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. 

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
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David and Gilberto in Havana
Louis Marks and Ropeadope Records