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Catching up with Cuban musicians

Robin Lloyd with Cuban pianist and composer Dayramir Gonzalez at the Triple Door in Seattle, 2018
Robin Lloyd
KNKX's Robin Lloyd with Cuban pianist and composer Dayramir González at the Triple Door in Seattle, 2018.

Jazz Caliente presents a wide variety of rhythmic jazz from around the world, but what's generally called "Latin Jazz" has Afro-Cuban roots. Three of our favorite Cuban performers are on this week's playlist.

Award-winning pianist, composer and orchestrator Dayramir González was the first Cuban National to receive the Berklee College of Music's "Presidential Scholarship." His first album, "The Grand Concourse" came out in 2018, and since then, González has performed tributes to Los Van Van, and presented music workshops and master classes in schools and universities. He's part of the impressive line-up for the first annual NYC Jazz Piano Festival, taking place Jan. 13-16.

Saxophonist Jane Bunnett is Canadian, but has a deep connection to Cuba. Bunnett has been traveling to Cuba for decades to teach, perform and deliver musical instruments to students in the impoverished country. Her group Maqueque is comprised of talented and dedicated Cuban women. They've released three albums since 2014, and a new one, "Playing with Fire," is due on March 1.

Cuatro master Kiki Valera lives in Seattle, and is part of the Familia Valera Miranda, a family sextet that is known for playing authentic "son" music from the Oriente region of Cuba. Valera is a modern musician who brings a jazz sensibility to his traditional music. Kiki Valera y su Son Cubano will perform at the North City Bistroin Shoreline on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

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Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.