Havana Jazz Festival opens thursday
By PEDRO DE LA HOZ
The Havana International Jazz Plaza 2006 festival is set to take place from November 30 to December 3 with the participation of musicians from eleven foreign countries and a hefty Cuban representation.
"I want to inaugurate the festival with a very original set featuring tres player Pancho Amat and lute master Barbarito Torres, together with my quartet," festival president Chucho Valdes told the local press on Friday.
Valdes added that the inauguration scheduled to take place on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at the Amadeo Roldan Theater in Havana will also feature several jazz musicians that have shared the stage with him during the last few years of his career, including his sister and vocalist Mayra Caridad Valdes, sax players Javier Zalba and Cesar Lopez, trumpeters Yasek Manzano and Basilio Marquez, and vibes player Tamara Castaneda.
This years festival will also feature musicians from Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Bolivia, Serbia, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Costa Rica, Columbia and Spain.
The lone representative from the United States this year will be musicologist Robin Moore who will speak at the symposiums to be held Thursday and Friday, one of which Moore will no doubt dedicate to writer and musicologist Leonardo Acosta.
More than 20 US musicians who hoped to take part in Jazz Plaza 2006 will not be able to attend due to the restrictions imposed by the hardened US blockade against Cuba, which makes it virtually impossible for them to obtain visas to travel to the island.
The rest of the festival venues will also open their doors Thursday evening. Cubans Maraca and Otra Vision, Lazaro Valdes and his Sonjazz and the Jazz Trio from Mexico will play at the festivals birthplace, the Casa de Cultura cultural center in the municipality of Plaza.
Meanwhile, the Mella Theater in Vedado will feature the Markus Moser Trio from Switzerland, Rudy Linka from the Czech Republic, the Elmer Ferrer Quintet and Jorge Luis Triana and his Big Band.