Guitarist Pablo Menendez’s funky Yoruba, Afro-Cuban, salsa, bebop fusion septet Mezcla (“mixture”) is as much about Cuba’s musical past as it is the future.
Let’s Do Cuba‘s Intimate Cuban Jazz Weekend offers deep immersion into the Cuban Latin/fusion jazz scene through Mezcla and renowned artist, Pablo Menendez. According to Let’s Do Cuba’s Lily Puosa, “Our experience is designed for those who know that Cuban music is more than salsa, more than traditional son and more than Afro Cuban folklore.”
Under the direction of Menendez, Mezcla has been a part of the sound-track of the Cuban music scene for the past thirty years. Mezcla brings together several veteran masters with some the best of young players on the scene today. 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!”
They have issued nine recordings. Their legendary 1993 release “Cantos”, re-released in 2014, featured the late Lázaro Ros, one of Cuba’s foremost singers of Afro-Cuban Yoruba santería chants. Their CD “Akimba!,” was pre-nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2002 and their 2010 release, “I’ll See You in C-U-B-A,” (ZOHO), was nominated for the Best of Latin Jazz Awards as were several of the group’s soloists.
In 2014 Mezcla released live concert DVD “Pablo Menendez & Mezcla Todos Estrellas del Jazz Cubano” (Colibri) and in February of 2015 they released the CD “Pure Mezcla”, recorded live at Yoshi’s jazz club in Oakland California during their 2013 U.S. tour.
The small group tour is scheduled for November 9-13, 2017. Book here.
According to Let’s Do Cuba founder, Lily Pousa, “We have worked for years to perfect our small groups tours to Cuba. Jazz music is the best way to learn about Cubans themselves and experience music up close and personal.”
About Pablo “Mezcla” Menendez: leader, guitar, vocals
Born in Oakland, California, he is the son of blues and jazz singer Barbara Dane. Living in Cuba since 1966, he has been an indelible part of many Cuban music scenes over the past decades: the Nueva Trova movement (Grupo de Experimentación Sonora with Silvio Rodríguez and Pablo Milanés), the jazz world (Sonido Contemporaneo at the old Club Rio with Gonzalo Rubalcaba and others), Afro-rock group Síntesis (with Carlos and Ele Alfonso) and more.
On the basis of this rich experience, Pablo founded Mezcla in 1989, and has recorded 7 albums featuring the band, playing at festivals and clubs all over Europe, South and North America. Pablo has also released a solo project on Zoho Music entitled Havana Blues Mambo and has led a US-based Cuban All Star ensemble for performances at venues such as Regatta Bar in Boston and Yoshi’s in Oakland, California. In January of 2009 he was featured along with Larry Coryell and John Stowell at the Jazz Guitar Summit in Olympia, Washington.