Manteca by Chicas de la Habana

I think Dizzy would have loved this band and this version of the classic he wrote with Chano Pozo.

Chicas de la Habana are, well, chicas de la Habana, young women from Havana.

They’re currently based in Madrid, Spain.

As is the case for so many outstanding Cuban musicians, it’s not easy finding information about them, but their music speaks for itself.


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You can now watch this video – and all Spanish language videos – with English subtitles. It’s free!

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– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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Thanks.

Harvard in Cuba

Harvard in Cuba

You’ve got to hand it to Harvard. They’ve got money and in this case they knew how to spend it.

This short video is an excellent musical and visual survey of some of the best that the western part of Cuba has to offer music lovers.

Cuban saxophonist, percussionist and composer Yosvany Terry directs the jazz bands at Harvard where he is also a Visiting Senior Lecturer on Music.

He arranged to bring the school’s jazz band and other students to Cuba for a nine day tour.

They hit all the hot spots: Güines, the home of the birthplace of percussion genius Tata Güines; Mantanzas, where they heard the danzon group Orquesta Típica Miguel Failde and the rumba super group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas; and Havana where they met and played with Cuba jazz patriarch Bobby Carcassés, chekeré master Don Pancho Terry, trumpeter Julito Padrón, and bass player Gastón Joya.

They also visited three conservatories in Havana, Guillermo Tomás, Amadeo Roldán, and the National Schools for the Arts (La Ena), something casual tourists can’t do.


Great news!

You can now watch this video – and all Spanish language videos – with English subtitles. It’s free!

Click here for instructions on how to turn on English subtitles.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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

 

A Night in Havana Dizzy Gillespie in Cuba

A Night in Havana Dizzy Gillespie in Cuba

In 1985, on his second trip to Havana, Dizzy Gillespie was accompanied by a documentary film crew.

The resulting film “A Night in Havana: Dizzy Gillespie in Cuba” captures Dizzy’s spirit like few other films.

The film includes beautifully shot concert footage of his performance at Havana’s Fifth International Jazz Festival, his adventures touring Havana and his reflections on Afro-Cuban and Afro-American culture.

As everyone knows, Dizzy liked to kid around.

He was also deep and not afraid to speak his mind as the film shows.

Featured musicians include: Nasyry Abdul Al-Khabyyr, drums; Sayyid Abdul Al-Kabir, reeds; Walter Davis, Jr., piano; John G. Lee, bass; Danny ‘Big Black’ Rey, congas; Gonzalo Rubalcaba; piano, and Arturo Sandoval, trumpet.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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

 

David and Gilberto in Havana

David and Gilberto in Havana

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.” – Chinese proverb

Reunited in Havana with the help of Jazz on the Tube,
Cuban drummer and singer Gilberto Valdés (89) and
US composer and instrumentalist David Amram (87)
work through the rhythms of a score together over lunch.

Jazz is an art of innovation, but it’s equally an art of memory, history, and tradition.  

Gilberto and David know what it was like when there was a free flow of music and musicians between Cuba and the United States and what a positive impact that had on the people and music of both countries.

They also know the jarring effect of having that free flow cut off. (This was David’s first trip back to Cuba in forty one years.) 

At Gilberto’s home, David and Gilberto talk
about the fine points of Cuban percussion.

Gilberto’s son is in Sao Paulo working as a filmmaker and when he visits he brings his Dad Brazilian instruments like this flute and pandeiro (tamborine.) Gilberto and David took them down off the wall where they were hanging and gave them a try.

At La Zorra and El Cuervo – the club in Havana where you can consistently hear great jazz seven nights a week – David and Orlando “Maraca” Valle on flute jam.

That’s New York’s Robby Ameen sitting in on drums. (If anyone recognizes the other players, please let me know.)

After we’ve paid the light bill and sent out the daily videos, this is an example of some of the the “behind the scenes” work Jazz on the Tube does to help make unique musical things happen in Cuba and elsewhere.

If you’re inclined to pay a voluntary user fee for your daily subscription and access to over 2,500+ classic jazz videos, we can always use the help and guarantee the money will be well used. Support Jazz on the Tube here.


Great news!

You can now watch this video – and all Spanish language videos – with English subtitles. It’s free!

Click here for instructions on how to turn on English subtitles.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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

 

Visiting with Camilo in Havana

Visiting with Camilo in Havana

As many Jazz on the Tube subscribers know, Jazz on the Tube is taking an active role in providing support to the jazz community in Cuba.

One form this takes is providing Havana-based jazz educator Camilo Moreira with scores, videos, and other educational materials.

Last summer, we brought Camilo to New York City which included a day touring music and cultural sites in the Bronx with Bobby Sanabria.

How are Camilo’s kids doing? You tell me. Here they are with “Perdido.”

There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is the music itself.

This is a high school band (ENA) and these are mostly underclassmen, new to the band and I presume jazz itself.

The band has only been working together since October of 2017 and this was recorded in late January 2018.

The bad news is that, thanks to US politics, this group will not be performing in the Essentially Ellington competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center this spring, something many of us had been eagerly anticipating.

Here’s the band playing a Cuban classic “Son de Loma,” a composition by Miguel Matamoros that pays tribute to the island’s musical fertility…”Mom, I want to know where those singers are from. I find them very gallant.”

The next piece was a surprise.

The audience clamored for the Philharmonic Orchestra of ISA (Instituto Superior de Arte) to play an encore after a performance of a series of pieces by Ray Lerna of the Republic of the Congo at Havana’s Jazz Fest.

They’d run through all of Mr. Lerna’s pieces – so they played one by their beloved theory and composition teacher, our man in Havana Camilo Moreira!

Next, Camilo’s nephew, age 5, tries his hands at the tambores (drums.)

Surprisingly, drums are hard for the young to get their hands on in Cuba (as are trumpets in New Orleans), so I believe Camilo when he says this was his nephew’s first try at them. Not bad.

A parting picture…

Swedish trumpeter and composer Stefan Johnsson, Camilo and his nephew who is clearly ready for show business.

Johnsson collaborated with Camilo and the ENA Jazz Band as part of Havana’s Jazz Fest 2018. (Note: Sweden is one of 188 counties NOT participating in the US economic blockade against Cuba.)

People who buy the Jazz on the Tube Insiders Guide to Cuba are helping support these efforts and more. All profits go to the cause, the cause being helping jazz musicians in Cuba develop their art and pass it on to the next generation. 


Great news!

You can now watch this video – and all Spanish language videos – with English subtitles. It’s free!

Click here for instructions on how to turn on English subtitles.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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

 

David Amram and Jazz on the Tube head to Cuba

David Amram and Jazz on the Tube head to Cuba


The album that resulted from Amram’s
last trip to Cuba over 40 years ago

Interview


Download the mp3 here

40 years later David Amram returns to Cuba….

In 1977, the Carter administration gave permission to a group of US jazz musicians to travel to Cuba the first such trip in the fifteen years after the Revolution there.

Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Ray Mantilla, and David Amram landed in Havana for a 36-hour musical whirlwind.

Now, forty plus years later, Amram is making a long-awaited return trip, this time for a week to perform at the Havana Jazz Festival – an invitation facilitated by Jazz on the Tube. 

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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