Treating Savannah to Cuban jazz

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Friday March 22, 2019

From The Augusta Chronicle

Savannah Music Festival: Daymé Arocena will treat Savannah to Cuban jazz rhythms
By: Jim Reed

One international artist whose work has not only benefited substantially from the American jazz idiom, but has also enjoyed tremendous acclaim here in the states, is Cuba’s own vocalist supreme Daymé Arocena. At just 27, she is already considered one of the leading exponents of what has come to be known as Afro-Cuban jazz, a hybrid of traditional American piano and horn-dominated jazz that leans heavily on Latin percussion instruments, such as the bongos, timbales and tumbadora to create high-energy, dance-oriented tunes that incorporate traditional Latin clave rhythms.

Arocena’s soaring vocal prowess has been compared to that of the late, gospel star-turned R&B diva Aretha Franklin, and at a very early age came to the attention of such jazz luminaries as Wynton Marsalis, whose imprimatur and guidance greased the wheels for her ascension into the uppermost levels of the jazz world.

This musical prodigy is known for fronting astonishingly tight and experienced bands playing complex, polyrhythmic compositions. She also acts as band leader, choir director, composer and arranger of her own material, much of which draws on her spiritual beliefs and the musical influence of blues, soul and even ritual chanting.

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