JoJazz, contest devised for presenting novel figures of Cuban jazz, returns as prelude to the Jazz Plaza Festival. On this occasion, and from November13 to 16, 26 participants will compete in the categories of major performance, minor performance, composition and small format, with a jury chaired by Yassek Manzano and Michel Herrera, and made up by Emilio Martini, Alexis Bosch, Alejandro Falcon, Yissy Garcia, Enrique Pla, among others.
According to Yentsy Rangel, musicologist of the event ” JoJazz as prize legitimizes the artist, and that is why many young people approach us looking for visibility; as it is a contest that has been legitimized first by the jury that has chaired it, involving figures like Chucho Valdes, and second for the boys who have competed in it, which has already shown to have a very solid work.”
For the opening night, the JoJazz awards have joined together in a tribute concert to Pablo Milanes, which will open with the interpretation of the hit ¨Yolanda¨ by the violinist William Roblejo: “We have a very well chosen repertoire, and as the same Pablo would say, it’s not perfect, but is closer to what we have dreamed. We have variants with quartets, clarinets, saxophones, guitars, etc. Pablo himself heard us by phone from the studio, and he is excited about the idea, ” Alexis Vazquez, artistic director, noted.
The planned galas include the Special Concert by the Young Jazz Band, directed by maestro Joaquín Betancourt, with the interpretation of works composed by previous winners in that category; and ¨Los Pianos JoJazz, ¨made up by three young pianists who will perform their music to unite in the end in a song by Matanzas´ Alejandro Falcon, heavily influenced by the sounds most associated with that city: the danzon.
“Something that could be discussed at this time is what happens with the winners after having earned the Jojazz award. That’s a weakness we have. A few years ago, the winner had the opportunity to record an album, but today it is no longer the case, because the reality unfortunately imposes another dynamic. Therefore, we must think what this young man takes beyond recognition, “Yentsy Rangel added.
Currently, JoJazz represents one of the few competitive spaces at the disposal of the new generation of jazz musicians from around the country as it summons middle and upper level students from the whole island, even those who are not devoted entirely to this genre, who look through jazz the opportunity and recognition that the competition offers.