By IRINA ECHARRY
HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 1.- Less than 24 hours before the awards ceremony and closing of the 2008 Jojazz Festival the last session of competitions was rather strange.
The local chosen for the “interpretation duel” on Saturday afternoon was a deteriorated hall at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory with poor lighting and very few seats in decent shape. Half the public, made up mostly by students, former students and professors had to listen standing.
I was also surprised not to see one female student in the competition this day, something unusual in Cuba.
Fortunately, the music made up for any deficiencies and when guitarist Junior Alfonso took his turn the mood changed. Alejandro Llanes brought a special composition for piano, but the greatest applause was for Jorge Aragon who played an incredibly moving piece on piano.
So in that way, the ugliness of the locale disappeared and I was able to discover Ariel Perez.
When I heard him playing on the Jojazz opening night with the Jazz Band I asked myself: what mysteries are hiding behind his instrument? Yesterday I found out.
Ariel is a student at the Higher Arts Institute and besides he has a love: teaching his knowledge to children.
For that reason he travels a long distance from Quivican, outside the city, to teach his little students, but he does it with pleasure because he fells useful.
Despite how difficult it is to maintain his trombone in good condition, Ariel overcomes the difficulties to get the necessary grease and he keeps it as golden as he can.
However, what most shines of this young man are his eyes when he speaks about what he likes: music. I asked him if he wants to dedicate himself to jazz and his smile grows bigger: “I’m a musician, what I want is to play good music.” He has an inclination for incidental music; he likes the challenge and he’s also interested in setting music to animated cartoons, something they’ve told him is very difficult. Ariel has a soul of a mischievous kid, what he feels for his trombone is an incurable love.