It’s nice to discover new bands and sounds in the panorama of Cuban jazz. Everybody knows that Cuba is an inexhaustible source of musical talent, but it provides you great pleasure to check it in the dark complicit of La Zorra y el Cuervo nightclub. That premises located in 23rd and O Streets should be included without complex in any world jazz route, alo ng with the Blue Note, the Village Vanguard , New Morning, and Ronnie Scott.
Fortunately , in recent years, sites like the Jazz Café or Café Miramar have mitigated the loneliness of La Zorra… as shelter of the genre, but that space has carried that task more seriously and sustained over time. Its scenario is mandatory stop for all jazz musicians who want to test their ability, and even though the prices of its nights are not available to all budgets, fortunately Saturday afternoons partially compensate this.
The call comes from the hand of the program ¨ A buena hora¨ (Just on time) of Radio Taino (for those who do not listen radio, it is one of the most complete and attractive proposals in Cuba. Seriously, it’s time to rescue the radio and all its listeners). Every Saturday, from 2 to 4 pm, the staff of Just on time invites lovers of good music to enjoy gatherings by some bands. Attention to this, a considerable portion of the future of Cuban jazz, attends the program, disseminated amongst lots of talented performers.
In one of these gatherings, for example, you might run into an old colleague of La Lenin School whom you remember from some school art activities during adolescent years, turned into a promising voice able to move with the same skill, between grave sweetness of Corcovado and the electrical outburst of Blues de Habana. And it is there when she reminds you her name, Zule, but now it is not only Zule but also Zule Guerra and her band. And this enthusiastic amateur singer decided to play hard and now competes without complex with any jazz musician; in such a way that she earned the Second Prize of Interpretation at the 2013 Jojazz Festival.
And if that of Zule Guerra surprised me, the truth is that that of ¨her band¨ does not does justice to the rest of the group, because what is accomplished by Victor Benitez, Ronald Rivero, Pedro Aguilar and Humberto Quijano is not more than accompaniment. Their combined skills achieve that particular ¨feeling¨ that every jazz group intending to sound harmoniously has. From Benítez´s improvisations, with powerful phrases that clearly show that he learned Coltrane’s lesson, Quijano´s rhythmic ability, that behind the tom-tom drum is a true bastion of time for the band, and the precise entries by Ronald Rivero and Pedro Aguilar, whose lack of effectism and other dazzling maneuvers are almost grateful in these times in which showcasing and petulance without objective are a standard in jazz scene.
Being in the same room in which these young musicians intertwine blues, funk and R & B from the unmistakable basis of Latin jazz is a guarantee of enjoyment for any music lover. But when you know that they have been playing together just for a few months then you ask yourself where these crazy could get if not getting disperse. Because, in addition to these praises, they are not free from babbling and setbacks that accompany any company that begins its journey. They must win in poise, repertoire, they must cover better certain individual gaps that are often diluted through countless rehearsals and concerts. Let us hope that the economies and egos not to play their role for us to think that we are witnessing the beginning of one of the bands that, if continuing the path shown at La Zorra y el Cuervo, will become a favorite of Cuban jazz circuit. 1
- I make a superhuman effort and just add as a footnote the provocation that if we can really speak of a Cuban jazz circuit. But we will return to that matter in other occasion.