Cuba’s Jazz Plaza 2021 goes online this January

This January is Cuba’s 36th Jazz Plaza Festival and not wanting to cancel it due to the pandemic it has gone online which also allows the rest of us to lap up this rich offering of the broad spectrum of jazz on the island without leaving home.

From 19-24 January this world-renowned musical festival is offering many hours of continuous programming on YouTube, #StreamingCuba and Cuban TV’s Canal Clave. What is on offer is incredible so if you are a jazz fan you must feast on it now. If you don’t know much about jazz or Cuban jazz you can watch this short film about the festival and its music, the importance of jazz within Cuban culture, with english subtitles, here – with clips filmed during last year’s festival.

This year’s festival brings to the stage the Cuban jazz maestro Bobby Carcassés, the Síntesis group, the pianists Roberto Fonseca and Rolando Luna, the flautist Orlando Valle “Maraca” and the percussionist Ruy López Nussa, among others.

There is a significant theoretical part to the festival as always and you can view interviews and discussions (in Spanish, no English subtitles) from the Jazz Plaza International Colloquium, with Cuban and foreign jazz musicians and experts plus masterclasses.

As part of a special tribute to musician Miguel Failde, on the centenary of his death, Janio Abreu, Harold López-Nussa and Ethiel Failde discussed the lasting legacy of this great of Cuban music, especially the influence of danzón in jazz. There is also a special panel discussion on Armando Romeu González, a Cuban jazz master, 110 years since the birth of the famous director and composer. Top Cuban jazz musicians are participating in the discussion as well as performing such as Bobby Carcasses. Eduardo Sandoval, Roberto García and Michel Herrera will be talking about the Cuban school of brass in jazz. The theme of the use of electronics in jazz: a creative universe, will be discussed by Roberto Fonseca, Yandy Martínez and Ruly Herrera (Cuba).

But if you can’t follow the spanish there are plenty of brilliant concerts to watch and listen to. There are broadcasts of one hour jazz descargas (jams) plus short concerts (around 25 minutes) under the hashtag #estamoscontigo (‘We Are With You’) plus shorter video clips.

Canal Clave presents a concert tribute to legendary rumba group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas (marking their 69 years as a group), with pianist Alejandro Falcon to premiere the forthcoming DVD Jazz with Guaguancó. Co-produced by the record companies Egrem and Bis Music, as well as by the National Centre for Popular Music.

Watch the tribute to Los Muñequitos de Matanzas with pianist Alejandro Falcón

Homage to Cuban rumba group Los Munequitos de Matanzas with Alejandro Falcon at #jazzplaza2021

Here are a few examples of the descargas and live performances:

Enjoy this immaculate descarga led by Cuban jazz saxophonist Carlos Miyares

Enjoy this #estamoscontigo short concert with Cuban singer/musician Telmary

Enjoy this #estamoscontigo live performance with Roberto Fonseca

The Jazz Plaza 2021also includes concerts honouring Cuban percussionist Pello el Afrokán and pianist Rubén González,

Based on a report by Juventud Rebelde in Spanish here

View more online at the youtube channel of Ministerio de Cultura de Cuba

Festival website is here

or look for #jazzplaza2021 or #estamoscontigo