Cochemea Gastelum is a Brooklyn based multi-instumentalist, composer, improviser and arranger. While his saxophone and flute playing have been described as “crisp, lethal and adventurous,” he is also known as a skilled music director, with an uncanny ability to integrate disparate genres. He is member of Brooklyn based soul phenomenon Sharon Jones & the Dap- Kings and a notable songwriter on their Grammy nominated 2014 release Give The People What They Want.
Born and raised in San Diego, CA, Cochemea (or “Cheme” as he is known to friends), began gaining national attention while touring the US and Canada extensively with jazz-funk outfit, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress. After relocating to NYC in 2002, he quickly established himself in Brooklyn’s emerging afrobeat and soul scene, touring and recording with Daptone artists Antibalas, Budos Band, and the Dap-Kings. He has worked with iconic artists such as Amy Winehouse (Back to Black), Public Enemy, Aaron Neville, David Byrne, St. Vincent, The Roots, Beck, Mark Ronson, Archie Shepp, Queen Latifah, Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) and Daryl Hall amongst many others. Cochemea was also a featured soloist in the Tony award winning Broadway hit Fela!, and in 2011 traveled to Africa with the production, for their historic performances in Lagos, Nigeria.
In 2010, Cochemea released his critically acclaimed solo album – The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow — a body of work that is intuitive, inward, and timeless. With Gastelum overdubbing an array of different instruments and an entourage of 20 players, Johnny Arrow embodies the orchestral, carefully arranged, polyrhythmic sensibility of Cochemea, paying homage to both his unorthodox musical education and native ancestry.