by Irina Echarry, Photo: Caridad

Alejandro Falcon at the Mella Theater courtyard.

HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 19 — Many people are aware of the nice atmosphere of the outdoor courtyard of the Mella Theater, itself a site that is identified with jazz performances by younger musicians, though lately it has also been hosting other musical styles.

In a recent Friday evening session Alejandro Falcon’s hands took the audience on a piano journey that spanned from danzón to today. The quartet Cubadentro also consists of Otto on tumbadora, Keysel Jimenez on drums and David on the electric guitar.

The group opened with a version of “Las Alturas de Simpson” by Michael Failde, and then turned the rhythm around to present “Danzando entre puentes,” a tribute to the Cuban danzón style; in addition to offering several American and Cuban jazz standards.

Falcon, one of our greatest pianists, transferred the essence of the music of Thelonius Monk to Cuban music, the result being the magnificent song “Monk in Pueblo Nuevo.”

Jazz of Fridays at the Mella Theater courtyard.

As a guest singer, Luna Manzanares (who despite having a cold) showed the magnificent register of her voice by singing the song Tanta Soledad in addition to another song by Sara Tabares from Cape Verde. Also appearing to share the stage was the singer Sory, who sang the classic bolero “Veinte años.”

Young jazz musicians are trying to reintroduce this setting where they’ve always been welcomed, though it was closed for a while. It is a site that — despite being glued to the Linea Street — isn’t contaminated by the dynamic noise of cars and buses passing by.

Instead, when you enter the Mella Gardens you forget what was left outside. Through here have passed some of the today’s most important young jazz players; many of them having been Jojazz winners in different categories.

The audience that attends this venue to listen to jazz on Friday at 6:00 is varied. Some people pass by and stop for a listen, others arrive early to avoid not getting a table, a few will come with their kids. But to enjoy jazz, you really only have to have the desire to feel good energy – though in this case you’ll also need 10 pesos in national currency (about 40 cents USD).

Let’s hope that this space remains fixed and returns to being the center of the best youth jazz in the country. Many flowers have sprouted in this garden. You only have to come, pass through the gate and listen to them.

To confirm the holding of the Friday jam sessions, please call one of the following telephone numbers: 833-5651, 830-4987, 833-5063 or 833-8696.

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