Thursday, January 14, 2010

Havana Jam 1979

Havana Jam was a three-day music festival that took place at the Karl Marx Theater, in Havana, Cuba, on 2-4 March, 1979. It was sponsored by Bruce Lundvall, the president of Columbia Records, Jerry Masucci, the president of Fania Records, and the Cuban Ministry of Culture.

The festival included, on the American side, Weather Report, the CBS Jazz All-Stars, the Trio of Doom, Fania All-Stars, Stephen Stills, Billy Swan, Bonnie Bramlett, Mike Finnegan, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge and Billy Joel. The Cuban acts included Irakere, Pacho Alonso, Zaida Arrate, Elena Burke, Orquesta de Santiago de Cuba, Conjunto Yaguarimú, Frank Emilio, Juan Pablo Torres, Los Papines, Tata Güines, Cuban Percussion Ensemble, Sara González, Pablo Milanés, Manguaré, and Orquesta Aragón.

In 1977, US President Jimmy Carter and Cuban President Fidel Castro started to loose the political tension between the two countries and opened Interest Sections both in Havana and Washington. It was the first time in almost two decades after Castro’s rise to power that there was a real interest in establishing a normalization of diplomatic relations and the lifting of the United States embargo against Cuba.

With a real crisis in the music industry in the United States and the start of the salsa boom, in April 1978, CBS Records director, Bruce Lundvall, saw an open door to probe Cuban music and together with a group of the company’s music enthusiasts made a four-day trip to Havana, where they were overwhelmed by the sound of Cuban music, but especially by Afro-Cuban jazz band Irakere, one of Cuba’s most highly regarded and virtuoso musical acts. (wikipedia)

1 comment:

The Green Hatter said...

I went to Havana Jam with a group from Key West. We sailed over.
Weather Report opened and by the time there set was done, Jaco channeled Jimi Hendrix, smashed his guitar to bits and leaped off the biggest speaker I have ever seen. The Cubans did not know wtf but were very polite. The next day I asked Jaco about it and he said he didn't remember anything. He had the biggest hands of any person I have ever met.