Charles J. Gans (Associated Press) reports that Havana has been chosen as the host city for the 6th International Jazz Day. [Also see previous post Cuba and UNESCO International Jazz-Day/.] Renowned U.S. pianist Herbie Hancock and his Cuban counterpart Chucho Valdés will serve as artistic directors of the festival, which takes place from April 24 to 30, 2017:
Herbie Hancock has twice before visited Havana to perform intimate solo-duet concerts with his Cuban counterpart Chucho Valdes, but at the end of April the two renowned jazz pianists will be collaborating on a grander scale.
Hancock and Valdes will be serving as artistic directors for the 6th International Jazz Day. On Monday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization announced that Havana will be the global host city for the event, culminating with an all-star concert on April 30 at the recently renovated 19th-century Gran Teatro de La Habana. The concert will be broadcast live on Cuban television and live streamed by UNESCO.
Last year, Washington was the host city with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosting the global concert at the White House.
“Many times we think of Cuba as having great baseball players, which they do, but they have amazing jazz players and we’ve experienced the greatness of Cuban jazz musicians for many, many decades,” Hancock, a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, said in a telephone interview. “I’m hoping that the true creative spirit and artistry of the Cuban musicians will be recognized globally.”
Hancock will be bringing about two dozen international jazz artists to Cuba. The roster includes Americans such as singers Cassandra Wilson and Kurt Elling, violinist Regina Carter, bassist Marcus Miller and bassist-singer Esperanza Spalding as well as saxophonist Igor Butman (Russia), trumpeters Till Bronner (Germany) and Takuya Kuroda (Japan), drummer Antonio Sanchez (Mexico) and oud player Dhafer Youssef (Tunisia).
Unlike previous International Jazz Days outside the U.S. when the host country was represented by only a few musicians, at least 29 Cubans will be performing at the concert, including veterans such as pianists Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Bobby Carcasses and younger musicians like trumpeter Julio Padron and pianist Alfredo Rodriguez.
[. . .] Valdes called it the “most significant” jazz event in Cuba since the 1979 Havana Jam when CBS Records brought American jazz and pop stars, including jazz-rock band Weather Report, for a three-day festival that also featured top Cuban ensembles, including Valdes’ Irakere that fused modern jazz with Afro-Cuban influences. [. . .]
[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]