Dr. Carlos & Laura Perez-Mesa Memorial Concert: "Celebrating Laura Perez-Mesa"

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque

Photo Credit Lauren Duetsch


We could not think of a better way to open Season #27 - either musically, emotionally or, jazz-wise, spiritually - than to have five-time Juno Award winner, saxophonist/flutist Jane Bunnett make a return visit to the Jazz Series, this time leading Maqueque, [Pronounced Ma-kay-kay] her newest Cuban project, the highly acclaimed all-women instrumental-and-vocal ensemble.
Ms. Bunnett has appearied twice previously, once with her Spirits of Havana ensemble (2004) and then a decade later, performing with pianist Hilario Duran and the pioneering conguero, the late Candido Camero.
   The saxoponist-flutist, along with partner-turmpeter Larry Cramer, has been "mining" Cuba's rich musical traditions - particularly the Afro-Cuban vein - for more than three decades. Bunnett has immersed herself in the musical culture and then, in a most humanitarian manner, shared it with the rest of the world. To say she knows her stuff is beyond an understatement. Nominated for three GRAMMY Awards, the Torontoan has received The Order of Canada, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and, most recently, The Premier’s Award for Excellence.
  With Maqueque, Bunnett created something new and phenomenal within the jazz world. What started out more than five years ago now, as a project to record and mentor young brilliant Cuban female musicians, evolved into one of the top groups on the North American jazz scene. Of late, Maqueque has played major jazz festivals such as Newport and Monterey, and been featured on the Christian McBride syndicated weekly Jazz Night in America, heard nationwide on NPR.
   And now we gratefully present them here as the 2021/2022 Season gets underway. Please join us for  the 21st Annual Dr. Carlos & Laura Perez-Mesa Memorial Concert, that this year, pays special attention to and specifically celebrates Laura Perez-Mesa [8/28/26 - 8/11/20]. As many in our community know, Laura was truly an "Arts Queen." For many, many decades she, along with husband Carlos Perez-Mesa, were among Columbia's most ardent, passionate and staunchest arts supporters. Both Carlos and Laura Perez-Mesa, along with a coterie of others, were among those who whole-heartedly embraced the Jazz Series' mission.
   When Carlos, a Cuban native, passed away in 2000, the Jazz Series approached Laura about honoring his memory by holding an annual concert bearing his name, centered on the Afro-Cuban musical tradition. So, it is only fitting that in the wake of Laura's passing - and with the Perez-Mesa Family's blessing - we both formally add her name to the concert title AND on this occasion celebrate Laura's life and her appreciation for not only the Jazz Series but also the arts community.
   Is there a better way to to open our 2021/2022 season than with an all-female, award-winning Cuban ensemble while simultaneously celebrating and honoring Laura and husband Carlos Perez-Mesa? Not likely. 

Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021

"Jazz in the District"

Missouri Theatre

Doors: 6 | Start: 7

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque

Jane Bunnett: Soprano Saxophone & Flute
Danae Olano: Piano, Vocals
Celia Jimenez: Bass, Vocals
Joanna Majoko: Vocals
Yarelis Gandulf: Percussion, Vocals
Ivanna Gonzalez: Drums

“This band sounds like no other today in Jazz.”

- DownBeat

“In only its second performance in the United States, Maqueque entranced listeners with a clave-induced set of Afro-Cuban, booty-shaking world jazz that would have made Dizzy smile.”

- Frank Alkyer

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