U.S. Classics in 2016 JAZZ PLAZA FESTIVAL
Originally written by Yelanys Hernández Fusté
Taken from Jazz mestizo a BLOG in Buffalo, NY, USA
Edition, adaptation and comment by Toni Basanta from Fairfax, Vermont, USA
Christian McBride, Terence Blanchard, Rachel Flowers, Arturo O’Farrill and the New York group Snarky Puppy were featured in the extensive billboard of Jazz Plaza International 2016, held December 15-18 in Havana and Santiago de Cuba.
Accompanied by an already notable CV at the age of 22, young Rachel Flowers performed two very enthusiastically received solo piano recitals in the Abelardo Estorino Theater Hall of the Cuban Ministry of Culture and at Casa de Alba.
INTRODUCING RACHEL FLOWERS TO MY CUBAN BRIDGE BLOG VIEWERS
Rachel also performed at 8 other satellite events during her 10 days in Cuba with such notable Cuban performers as Jazz Plaza Festival founder Bobby Carcassés at his home and at a live Radio Taino broadcast @ Havana’s Cafe Miramar featuring Cuba’s renowned flautist Orlando Valle “Maraca”.
Rachel also performed with the quintet of Power Jazz Fusion keyboardist Bellita, and with Canelas, the All-Women’s Afro Cuban Jazz Ensemble founded by percussionist Zoe Fuentes, both at downtown Havana’s famous La Zorra y El Cuervo Jazz Club located on 23rd Ave in La Rampa.
RACHEL FLOWERS, a blind multi-instrumentalist and composer released her debut album, “Listen”, in late November “Is it Jazz, is it Classical, is it Rock ? Yes!”.
Feel welcomed everyone, it is announced on her web page
Continuing the tradition of her idols Keith Emerson and Frank Zappa, Rachel’s style challenges the borders between these and many other genres.
Rachel Flowers amazing story and music will be introduced to the world in “Hearing is Believing = Oir es creer”, the upcoming 2017 feature documentary by American producer/director Lorenzo DeStefano
While DeStefano and co-producer Patti Channer were in Havana the film was screened at the Fresa y Chocolate theatre, for students of Cuban Fine Artist Pedro Gonzalez Pulido at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro, and in the Sala Caracol at UNEAC, the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists.
DeStefano is also the filmmaker behind “Los Zafiros-Music From The Edge of Time”, the very well-received 2007 film about Cuba’s much-beloved quintet from the early 1960s which received its world premiere at the Havana International Film Festival.
The Party Goes = LA FIESTA VA, and …. CUBAN JAZZ and its players can be many things at the same time.
Glad to hear about presentations of films during the JAZZ PLAZA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL.
IF HEARING IS BELIEVING = WATCHING IS ALSO IMPORTANT !
I do wanna HEAR and WATCH RACHEL FLOWERS PLAYING the PIANO and the FLUTE and also listen to her debut ALBUM ” Is it Jazz, Is it Classical Is it s Rock ” Yes, it’s everything, of course, that is the essence of JAZZ.
“AL JAZZ TODO LE CABE” … JAZZ IS LIKE A BIG BAG it takes it all and players, composers, producers re-ellaborate the info.
A good example, can be the albums of NEW YORK VOICES.
Another example, saxophonist PAUL WINTER and his band CONSORT who went to look for inspiration in RUSSIA in the 1980s and found it in one of the most incredible Mass Choirs on Earth, and have recorded several historical albums Together. This is not mainstream music or straight ahead JAZZ, but we can check it out once in a while. I’m sure you’ll all love it.
The Jazz Plaza International Festival happily and successfully extended its boundaries to SANTIAGO DE CUBA.
SANTIAGO is not only the cradle of Cuban SON down there, but Jazz Players have also grown up in Santiago and in all the Eastern regions as well.
Just to mention one, right now tenor saxophonist CARLOS MIYARES who is now touring the world with CHUCHO VALDES and The AfroCuban Messengers, and others.
Every time I introduced MIYARES with ALEXIS BOSCH and Pasaje Abierto I introduced him as a musician born and raised in SANTIAGO DE CUBA. Now he must be proud of being Santiaguero. HE and others are bringing JAZZ to their neighborhood.
What about drummer FRANCISCO MELA, saxophonist ROMAN FILIU, percussionist MAURICIO HERRERA and pianist ARUAN ORTIZ ?
THEY WERE BORN IN THE EASTERN SIDE OF CUBA and NOW ARE DEVELOPING SUCCESSFUL CAREERS HERE in the US. I have some of their albums with Top-Shelf Musicians.
Thanks to Yelanis Hernandez Fuste and ON CUBA.
Happy Holidays, probably will see you in December 2017.
JAZZ IN CUBA is progressing, yet steady; ambitious, yet serene : We are in the midst of an elegance dance into the future.
DJ Host of The Cuban Bridge on the Radio and on the Television