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December 1, 2005

Canadian Jazz in Cuba

Written by
cindy mcleod

Hugh Fraser
Canadian Trombonist Hugh Fraser

Cuba’s annual International Jazz Festival is underway this weekend with headline artists including Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes, Canadian trombonist Hugh Fraser, Chicago vocalist Lola Pfieffer, and Brazilian pianist Ivan Lins (Latin Grammy winner of 2005).

Grammy Award winner Valdes will host Jazz Plaza 2005, which kicks off on Thursday in Havana. The closing concert of the festival will feature Valdes’ tribute to New Orleans and the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The pianist will debut his composition ‘Canto a Dios’ in a performance with his quintet, Cuba’s National Symphonic Orchestra and National Chorus. Lyrics for the piece were written by Cuban folk singer Pablo Milanes.

Trombonist/composer Fraser, the Juno Award winner from Victoria, is one of Canada’s leading jazz musicians and widely known for his work with his group VEJI. Fraser, department head at the Banff Centre’s International Jazz Program, was responsible for bringing Valdes and his band Irakere to the prestigious school in the mid-nineties as resident artists.

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