Jazz Caliente: Celebrating ¡Cubanismo!
"Cubanismo" is defined as something that's uniquely Cuban; that is, specific to the culture of the island and not common to the rest of Spanish-influenced Latin America.
In 1995, a group of conservatory-trained musicians with a deep appreciation for the Afro-Cuban popular music called "son" gathered in EGREM Studios in Havana. They recorded a tribute to "the unquenchable spirit of of Cuban music bridging across generations." They called the band and the album ¡Cubanismo!
The leader of ¡Cubanismo! is trumpeter Jesús Alemañy. He was only 15 when he started playing with a similar group, Sierra Maestra in Cuba. That's the group that our friend Juan de Marcos Gonzalez founded in 1976, well before the Buena Vista Social Club enchanted the world with their recordings, concerts and films. Sierra Maestra was wildly popular in Cuba and toured all over Europe.
Jesús Alemañy and Juan de Marcos both left Sierra Maestra in 1996. Juan de Marcos went on to form the Afro Cuban All Stars, and Jesús took his ¡Cubanismo! project on the road.
Jesús Alemañy's ¡Cubanismo! will be in Seattle on Sunday April 22 to play two shows at the Triple Door.
I'll start this week's Saturday Jazz Caliente with "Tumbao de Coqueta" from that 1995 ¡Cubanismo! album.
Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.