The influence of Cuban rhythms on Jazz dates back to the early 20th century, when Jazz was still taking shape. So much that Jelly Roll Morton, one of the early Jazz pianists, considered the tresillo/habanera (a Cuban rhythm) to be an essential ingredient of Jazz. Now, offering a glimpse of how that influence may have worked in the development of Jazz music is Cuban singer Doris Lavin, who will be performing in the city as part of the Reclamation Jazz Festival 2014, starting today.
Cuban singer Doris Lavin
Lavin, who is here with her group, the Doris Lavin Quintet, promises to reveal a sound that will be different from what most Indian Jazz fans are accustomed to. “You can expect happiness,” she tells us. Often referred to as the Cuban Spitfire, Lavin has performed along with some of the most popular Afro-Cuban Jazz artists. Despite carrying a wide range of influences, and now based in Italy, Lavin remains as much rooted to Jazz, as she is to the Cuban Son, Timba and Salsa.
“All my songs are born out of the strong sound influences that exist in Cuba. People often refer to it as Latin Jazz (Afro Cuban Jazz is a sub-genre of Latin Jazz). I don’t mind my music being categorised into a particular genre, but given a choice, I wouldn’t want it. My music contains so much of African influence; it’s not just Jazz or Latino. It’s much more than that. The influences are so much beyond any one of them,” says Lavin, adding, “My songs are about life, one part of which is Cuban and one part African.”
The singer, who released her first album in 2003, followed by several singles thereafter, says that growing up in Cuba has the maximum influence on her music style. “There is music everywhere in Cuba. Everybody plays and listens to music all the time, especially on the streets. I will try to recreate that experience in the city,” she adds.
Also performing at the Reclamation Jazz festival will be Helen Sung Quartet, Yuri Honing Quartet, the di Martino Quartet and The James Carter Organ trio.
Till: November 30, 6.30 pm onwards
At: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point