NPR logo Cuban Jazz Guru Bobby Carcasses To Tour U.S.

Cuban Jazz Guru Bobby Carcasses To Tour U.S.

Bobby Carcasses, pioneer of jazz in Cuba. Alberto Romeu hide caption

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Alberto Romeu

Bobby Carcasses, pioneer of jazz in Cuba.

Alberto Romeu

Every jazz community seems to have at least one Bobby Carcasses: a cat who is good enough to star in a bigger scene, but stays behind to mentor young musicians and organize within the city. The lesser-known heroes, the musicians' musicians. Except the community represented by Bobby Carcasses [car-cuh-SES — accents don't work on] happens to be Havana, Cuba — where jazz was once stifled by a fiercely anti-U.S. government. Thanks to his efforts, he — with Paquito D'Rivera, Chucho Valdes and others — was able to launch Cuba's first jazz festival, now the Havana International Jazz Festival. But unlike Valdes and D'Rivera, he stayed in Cuba and taught amazing musicians like Dafnis Prieto and Yosvany Terry, who are now killing nightly in New York.

The Miami Herald profiles Carcasses in advance of his U.S. tour, which will hit Miami (and its large Cuban-American community) for the first time this Friday. It's not his first American tour, however: in fact, his new album De La Habana a Nueva York was recorded with Prieto, Terry and other serious New York cats in Brooklyn. (Dafnis and Yosvany are quoted in the story singing their mentor's praises.) His Web site and his MySpace page have a few tracks and tour details. These days, Carcasses is a vocalist and flugelhorn player, but he's also picked up bass, hand percussion and piano over the years, and created a good deal of visual art. Oh, and he's also a former national high-jump champion, as he once told Bobby Sanabria. Talk about your Renaissance men. [Miami Herald: Bobby Carcasses opened door to jazz in Cuba]

After the jump, Wynton Marsalis introduces Bobby Carcasses and a whole mess of Latin jazz top guns. (Is that Chucho Valdes?)

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