The name Las Manos means the “the Hands”. These are the men who have the hands that create some superb music. Mark Finkin, Michael Hurt, and Pedro Perez have created an exciting sonic landscape, blending a mixture of traditional and contemporary Jazz with a heavy Latin flavor. The band covers a broad spectrum of styles. They perform a diverse repertoire of tunes by jazz legends Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans as well as contemporary artists Nora Jones and Santana. Keyboardist and vocalist, Mark Finkin offers up an aggressive latin percussive style and is the leading composer for Las Manos. Bassist, Michael Hurt offers both an acoustic and electric foundation that speaks to both the traditional and contemporary requirements of a well-rounded bassist. Congero Pedro Perez lays down the authentic latin flavor with tasteful reinforcement. Although Las Manos is joined by other artists to round out the sound especially in recording projects the nucleus remains the powerful trio.Las Manos’ tunes rely on intuitive improvisation by the players. The result is an exciting latin groove that at times is funky and street wise.
Ever since the early days Mark always wanted to entertain friends and family. Although it was a bit difficult to gain the approval of deaf parents for a skill they could never appreciate they were tireless supporters of the young pianist who later influenced a family to follow in his footsteps.
Mark has a 50 year legacy in music that started in NYC where he attended Music and Art H.S. and after graduating high school attended college in Kansas and Hawaii. After leaving school yet unfinished in the mid 70's Mark returned to NYC to play more rock and pop venues and also recorded with Boris Midney who was a prominent jazz alto player from Russia.
Mark later moved to Florida and formed The Expedition which is where Mark started to develop a funky latin artistry. There was also an opportunity to develop a sense of fusion artistry with Music of the Spheres and moved to Saratoga Springs in 1986 when he started working with Dick Spass and the Coachmen. Upon leaving the Coachmen Mark made inroads into local clubs in and around Saratoga Springs. Mark later composed and performed the music for Popeye Canfield which was a dramatic play performed at The Troy Music Hall and Cafe Lena's. Performing at The Lodge in Saratoga for over 12 years helped to hone his solo repertoire and allowed for original works and new arrangements to be perfected at The Lodge.
In 2004 Mark returned to college by attending Adirondack Community as a Music Major. Mark performed in the ACC Jazz Band and met some of the future players of the Latin Fusion project “Las Manos." Mark graduated from ACC in 2006 and transferred to Skidmore College under the University Without Walls program where Mark completed his B.A. under the instruction of Mark Vinci and John Nazarenko. Mark performed in the Skidmore Jazz Band for all of the 2006 and 2007 school year and later used several players from the Skidmore Jazz Band to complete his final project “The Greatest Gift; A Jazz Suite in Signs and Riffs.”This final project utilized a jazz treatment of 12 hymns to tell the Greatest Story ever told. In the performance Mark's youngest daughter Bethany Finkin played violin and oldest daughter Alexis Cole sang in the finale. This performance triggered a CD production of “The Greatest Gift; Songs of the Season” for Motema records that features some Christmas selections from the original performance.
After graduating from Skidmore Mark embarked on a recording project with Las Manos. The soon to be released “Time On Our Hands” is a collection from the Finkin folio that reveals the Latin side of Mark Finkin that has been influenced by Tito Puente, Cal Tjader , Eddie Palmeri, Michelle Camillo, Spyro Gyra and Al Jarreau.
Mark has performed at Sweet Rhythm NYC, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Troy Music Hall, Filene Hall, Saratoga City Center, St. Peters Church NYC , The Lodge and The Prime at Saratoga National.
Michael Hurt has been involved with music since early trumpet lessons in 8th grade. He grew up in a home filled with Jazz, gospel and R & B. Much of his early formal music training was in voice. Performing in his High school choirs and Madrigal group, he learned the nuances of music presentation and the joy of entertaining. In Buffalo State College, he studied music education focusing on guitar, moving from contemporary folk music to Classical to Jazz. Intrigued with the possibilities a professional career held he elected to minor in Music education at Buffalo State.
Over the past 30 years he has performed various musical forms Soul, R & B, Dance, top forty, Blues and Jazz. He has recorded and served as Producer of gospel recordings. Michael spent a number of years working in local bands as a guitar player and occasional bass player. In 1998 he focused much of his musical attention on the bass. For the past few years Michael has been a weekend warrior musician, occasionally playing gigs as a guitarist or a bass player. He is the bassist for St Georges Black apostolate Church and brings a unique soulful funk to the church music ministry.
In 2002 along with Mark Finkin he formed the Band Las Manos. Always intrigued by the exciting sounds of Latin music, He and Mark Finkin decided to create an exciting blend of Latin rhythms, and musical structures with contemporary and original tunes.
Pedro Perez began playing conga in the early 1970s and studied with Master Drummer Daniel Barrejanos. He has continued to develop his music, playing for such groups as Walter Hicks Jazz Dance company, Shamus Murphy's Jazz Experience, Nuyorican Baile Folkorico, and KUUMBA Afro-Carribean Dance & Drum. He is currently playing with Out of the Box and Las Manos.
He has often taught youngsters how to play the conga using the opportunity to connect them with their heritage, providing them with a creative outlet, and hoping they will construct for themselves a wholesome and positive life through the music they have learned.
He joined Las Manos in 2007.