Cuba holidays for Jazz Lovers as JoJazz Festival Kicking Off Next Week
This year's edition of Cuba's JoJazz competition will take place in several Havana venues from 26-29 November.As usual the festival will be featuring performances by the country's latest crop of young musicians who battle it for the winning prize
Lovers of good Latin jazz and travel enthusiasts with a passion for music should hurry to book Cuba holidays for next week as the JoJazz Competition Festival kicks of in the Cuban capital as off from 26-29 November 2009.
This year’s JoJazz competition will be held at various Havana venues with the opening concert and ceremony taking place at the Amadeo Roldan Theatre. And like every year, this is the place where the best of Cuba’s freshest crop of musicians come to battle it out to win the grand prize: a financed record with the production company of Cuba’s famous pianist and Grammy-winning Chucho Valdes, the king of Latin jazz.
This is the event that brings together the best of young Cuban jazz newcomers, the best and freshest compositions and performances island-wide. The promotion of the careers of the participating young musical virtuosos has become a tradition with JoJazz that keeps many hopeful musicians working hard each year to qualify for the competition. The event is also a favourite for the capital’s musicians and students in general, and draws a sizeable local and foreign audience, many of which come on Cuba holidays just to be present at the event and enjoy the local talent.
And this year there is a particular 23-year-old young promise, who we have our eyes set on. Denis Carbón might look too young to be 23. He also might look too frail and skinny to be able to play his saxophone for such a long time. But what he demonstrates is that appearance is not always reality —all one has to do is listen to his melodies of elegance and youthful passion. Prior to the competition, we caught up with Denis in Havana to talk a bit about his craft.
Where did you study?
First at the Manuel Saumell Music School, and then I graduated from the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, where I studied alto and baritone sax.
What category are you competing in?
In composition, with a piece titled “Pensamiento.”
What inspired you to compose it?
I’m fan of the Yellow Jackets, but that type of music isn’t played much here. Still, I want to play it to see where it takes me. I’m a little romantic; I like combining jazz with other softer melodies. I hope to form my own group. I already have several compositions, not just “Pensamiento.”
What do you expect from the competition?
I don’t know. I’ve never participated. The competition is fierce; there are lots of contestants and a lot of high-quality work.
What has it been like to work with Rembert Duharte?
I have been playing with him for a year. After doing my military service I became a member of the group Nautilus. It’s been a great experience. I’d never played in a jazz group, which had always been my dream. My expectations are greater now. I want to form my own group and experience new things.
Do you have a name for your project yet?
No, I’m just beginning in JoJazz. We’ll see if it takes me on to something else.
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