Cuban jazz festival kicks off in Havana

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A report from Miami’s Local 10 news.

Several renowned American musicians will participate in Cuba’s 34th International Jazz Plaza Festival which kicked off Monday.

One of the American artists participating is Grammy Award-winning trumpeter, composer and band leader, Brian Lynch, who during a press conference Tuesday said he is thankful for his exposure to Latin music.

“I’m very thankful I was exposed to the music of jazz and the culture of the music of their African-American creators,” said Lynch, who added it was that influence that helped him find a point of affinity to make his own music.

Lynch called his last visit to Cuba in 1987 as a tremendous revelation because he was able to meetCuban artists and experience the music of what he called “amazing artists.”

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Grammy Award-winning trumpeter, composer and band leader, Brian Lynch, said he is thankful for his exposure to Latin music during a press conference from Havana Tuesday. The American musician has not been back to Cuba since 1987.

“Cuba has a jazz tradition that dates back to the beginning of last century in New Orleans,” said Boby Carcasés, Cuban musician and festival founder.

Carcasés reminded the public that during Cuba’s second war of independence, there were some African-American soldiers who fought on behalf of Cuba and some stayed living in the eastern part of Cuba.

“They incorporated into our culture, playing Cuban-Afro rhythms,” said Carcasés, who added that it’s possible to trace Cuba’s 100-year jazz history back to that time.

The African roots influenced and helped create jazz in the U.S. and in Cuba it created Son, Rumba, Guaracha and other types of music that now defines Cuban culture, Carcasés said.

“Africa is the common denominator,” he said.

The festival runs through Jan. 20. Here is the full list of events.

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