By IRINA ECHARRY
HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 2.- Havana’s Jojazz Festival-Competition came to a close on Sunday with the awards ceremony and Cuba’s national dance, the musical genre Danzon, taking center stage with the improvisations of the talented young jazz musicians.
Flautist Josue Borges won first prize for Interpretation, Alejandro Delgado, took second on the trumpet and Junior Alfonso finished third playing guitar. Pianist Jorge Aragon was given a special mention, showing great sensitivity and musical skill. Aragon also won the second prize for Composition (with no awards being given for first and third).
The closing gala began with “Alturas de Simpson” Cuba’s first danzon, dating back to the 19th century, this time performed by Alejandro Falcon, who often backs up flute player and band leader “Maraca.”
The tune was followed by Danzonete by pianist/composer Abel Calderon and later joined by Dayamir Gonzalez, also a pianist, to create a fusion that made us want to get up and dance to the rhythm of our grandparents.
Alejandro, Abel and Dayamir then teamed up to play Almendra, one of the best presentations not only of the gala but of the entire festival.
The “Aires de Concierto” quartet, which left a good impression on opening night and received the Small Format Award, once again delighted the audience and would have been an excellent closing to the four days of jazz.
However, the Jose White sextet, made up by very young musicians that might have done better at another moment of the festival, was an anticlimactic ending to what was an excellent festival.