Chucho Valdés will inaugurate Jazz Plaza International Festival 2018
The award-winning Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés will open the XXXIII edition of the International Jazz Plaza 2018 Festival, which will take place in Havana this month, the organizers announced. Valdés, considered the live jazz player of the island with the highest international recognition, will once again assume the responsibility of opening the Cuban classic, considered one of the most important in the world. The event, with venues in various Havana venues and presentations from its previous edition in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, had five concerts in December, which included a tribute to the late Cuban pianist Emiliano Salvador. Sponsored by the Cuban Institute of Music and the National Center for Popular Music, and chaired by maestro Valdés, the event hosts the Theoretical Colloquium each year, where lectures are given. The Jazz Plaza International Festival is one of the most important music events in Cuba and since its creation in 1980 several of the most outstanding exponents of the genre have been presented on stage, from the American trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie to the French composer Michel Legrand.
The Havana International Jazz Festival (Cuba Jazz Festival) was born in 1978 when Bobby Carcassés, and other well known Cuban Jazz musicians, presented the first Jazz concert at the Casa de la Cultura de Plaza in downtown Havana. This is the origin of the title ‘International Jazz Festival Plaza’ because it finds its birth in this open-air venue. The Casa de la Cultura de Plaza hall, with its pleasant intimate outdoor terrace, is still one of the places where concerts and jam sessions take place. Based on this success, another Jazz festival was organized the following year, featuring pianist Chucho Valdés. Renowned artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Charlie Haden, Roy Hargrove, Jack DeJohnette, Danilo Pérez became part of the Havana scene on a regular basis.
In 1996 Chucho Valdés became artistic director of the Havana International Jazz Plaza Festival and president of the Organizing Committee with Alexis Vazquez Aguilera as the vice president. The festival has since expanded to include all the main concert halls in downtown Havana, not to mention impromptu street jam sessions along the Malecón.
Among the 2018 scheduled performing artists are Chucho Valdés, Arturo O’Farrill, Gonzálo Rubalcaba, Jessy J, Bobby Carcassés, Sandy Shore, Roberto Fonseca, Michael Lington, Harold López-Nussa, Jorge Reyes, Los Brujos, Iba Ibo Yoruba Specimen, The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, Wayne Wallace, Big Energy Ensemble, Anton Doyle, Doug Martin, CABOCUBAJAZZ, Gryssel Ramirez, Justo Almario, Yasek Manzano and the Cords Quartet, Naat Berahman, Michel Herrera, Ernán López-Nussa, Klimax, Orlando Sánchez, Bellita y Jazztumbata, Emilio Morales, William Roblejo, Alfred Thompson, Havana d’ Primera, Mezcla, Jesús Fuentes y Santo Tomas Conection, Oscar Valdés y Diakara, Ruy López-Nussa, César López y Habana Ensemble, Rolando Luna, Javier Salva, Aire de Concierto, Emir Santa Cruz, Jorge Luis Pacheco, Sexto Sentido, Alejandro Falcón y Cubadentro, Ernesto Camilo Vega, Ta Bueno Jazz, Gala Mayor, Habana Sax and many other local Cuban Jazz musicians.