Cuban Art School Vibrating with Jazz
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
25 April 2017 / UNESCO Havana / Culture Portal for Latin America and the Caribbean
Two unforgettable encounters between music students from Cuba and the world were held on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 April. It was a magnificent debut for the week dedicated to the global celebration of International Jazz Day in Havana: the first in the University of The Arts (ISA) and the second in the Conservatory of Music “Amadeo Roldán”.
In front of the visiting musicians from different countries and students of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, Danier Seeff, Director of Programs of this institute in the West Coast of the United States came
The young jazz musicians offered a concert in both school centers that included several numbers under their own authorship and an impressive musical route by the History of the Jazz, from the times of one of its initiators in century XIX, the teacher of the ragtime Scott Joplin, until contemporaries like Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis, going through 1960s jazz, an expression of the civil rights struggles in the United States at the time.
Under the direction of Camilo Moreira Coro, the ISA Jazz Band offered a performance that included versions of “Mambo No. 5” by Dámaso Pérez Prado, “Amor Fugaz” by Benny Moré, and “Chinoiserie” by Duke Ellington, as well as the interpretation by the young pianist of the band of one of his own compositions.
In the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory, the young middle level students gave a show led by the female quintet “Nymphs”, directed by the cellist Kabila Franchini Suárez; The musical project “Ceda el Paso”, with the young and laureate pianist Rodrigo García Ameneiro at the front; and the the school’s jazz band, under the direction of the Master Enrique Rodriguez Toledo, also director of the band. The students performed singular arrangements of classics such as “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla or “Pita y Para”, by Francisco Repilado, and a wide repertoire of Cuban and international jazz.
But the most exciting in both cases was the interaction of the students of Thelonious Monk with their Cuban counterparts. It was a real splurge of virtuosity both by hosts and guests, who performed improvised jam sessions and exchanged knowledge in spontaneous “workshops” of Instruments, memorable “downloads” where talent and creativity flowed uncontainablely, after the scheduled presentations were concluded.
They were, without doubt, new samples of the power of jazz to unite, and to create synergies, so that the cultures dialogue through the notes of the most democratic musical genre. Those of us who live in it were, in truth, privileged.