The cats in Havana – 1977

The year: 1977.

The place: La Habana, Cuba.

President Jimmy Carter thawed the freeze between the United States and Cuba a bit by allowing a boatload of American musicians to travel to Havana to perform with Cuban musicians, the first such officially sanctioned visit since 1961.

Check out the young, very serious and (very thin) Arturo Sandoval and Paquito D’Rivera.

Smoking hot!

Personnel:

Dizzy Gillespie, leader and trumpet
Arturo Sandoval, trumpet
Stan Getz, saxophone
Paquito D’Rivera, saxophone
David Amram, french horn
Ronnie Jones, guitar
Ben Brown, bass
Oscar Valdes, chekeres
Los Papinesm, congas
Mickey Roker, drums

If anyone knows other musicians not listed, please let me know.

Also, if anyone knows where the rest of the tape is, I’m all ears.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
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Interview with Gilberto Valdés Zequeira – in his 90th year

Jazz on the Tube brought Gilberto (left) and his friend
David Amram together again in Havana after a 40 year absence

Interview with Gilberto Valdés Zequeira


Download the mp3 here

Gilberto Valdés Zequeira was born in Havana on August 16, 1928.

As a kid he listened to Chano Pozo’s rehearsals in the Colon neighborhood of Havana.

His vocal group had a weekly gig at the San Souci night club in Havana and he appeared on Cuba’s pioneering television channel twice a week in the 1950s.

Roy Haynes introduced him to American jazz drumming and gave him his first set of drumsticks.

He performed with his old friend Bebo Valdés when the two of them found themselves in Europe in the early 1960s.

He spent time as the #2 man at Egrem.

He was Dizzy Gillespie’s host when Dizzy visited Havana in 1977.

He introduced Irakere to Columbia Records and toured the world with them as their manager.

He helped save Cuba’s most important jazz club La Zorra y el Cuervo from being turned into a pizzeria.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of Gilberto’s remarkable life.

Click here to learn more about Gilberto.

Havana’s top nightclub Sans Souci (1958)

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
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Bobby Carcassés y Afrojazz Blues con Montuno

The latest album from Bobby Carcassés: “Blues con Montuno”

The last time I was in Cuba, I had the great good fortune to spend time with Bobby Carcassés.

A man of vast skills and accomplishments, he is, in many ways, the lynch pin of the Cuban jazz scene and has been for many years.

Born on August 29, 1938, he is an incredibly youthful soon-to-be-80-year-old. (We should all have as much energy!)

Here are three full tracks (with Bobby’s permission) along with a short bio.

You can get Blues con Montuno here

Caravana


Bobby started his music career as an opera singer, but switched to popular music working as a vocalist at the legendary Tropicana nightclub and dancing professionally as well.

As a sideline, in 1960, he was Cuba’s champion long distance jumper.

Along the way Bobby also picked up the trumpet, the bass, the congas and the drums.

In 1980, he organized the first “Jazz Plaza Festival”, better known now as the Havana Jazz Festival, which I can tell you without hesitation is today one of the great music festivals on earth.

Rumbibop


Over the years, Bobby’s been a mentor to countless young Cuban  jazz musicians – multiple generations worth – and remains a tireless promoter of the music.

He continues to perform, record, create events to help showcase other musicians – and paint. (He just had a gallery show in Havana.)

Son de la Loma

 

You can get Blues con Montuno here

 

– Ken McCarthy Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Fans: Please write to Downbeat and Jazz Times and ask them to review this and other major albums from Cuba.

Cuba has a globally important jazz scene.

It would be good as a matter of policy for US jazz publications to recognize that due to the vagaries of history, Cuba lacks a well funded jazz music promotion machine and is unlikely to have one anytime soon.

In the meantime, American fans and readers of these magazines worldwide are being deprived of a wealth of great and important music. 

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
Click here for details

 

Gandinga, Mondongo y Sandunga in Madrid

Filmed at Café Central in Madrid.

I haven’t been to Madrid in Spain yet, but it looks like it’s a good place to enjoy Cuban music.

Not long ago, we featured Chicas de Habana who are based there.

Here’s another young Cuban group in Madrid having fun with Gandinga, Mondongo y Sandunga, the classic Frank Emilio composition.

“Having fun” is a lesson some North American musicians could learn from their Cuban brothers and sisters.

Enough with the long faces. Music can be profound and fun at the same time.

Personnel:

Luis Guerra, piano
Yuvisney Aguilar, timbales
Reinier “El Negrón”, contrabajo
Juan Viera, congas
Michael Olivera, bongó

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
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Quinteto Instrumental de Musica Moderna
From the film “Nosotros La Musica”

Released by the Cuban National Film Institute in 1964

There’s a myth in some people’s mind that Cuban jazz began with musicians like Chucho Valdes and Arturo Sandoval.

With all due respect to those gentlemen, no.

The show starts at the 00:35 point after a brief piano prelude and then a second group comes on at 5:30. This music is from the early 1960s

The tune is “Gandinga, Mondongo y Sandunga” written by Frank Emillio.

Personnel

Frank Emilio, piano
Guillermo Barreto, drums
Tata Güines, congas
Orlando “Papito” Hernández, bass
Gustavo Tamayo, güiro

Hot enough for you?

The group is described as “Quinteto Instrumental de Musica Moderna.”

The film segues into another piece that features the dancer Ana Glorioa and Milacho Rivero’s percussion group

Released in 1964 by the Cuban National Film Institute which was formed in 1959.

I’ve been told, and I have no reason to doubt it, that the Cuban government frowned on jazz in the 60s and 70s. If that’s true, how do we explain this film which clearly celebrates jazz?

Here are many of the same gentlemen – about 20 years later – playing under the name “Los Amigos”

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
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Alexander Abreu and Havana D´Primera

Filmed June 1, 2013 at Yoshi’s Jazz Club in San Francisco

The jam (“descarga”) is based on Cachao’s “Las Boinas.”

The Cuba-based band Havana D´Primera is led by Cienfuegos-born trumpet player Alexander Abreu.

Back home, this very popular band is known for its “Timba” music, a combination of salsa, American funk/R&B, and the strong influence of Afro-Cuban folkloric music.

Sabrosa. 

Personnel: 

Alexander Abreu – leader, vocals, trumpet
Tony Rodríguez – piano
Avis Tobías – bass
Harold Díaz Escobar – teclado
Keisel Jiménez – drums/percussion
Guillermo del Toro Varela – drums/percussion
Mauricio Gutiérrez Upman – drums/percussion
Amaury Pérez Rodríguez – trombone
Jannier Rodríguez – coro
Enrique Luis Pérez – coro
Rogelio Nápoles – guitar
Uyuni Martínez Romero – trumpet
Orlando Jesús Vázquez – trumpet
Angel Batule – sound engineer

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
Click here for details