Come join me in Harlem this Fall for some exciting and free-of-charge events.
I’m thrilled to extend my long relationship with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem with a new series of discussions and listening sessions at the museum’s lovely new location on West 129th Street—NYC: The Afro-Cuban Beat.
My previous programs at NJMIH focused on New Orleans since the flood; these were low-key, in-depth and always highly charged conversations, rich with audience participation and musical interludes.
This new series explores a current flowering of Afro-Cuban influence along New York’s jazz landscape. My guests include: Yosvany Terry (September 22:); David Virelles and Román Díaz (October 18:); Arturo O’Farrill (November 7); and Michele Rosewoman (November 15). Details and links below.
58 West 129th Street
Harlem, New York, NY 10027
All sessions 7:00-8:30pm
NYC: The Afro-Cuban Beat
Hosted by Larry Blumenfeld
While covering New York’s jazz scene for the Wall Street Journal and other publications, Larry Blumenfeld’s working beat increasingly focuses on Afro-Cuban rhythms and traditions, often as expressed in unexpected ways. Through conversations and listening sessions with some of New York’s prominent jazz innovators, Blumenfeld (whose previous museum programs focused on New Orleans) will explore how Cuban musicians have developed their voices in New York City, how musicians raised here have been drawn to Cuban traditions, and how a rich legacy of cross-cultural collaboration has flowered anew.
New Thrones, New Kings: Saxophonist and bandleader Yosvany Terry, a Harlem resident who also directs Harvard University’s jazz ensembles, discusses: growing in Cuba’s Camagüey province; the influence of his father, Eladio “Don Pancho” Terry, a violinist and master of the chekeré; his early experience in Cuba’s influential group, Columna B; his collaborations with musicians such as Steve Coleman; and his own ground-breaking New York-based groups that combine Cuban tradition with jazz and classical forms.
History, Mystery and Modernism: Pianist and composer David Virelles mines traditions of his native Santiago, Cuba, while using his current home in Brooklyn as a base for some of New York’s most striking and progressive music. Since coming to the U.S. in 1999, master percussionist, scholar and composer Román Díaz has been mentor to many musicians, key player in several ensembles, a spiritual guide to wide-ranging scene. Virelles and Díaz will discuss and demonstrate the religious and ritual systems they mine for their musical collaborations and the ways in which they innovate.
The Conversation Continued: Grammy-winning pianist and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill reflects on: the journey of his father, composer Chico O’Farrill, from Cuba to Manhattan; his own journeys in reverse; the founding and development of his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra; the present diplomatic embrace between the U.S. and Cuba; and his dream of an expansive, borderless musical tradition.
New Yor-Uba, Then and Now: More than 30 years ago, pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman’s parallel paths—jazz and Afro-Cuban folklore—merged into a compelling whole in New York through her New Yor-Uba ensemble. Rosewoman will describe the awakening that led to that group, remember her studies with the late Orlando “Puntilla” Ríos, and explain the cross-generational way in which she has rekindled that group’s flame.
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