Program Notes

New Jazz Frontiers

DANIEL FREEDMAN, Drums, Percussion

“Jazz is dead” is one of the evergreens in jazz literature. Yet for all the challenges, real and perceived facing jazz in the cultural marketplace, the real story for the past few decades has been the triumph of jazz.

Chucho Valdés, Pedrito Martinez & Wynton Marsalis

The geographic distance between New Orleans and Havana can be measured in miles. Musically, talk of distances can be deceiving. Cuban pianist and composer Jesus “Chucho” Valdés likes to illustrate the point with an elegant sleight of hand; he begins by playing Scott Joplin’s classic “The Entertainer” as ragtime, and then subtly, imperceptibly at first, he gives the music a Caribbean lilt.

“If you change a rhythmic cell, it’s a danzón,” says Valdés. “Music is like a language: you change a comma, and it means something else. Here, you change an accent, and you are no longer in New Orleans; you are in Havana. ”

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Old Sounds, New Voices Ana Moura and Buika

ana mourabuikaFado is a music of hard-earned wisdom and longing. It’s a grown person’s art. And yet, after the passing in 1999 of Amalia Rodrigues, the most important singer in fado’s history, a generation of young fadistas came into view, re-energizing the genre.

Her emotions in open view, like the texts etched on her skin; singer, songwriter, producer, poet, photographer Buika seems fearless — and breathtakingly so — on and off stage.

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Andalusian Voices Tempo of Light: Carmen Linares, Marina Heredia, and Arcángel

Like the blues (its counterpart in the United States) flamenco was born out of need, as an expression of a desperately poor underclass struggling for survival in a place not his own. It was music constructed from memories, but also bits and pieces borrowed from the new home. It was, like the blues, an elusive alchemy of pain into beauty. It spoke of loss and hard times but also hope. And much like the blues, flamenco told the stories of the people who created it.

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