Yoel Soto started studying classical guitar at the age of 11. In 1995 he participated, playing electric bass, in the Festival Jazz Plaza de La Habana with Bobby Carcassés, one of the most important jazz representatives of the island. In 1996 he obtained his diploma of electric bass from the National School of Art and the same year, before leaving for Italy where he stayed for several years, he collaborated with known Cuban bands like Bamboleo and Diákara.
In Italy, with the Havana Mambo orchestra, he participated in various festivals like Umbria Jazz, San Remo Festival and in many others all over Europe, sharing the stage with some of the biggest figures of Latin music like Tito Gomez. From 2001 to 2003 he was also part of Tribá (for many years considered as one of the most prominent multiethnic music bands in Italy), participating in the most important Italian TV shows like Buona Domenica (Canale 5), Domenica In (Rai 1), Il Volo (La7), and in Italian festivals like Arezzo Wave and Heineken Jammin. In the same period he was also part of the Diego Borotti´s jazz quartet (prolific Italian saxophonist) and of the project of Bruno Genero, pioneer in the late eighties of World Music in Italy and named as the best non-African ¨djembefolá¨ on the evening of the Grand Masters of Percussion at the First International Biennial in Conakry, Guinea (May 1999). With Bruno Genero´s project Yoel had the honor to play with several well-known African artist like Arona N´Diaye Rose, Baba Sissoko and Sekouba Bambino Diabate.
Yoel Soto is currenty living in Greece where for three years he was the director of the Latin All Stars Salsa Orchestra -the biggest salsa event in Greece- which has played with musicians of international fame like Alfredo De La Fe, Jimmy Bosch, Frankie Morales, Orlando Watussi, Luisito Rosario, Larry Harlow, and singers of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra (2005 Latin Grammy winner and 2007 Latin Grammy nomination) Ray de la Paz, Herman Olivera, Frankie Vazquez and Marco Bermudez. With the same orchestra he recorded and produced an album not yet released, with all the compositions and arrangements by himself. Other relevant participations are his performances with Angel Parra (important song-writer from Chile, son of the unforgettable Violeta Parra), the Lou Bega orchestra (European tour 2007), Tony Lakatos and Global Vision. His song “La Tengo Amarrá” was included in a film soundtrack of Antonis Kafetzopoulos “H gynaika einai poly kakos anthropos” (The woman is a very bad person). He is also the musical producer of ¨Profundamente¨, the latest album of the international artist Janet Kapuya, an uruguayan singer based in Greece.
With his salsa project ¨La Cucaracha¨ he has performed at an international stage in different countries like Greece, Germany, Albania and Cyprus, and in many Latin music clubs and festivals all around Greece. With his Latin Jazz Project he has played in several important jazz stages in Italy and Greece and he has recorded his first personal album “Waking Up” in Turin (Italy); the album was released by DDE Records, a record company based in UK. Vasilis Stamatiou, music journalist (radio Kosmos. 107 FM) commented about it:
“[…] then again, this is Cuban Jazz and, let me say, of top quality. Although most of today’s Jazz in Cuba revolves around flashy arrangements, lightning-fast horn phrases and exuberant multi-percussion layers, Yoel Soto’s approach is a clear reflection of his own human character: this is a relaxed, soft-voiced, romantic and kind of dreamy guy, so his view of Jazz is a melodic, deep, atmospheric and incredibly soulful one, concentrating on the creation of a sonic world that allows space to savor each note, submerge to the core of each composition and, most importantly, think and understand what this music is all about: beauty, poetry and emotion, all laid down and being proposed with an almost perfect balance between musical complexity, utmost progressiveness and spiritual sincerity. Of course, mighty afro-cuban grooves are very much present in here, as well as rich harmonies, impressive improvisations, some introspective vocals, a few nice lyrics, a good variety of rhythmic styles and an overall impeccable musical direction and (definitely) writing. Cha cha cha, guaguanco, danzon, timba, afro and bolero are merged with strong jazz lines, fusion elements and Brazilian overtones – an utterly modern (and very Caribbean in its essence) point of view that Yoel himself describes as “algo de soul con elemento afro, mi negro” (“some soul with afro-cuban features, brother”). Very precise description, I must add” […]
For several years he is a member of Chico Freeman´s project ¨Guataca¨ performing in many prestigious jazz stages all over the world like Ecojazz Fest It), Junas Jazz Fest (Fr), Kinimatotheatro Arsitotelion (Gr), Auditorium S. Chiara (It), Half Note Jazz Club (Gr), Megaron Mousikis Concert Hall (Gr) etc… Since 2010 he is part of Harmonia Misturata (a successful trio that cultivates a mix of classical music and Afro-Cuban rhythms) and Souluv of Yvette Michel Jarvis, an American former professional athlete, model, actress and singer. Recently he participated at the first International Nigerian Festival sharing the stage with Adedeji Adetayo (a Nigerian prolific singer, guitarist and composer) and the Nigerian Superstar Keziah Jones.