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Let the Cubans Loose…

July 2014.

Let the Cubans loose…….

Well that’s what it felt like I’d done when I let some of the greatest Cuban musicians loose in the studio in Havana, Cuba in late 2013.

And, I’m truly thankful too. A fascinating recording is on it’s way.
By not constricting these wonderful musicians too much I had hoped to allow them more creativity and expression in the music making.

Anyway,

You can get an idea of their playful energy and general craziness on this video…..especially at the end.

Let the Cubans loose…

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Final day in Cuba

September 17. Cuba.

Last day in CUBA.

Catching an 8am bus from Havana to Veradero which is where my flight leaves from. It’s a 2 hour trip for $10 (the same cost as a taxi from my apartment to the bus station). My flight departs at 4pm. I guess I’ll have to imaginative with my spare time. Maybe hit the beach?

Mixed feelings. Has been amazing working and recording with arguably the best musicians in Cuba. Have enjoyed learning flute with Evelyn, she was also great to hang out with (I think she wanted the English practice). Didn’t improve my dancing.

Glad to escape the diesel fumes and shifty ways the locals make extra money.

Enjoyed the hospitality and friendly nature of the Real Cubans. Made some great new friends.

So, the customs officer’s name was “Inspector Die”, really. I had reservations about standing at hus cubicle. They had a problem with my passport. Had to wait 15mins, then got probed with questions. Where you are you from? Are you from germany? You came to Cuba in 2009. What is your job? Eventually they let me out.

Transiting in Cancun, Mexico. Immigration wouldn’t let 8 passengers into the country from our plane. Had a huge delay whilst the authorities gave them written reasons why (as insisted by passengers). Delays for all!

Observations:
– guy trimming the grass edging on the footpath with elbow grease using a huge machete. 7am.
– it’s necessary to drive use all lanes of the road in order to dodge potholes.
– man practising trombone on the Malecon 8.30am.
– Cubans love to paint walls. There’s no preparation necessary, just paint straight over the top of the layers of dirt that exists.
– signals at railways crossings don’t work….

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Revolution museum

September 15. Cuba.

Went to the Revolution Museum. Although the building needs severe maintainence, the museum is quite interesting. Unique, as its the only one of its kind in the world. All thing related to the revolution, how it happened, weapons used, processes put in place afterwards….

Spent the evening hanging out with my Cuban flute teacher. Shouted her dinner, sweets and a beer.

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Jazz jam in Havana

September 13. Cuba.

Flute lesson in more fundamentals. Am enjoying the lessons. Evelyn is pretty good at translating what she means.

Went to the jazz club on calle 23. Evelyn’s friends were playing. A very energetic band with sax, trombone and rhythm section. A couple of guest vocals by gorgeous Cuban singer “Yanet”?. The horn players have amazing technique but I find that the soloing is very busy, technical and lacking soul (funnily enough). Not enough contrast or beautiful melodies. The way they play reminds me of letting a bull out the gate.

Got up on stage to jam to “straight no chaser”.

Michel Herrera – saxes
Alejandro Merono – piano
David Faya – bass
Yoandy Algudin – trombone
Reiner Mendoza – drums
Yanet Valdez – vocals

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