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Direct From Cuba: Pablo Menendez & Mezcla Jazz All-Stars
June 26, 2013
Wednesday, June 26
"Funky.... Ebullient.... Hot!" The New York Times
Under the direction of guitarist Pablo Menendez, Mezcla has been a part of the sound-track of the Cuban music scene for the past thirty years. When at home in Cuba they perform regularly at Havana's premier jazz club La Zorra y el Cuervo and at the annual Havana Jazz Festival (Jazz Plaza). Mezcla's music is a genuine celebration of the culture and musical roots of the Pearl of the Antilles. A ray of Havana sunshine that inspired Carlos Santana to call them “the cleanest, freshest water I have ever tasted!" Their latest CD, “I'll See You in C-U-B-A,” (ZOHO), was nominated for the Best of Latin Jazz Awards 2010 as were several of the group's soloists, and their CD "Akimba!," was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2002.
The all-star quintet includes Afro Cuban babalao priest and conga/bata drum master, Octavio Rodriguez, the celebrated super-percussionist Roberto Smith "El Capitan"; veteran bass-monster Jose Hermida and multi-instrumental wizard Julio Valdez, as well as guitarist and band leader, Pablo "Mezcla" Menendez. Mezcla is, as exclaimed in a recent review, “..A MUST for those who are looking for some more heat from their Latin jazz.” (C. Michael Bailey, allaboutjazz.com)
"Pablo Menendez is not your average everyday Afro-Caribbean or Latin jazz musician. His vision of this music stretches back to traditional jazz and show tunes and up to electric urban blues, modern post-bop, Cuban or Puerto Rican music, and contemporary neo-bop spawned in the 1970s. As a guitarist he is strong individually in these varied styles or disciplines, but as a bandleader he stretches out even further, taking his Mezcla ensemble into these disciplines of jazz and music both beyond and including Latin sensibilities." (Michael G. Nastos Allmusic.com)