100 years ago, on April 28, 1911, Mario Bauzá was born in La Habana. Today, he would be celebrating his 100th Anniversary. His musical legacy is enormous. Marrying Afro Cuban rhythms and Jazz, he is a founding Father of Afro Cuban Jazz (which over the years would evolve into what we now know as Latin jazz). He continues to influence musicians around the world. Being April Jazz Appreciation Month, let's celebrate Mario Bauzá [...]
Arturo O'Farrill is a self-proclaimed chatterbox and an interviewer's fantasy. In this, my second interview with the piano master and bandleader we discuss his family, his art, his philosophy and his mission to bring music education back to our public schools. As you will see, Arturo is a poetic and fearless speaker who makes no bones about the "machine," the "cookie cutters" and the future of Afro Cuban Jazz. In addition, Arturo speaks candidly about the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra's [...]
When the steel door to Kennedy Airport's Gate 8 slammed shut, Arturo O'Farrill was on the wrong side. With his wife, sons, and mother in tow one Monday in December, he was bound for Miami, then for Havana via charter flight. And though far from early, the O'Farrills weren't exactly late-the plane began rolling toward the runway 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Inside the cabin of American Airlines Flight 1141, Eric Oberstein [...]
Chucho Valdes and The Afro-Cuban Messengers Live at the San Javier Jazz Festival 2010. Murcia, Spain.
Maestro Chucho Valdés and the Afro Cuban Messengers performed to a full-house at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room. The show was part of the institution's Afro-Cuban celebration, which served to promote cultural and artistic exchange between American and Cuban jazz musicians and culminated in a series of events in Havana, Cuba and New York City [...]
Irakere was Cuba’s invention to enable the Cuban scene to compete with the international rock music development. The innovative band became a great success and won a Grammy in the 70s. The Cuban state cut the success tour when it forced the group to cancel their concerts in the US in favour of local events. The founders Chucho Valdés, Cuba’s most famous pianist until today, and Oscar Valdés, percussionist and singer, are two of Cuba’s [...]
Glenda Del Monte Escalante, aka Glenda del E, released her first CD entitled Q-Ban Mixology. It was an electrifying night at the Mod Club Theatre on College Street in Toronto, on September 23, 2010. Featuring a string quartet and many special guests, Glenda del E took another big step in her artistic career [...]
The Grammy-winning bassist Israel “Cachao” Lopez died in Coral Gables, Florida in March 2008, almost 90-years old. A maestro of legendary status and ultimately considered one of the greatest Afro-Cuban musicians of all time, he had made his home in the United States for the past four decades. American Masters pays tribute to the Father of Mambo in the series’ bilingual film, Cachao: Uno Más [...]
Chico & Rita – Animated movie by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal 2010 Toronto International Film Festival Review written by Danilo Navas A seemingly ordinary, but tormented love story between a pianist and a singer,...
Pianists abound in the Island of Cuba. Excellent pianists indeed, but only a selected group meet the high standards of virtuosity. Hilario Luis Durán Torres, better known as Hilario Durán belongs to that group. His nickname "Con Tumbao" fits him perfectly well. His percussive attack is killer. Born in Havana, Cuba in 1953, Durán never dreamed he would become a Canadian citizen one day, even less that he would make Toronto his permanent residence [...]