Cuban jazz has two large branches; one with african drums & traditional Carribbean rhythms, and another with european/American trap drums (or no drums) and more continental scoring. There is a lot more than this to afro-Cuban jazz. However we’ll use this simple guide of afro-Cuban or euro-Cuban material in mentioning pieces here.
One magic of visiting Cuba is the appearance of great in-country performers who don’t have the reach to tour internationally, or distribute their work out of country that we can obtain. We get to see these people by visiting there. This review series on Cuban jazz will look for the in-country artists, while bringing out both local and international Cuban talent.
The Fox & Crow (“La Zorra y El Quervo”) is almost *the* most popular Havana jazz club. It can have a mix of material, leaning toward the afro-Cuban side. The performances can be pretty wide-open and free-wheeling. Take a look at these: a William Vivanco jam session in the club by the singer/guitarist/bandleader, a song by the vocal group Sixth Sense (“Sexto Sentido”), and a piece by an unnamed group. Also see a William’s band song, and another song William recorded in an unnamed location.
While the live jazz music sets start “really late” in the evening, the Fox & Crow appears to have performers booked almost every evening. There is quite a mix of local & international talent going through the downtown clubs so consult club calendars or performance billings to see who will be on for you.
The Fox & Crow is one of the two downtown state-owned jazz clubs. They serve music, food, and drinks, and focus on the music. Consult your travel guides on what to expect in offerings and facilities. The club places a food & drink minimum charge at the door of about $10 American.
If you haven’t see the part 1 of 6 of this series you can click here, which will take you down the blog column to that post.
This Cuban series relates to the KCSM Spring 2015 jazz tour to Cuba, and to the second tour coming this October. For October tour information consult the KCSM site: in your browser search: KCSM Jazz 91 >> half way down on the home page right side will be a button, “Travel To Cuba…”, “click here,” taking you to tour information. This button will stay up until the October tour is filled.