CRI to Cosponsor Concert on Afro-Cuban Jazz

Image: ignacio-berroa.jpg

In collaboration with FIU's School of Music, WDNA, and the Cuban-American Student Organization (CASO), the Cuban Research Institute will sponsor a concert and master class by the Jazz drummer Ignacio Berroa. The concert, titled "Afro-Cuban Jazz and Beyond," will be held on April 25, 2014, at 7:30 PM at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center Concert Hall on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

The influence of Afro-Cuban music goes beyond geographical borders and has left an undeniable mark on Jazz, America's original art form. Latin Jazz is considered by many to be a heterogeneous mixture of Latin rhythms. However, few people are completely aware of how the beats of Afro-Cuban music evolved and became central to Jazz music.

Grammy Award-winning artist Ignacio Berroa is one of the greatest exponents of this fertile combination, the only drummer in the history of American music that has traversed the world of Afro-Cuban rhythms and Jazz drumming, creating a unique synthesis of both styles.

Over the last 40 years, Mr. Berroa has been a major protagonist of an era in which historic and political conditions greatly influenced the music in both Cuba and the United States. His first-hand knowledge includes the musical legacy of both his father and grandfather, making this presentation uniquely historical.

"Afro-Cuban Jazz and Beyond" presents an historical overview of the circumstances involved in the development of Afro-Cuban music, beginning with the arrival of African slaves in Cuba, the Caribbean, the United States, and Brazil. From his unique point of view, Berroa describes how certain African groups left their mark on the evolution of Afro-Cuban music, the rhythmic similarities and differences between the countries where slaves arrived in the New World, the strong musical connection between Cuba and the United States, and how Afro-Cuban Jazz has developed in this country. His presentation illuminates how the separate and distinct aspects of European and African contributions combined to enrich the music world.

Berroa's musical journey culminates in a practical way, by engaging students in performance and showing them how to incorporate Afro-Cuban rhythms in Jazz, and how its development continues today. Throughout, Berroa peppers his presentation with fascinating anecdotes from his long career performing alongside some of the greatest Jazzmasters.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Ignacio Berroa has been recognized as one of the greatest drummers of our times. Jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie best defined Berroa as "the only Latin drummer in the world in the history of American music that intimately knows both worlds: his native Afro-Cuban music as well as Jazz."

Berroa graduated from the National School of Arts in Havana and began his profesional career in 1970. He became one of the busiest professional drummers in Cuba. In 1980 Berroa left his country during the Mariel exodus, moved to New York City, and joined Dizzy Gillespie's quartet in 1981. Berroa has also recorded and played with musicians of the stature of McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Jaco Pastorius, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Tito Puente, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Berroa's first album as a leader, Codes, was nominated for a Grammy in 2007. Codes also won a Danish Music Award in 2007 as best International Jazz Album. He was included in the 2011 Blue Note and Modern Drummer Release entitled Jazz Drumming Legends. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Montreal Jazz Festival in 2011.

For more details on Berroa's concert and master class at FIU, click here.