Latin on Lex Jazz Fest: New Cuban New York – A Confluence of Cultures Converge in the Big Apple

Latin on Lex Jazz Fest - New Cuban New York

Day 2 of the 92nd Street Y’s Latin on Lex series celebrated “a snapshot of a musical movement that could only have taken place in New York City,” says Artistic Director, Brian Lynch.

The event featured Grammy nominees, Yosvany Terry, Pedro “Pedrito” Martinez and Manuel Valera, who among others made the pilgrimage to New York, remained, and enriched the musical life of the Jazz Mecca as performers, composers and bandleaders.

The performance was inspired by Lynch’s involvement with the players since their arrival in New York approximately 20 years ago. According to Lynch, “I’m proud of any modest ‘cross-pollinating’ role I may have played in working alongside these phenomenal musicians in both my groups and their own.”

The repertoire included nine original compositions: Dance the Way You Want To; Noticiero; Story Teller; Keep Talking; Aw Shucks; La Gloria Eres Tú; Harlem Matinee; Summer Relief and Descargando.

Highlights included crisp, sophisticated, grounded “en clave” trumpet work by Brian Lynch; admirable improvisations and use of harmonics by Lynch, Terry and Greg Tardy’s brass and reeds; Manuel Valera’s superb piano flows, Pedrito Martinez’s Abakua recitation and chants; the multi-talented Yosvany Terry, who effortlessly toggled (played) between the saxophone and the shekere without missing a beat; soothing acoustic work by bassist Hans Glawischnig and hyper-fluent trap work by Haitian drummer, Obed Calvaire.

At the pre-concert discussion, Brian Lynch discussed the underlying philosophy of Afro-Atlantic religious traditions, such as Yoruba and Lukumi, the links between Afro-Cuban Jazz and Afro-Caribbean jazz and their ability to evoke a state of being that touches the heart, body and mind. Above all, he explained why these musicians and their music have become an indispensable part of the New York jazz scene and modern jazz in the 21st century.

Kudos to the 92nd Street Y for giving the series a home and the Kaufmann Concert Hall for an earthy, organic audio experience. I look forward to Latin on Lex becoming a yearly event.

Personnel: Brian Lynch: trumpet, Yosvany Terry: alto sax and shekere; Gregory Tardy, tenor sax and clarinet; Manuel Valera, piano: Pedrito Martinez, percussion and vocal; Hans Glawischnig, acoustic bass Obed Calvaire: drums.

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Photos by Andrew James

Antonio Mondesire
Antonio Mondesire
I am an Ifa Priest — an “Awo Ifa Ol’Obatala”……. Spiritual Counselor / Mentor and Educator…… When addressed and respectfully referred to as “Babalawo” (Father of Esoteric Knowledge), I humbly and graciously accept the title.

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