Cuba testifies to the power of jazz

Chucho Valdés

Havana is the place to be this week. Indeed, several world-famous jazz musicians are currently in Cuba for workshops, lectures and especially to celebrate, this coming April 30, the International Jazz Day with a special concert in the Great Theater of Havana-Alicia Alonso.

Yasek Manzano - bien

Cuba will be, for the first time, the venue for the celebration of World Jazz Day on April 30th. Six years after the first edition of the celebration established by UNESCO, the Caribbean island will host a concert featuring Cuban and foreign jazz personalities at the Great Theater of Havana-Alicia Alonso

The concert will be conducted by the maestro Chucho Valdés and American pianist, keyboardist and composer Herbie Hancock who chairs the Thelonious Monk Institute and was named, in 2011, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Twelve titles in all will be performed in the García Lorca Hall of the Great Theater where will play very important jazz musicians such as: Marcus Miller (USA), Kenny Garrett (USA), John Beasley (USA), Ambrose Akinmusire (Cuba), Emilio Vega (Cuba), Carl Allen (USA), Richard Bona (Cameroon), Till Brönner (Germany), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russia), Bobby Carcassés (Cuba), Esperanza Spalding (USA), Ivan Lins (Brazil), Sixto Llorente “El Indio” (Cuba), Gianluca Petrella (Italy), Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Cuba) and Harold López-Nussa (Cuba).

Quincy Jones - C

The legend Quincy Jones is expected in Cuba

Celebrations for World Jazz Day began this Monday April 24 in Havana in different spaces and schools of the Cuban capital. Workshops on the history of jazz, lectures and downloads will take place in Los Jardines del Mella, La Zorra y el Cuervo, National School of Art, Jazz Café, Amphitheater of Guanabacoa, El Tablao del Gran Teatro de La Habana, La Fábrica de Arte de Cuba, El Teatro Nacional and El Pabellón Cuba, among other spaces throughout the week.

In addition to the planned concert, jazz lovers on the Island are waiting for the announcement of Quincy Jones’s visit, one of the most influential producers of music history, who first visited Cuba before 1959 and now wants to travel to Cuba and to share with the Cuban musicians.

World Jazz Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 and the first celebration took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 2012 then in Istanbul in 2013, Osaka in 2014, Paris in 2015 and Washington in 2016.

Esperanza Spalding - D

Jazz for shared values and aspirations

The usual organizers of the International Jazz Day are UNESCO, Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute and Herbie Hancock himself, and in Cuba are added the Ministry of Culture and its Cuban Institute of Music.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, welcomed the concert with a message sent to the artists and promoters of the event : “For UNESCO, it is an honor to join again with the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute and the Cuban Institute of Music, to raise jazz as a flag of freedom, creativity, diversity and unity (…) the focus which we put this year in Cuba is to testify to the power of jazz to build bridges and unite women and men around shared values and aspirations”, said the diplomat.