cezannes, The Glade Art Center, CPAM (Center for Performing Arts and Medicine), The River Oaks Country Club, Artisans Restaurant, Plane and Level, The Boom Boom Room, MKT Bar, McCormick and Schmick’s and a variety of different venues and private events in and around Houston.

Ermelinda Cuellar - Vocals
Gilbert Sedeño - Piano
Greg Petito - Guitar
Anthony Caceres - Bass
Andre Hayward - Trombone
Marlon Simon - Drums & Percussion
(In memory of) Anibal Ambert - Percussion

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