Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival Jane Bunnett, featuring Elio Villafranca
By the early 1990s, Jane Bunnett had become a regular visitor to Havana's music venues; she was incorporating Cuban musicians, beginning with the pianist Hilario Durán, into her Toronto bands; and she had released her first Cuban-influenced album, 1991's Spirits of Havana. Since then, Bunnett has moved from strength to strength, touring internationally and recording a string of critically lauded albums. Her comfortable house in Toronto's west end has become a home away from home for a growing number of extraordinary young Cuban musicians who've migrated to Toronto. Bunnett, playing only soprano saxophone, is cast sometimes as lyric lead balladeer, sometimes (as on the Canadian folk tune "She's Like a Swallow") as a bold and surprising jazz soloist. Most of the material is ancient; Bunnett's choices and the contexts in which she places these tunes are consistently fresh.
Elio Villafranca is at the forefront of the generation of remarkable Cuban pianists, composers, and bandleaders that for several years has been making major creative contributions to modern jazz. He has released two CDs as a leader and, as a sideman, has worked with Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis, Sonny Fortune, Dave Valentin, Horacio "El Negro" Hernández, and Giovanni Hidalgo, among others.
See the full Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival schedule.