Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (CJP) launches its 2022-2023 concert season with Havana Blue on September 24 at 7:00 PM. Premiering at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre in 2013, Havana Blue is a symphonic jazz work inspired by the sights, sounds, and people of Cuba as interpreted by CJP Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Orbert Davis.
Broken into seven vignettes, Havana Blue tells the multi-faceted story of Cuban culture and brings out the many flavors of passion,romance, angst, energy,and uncertainty that are embedded in a tumultuous society. From a joyous celebration in the streets of Havana, to a dramatic, intense journey out of a devastated country, the piece infuses Cuban rhythm with pure emotion.
Inspired by Davis' exploratory trip to Cuba in 2012, Havana Blue is also the inception of an extraordinary journey that led to Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s decade-long relationship with the musicians at Universidad de las Artes (ISA), Cuba’s national conservatory of music.
“When we met these students in Havana nearly a decade ago, we were astounded,” said Davis. “They were only in high school, but the level of musicianship was so high…they were already virtuosos. CJP has maintained a strong relationship ever since because we knew if we give these kids the opportunity, they will set the world on fire.”
Since the 2012 trip, Orbert Davis and CJP have visited Havana and the conservatory on six additional occasions. The concert will feature four ISA alumni who are traveling to Chicago for the performance.
“It gave my life a 180° turn,”said featured flautist Anabell Gil upon meeting CJP. “It allowed me to expand my aspirations, which has led me to study at Berklee College of Music today. Third-Stream jazz and the musical collaboration between people from many different backgrounds having dialogue without saying a word...that is what Maestro Orbert taught me.”
Havana Blue is the second of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s 3-concert partnership with the Kehrein Center for the Arts (KCA), located in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. At the show’s intermission, KCA Interim Executive Director Vanessa Stokes will lead a panel discussion, providing an opportunity for dialogue about topics relevant to the community.
Young musicians from CJP’s Jazz Academy will perform in the lobby before the concert, alongside students from Circle Rock Charter School in Austin who participate in the school’s Sistema Ravinia initiative.