By Irina Echarry

Samuel Ernesto Burgos won first place for soloists in 2015.
Samuel Ernesto Burgos won first place for soloists in 2015.

HAVANA TIMES — Although there aren’t any professorships in our music academies to study jazz, the genre already has many followers here in Cuba. Young Cubans interested in the rhythm born in New Orleans which has been enriched with influences from other parts of the world, have a competition here each year which allows them to showcase their talent.

This year, the 19th edition of the JoJazz Young Cuban International Competition will take place in Havana from November 17-20. Here, musicians from 16 to 30 years old will be able to compete in two categories: composition and performance.

In the composition category, every competitor will be able to present two three minute songs, at least, in free format.

In the performance category, there are three types: solo, small format (with a maximum of eight musicians) and large format where they will perform a Standard and a freestyle piece.

Miguel Angel Garcia at JoJazz 2012.
Miguel Angel Garcia at JoJazz 2012.

The JoJazz has become a platform for giving visibility to the country’s youngest jazz musicians. It’s an excellent opportunity for the public to enjoy artists who are starting out and even though they are still learning at the Academy, they feed off of self-learning.

Jazz has a strong creative space in Cuba. Throughout history, many Cuban musicians have placed themselves among the jazz scene’s elite. Great musicians such as Roberto Fonseca, Dayme Arocena, Gaston Joya, Alejandro Falcon and Rolando Luna, all broke onto the national and international scene thanks to the JoJazz competition.


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