Made in 1964 and loosely translates to “We Are the Music”
Written and directed by Rogelio Paris (1936-2016)
This film was his first major project and he made it when only 28.
Paris worked as a documentary maker at the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) and was also a permanent professor of Filmmaking at the Faculty of Cinema, Radio and Television of the Institute of Higher Art
This single film could be the basis of an entire University course in Cuban music.
A rare panorama of Cuban music and dance from the 1960s. Featuring legendary Cuban musicians as well as vibrant spontaneous performances, We Are the Music captures the mood and vitality of Havana during a golden period.
Note: If you’re a jazz hound and nothing else will do for you, fast forward to 22:00.
You can now watch this video – and all Spanish language videos – with English subtitles. It’s free!
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.
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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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.