A work that illustrated the ability of music to elevate us from social and political unrest to the greatest heights of humanity.
Since the late 1990s, JALC has celebrated Cuban music with collaborations with some of the island nation’s finest musicians like Celia Cruz, Israel “Cachao” López, Candido Camero, and Bebo Valdés, including a landmark Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra residency in 2010. Continuing this tradition, the 2014-15 season opened with a world premiere commission featuring influential pianist, composer, and arranger Chucho Valdés; rising star percussionist and vocalist Pedrito Martinez; and JALC’s own Wynton Marsalis writing for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Together, they blended jazz with the traditional folkloric music of Cuba and the Santería religion to create a work that illustrated the ability of music to elevate us from social and political unrest to the greatest heights of humanity. Valdés, a multi-GRAMMY® Award winner, is a major cultural force both as a highly successful solo artist, and as an elder statesman of the Afro-Cuban Messengers. Martinez has taken the Latin jazz world by storm, placing first in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2000, performing on more than 100 recordings to date, and leading his own vivacious, self-titled group. Other accolades include: Jazz Journalist’s Association, Percussionist of the Year, 2015; winner, Sphinx Award for Excellence, 2015; one of “80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today”, June 2015, DownBeat Magazine. Drawing from the multi-ethnic underpinnings of Afro-Cuban music, this performance explored the ties that bind us and commemorate the rich history of Cuban culture.
Wynton Marsalis, Pedrito Martinez, Chucho Valdés, Roman Diaz, Clemente Medina, Denise Ola DeJean, Amma D. McKen, Dreiser Durruthy Bambolé, Yesenia Fernandez Selier, Walter Blanding, Chris Crenshaw, Vincent Gardner, Victor Goines, Carlos Henriquez, Sherman Irby, Ali Jackson, Ryan Kisor, Elliot Mason, Ted Nash, Paul Nedzela, Dan Nimmer, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton, Joe Temperley, Gregory Gisbert