Jane Bunnett and Maqueque - On Firm Ground / Tierra Firme (CD)
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque are a force of nature. What started out five years ago as a project to record and mentor young brilliant Cuban female musicians, has become one of the top groups on the North American jazz scene. In the last year, they have played in major jazz festivals like Newport and Monterey, been featured on NPR's programs Jazz Night in America and TIny Desk Concert, were nominated for a Grammy Award for their newest release, Oddara, and, most recently, were voted as one of the top ten jazz groups by the prestigious DownBeat magazine's critics poll. Maqueque is led by veteran jazz icon Jane Bunnett; who has been a champion of Cuban jazz since before Buena Vista Social club made the sound a global phenomenon. This all female collective pours over an exuberant blend of Afro-Cuban, Jazz Fusion like the world has never seen before. Watching them is a masterclass in hard work, virtuosity and chemistry. On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme this is their third album, and it features all original compositions by the group's current members which includes Jane Bunnett on flute and soprano saxophone, Melvis Santa, vocals & percussion; Mary Paz, congas & vocals; Dánae Olano, piano; Tailin Marrero, acoustic & electric bass; Yissy García, drums, Maqueque's newest member, Joanna Majoko, an incredibly soulful vocalist and collaborator, Sacred Steel guitar player and vocalist Nikki D Brown. Album produced by Larry Cramer.