intersession2017 makingCubanMusic COVERSince the 19th century Cuban music has been hugely popular and influential throughout the world. It has been perhaps the most popular form of regional music since the introduction of recording technology. Cuban music has its principal roots in Spain and West Africa; however, over time it has been influenced by diverse genres from different countries, including American Jazz. Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble explored the exciting Cuban rhythms in a big band setting using brass, woodwinds, guitar, piano, bass, and drums. The ensemble was coached by two of the top recording and touring musicians in Havana today. Students gained firsthand knowledge of Cuban styles while playing alongside these great artists.


Session Led By: Rodney Yllarza Barreto and Yaroldy Abreu Robles

Rodney Yllarza Barreto was born in Havana City and studied percussion at Guillermo Tomas School and subsequently at Amadeo Roldan Conservatory also in Havana City. When he was very young, he joined the Charanga de Guanabacoa children’s orchestra. At seventeen, he joined the Isaac Delgado Orchestra (a first-rank band and one of the most popular salsa bands in Cuba). He was professor of percussion at Paulita Concepción School in Havana City for three years. He won the Cubadisco Award for best record with Drums La Habana in 2010. Rodney won the Award as the best accompanist musician in the JOJAZZ, the National Contest for Cuban Young Jazz-Players. Rodney has been working
both with great musicians and great national and foreign bands his entire life.

Yaroldy Abreu Robles was born in Sagua de Tanamo, Cuba. He started his professional career in Holguin in 1995 with the group Agua and then went on to form the experimental percussion ensemble Cinco Puntos. He graduated with honors with a bachelor's degree in percussion from the Higher Institute of Art in 2001. While Yaroldy was still a student, Chucho Valdés invited him to join his group Irakere and, in 2001, the Chucho Valdés Jazz Quartet. Yaroldy has shared the stage and recorded with many top musicians inside and outside of Cuba. In 2003, Yaroldy was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Traditional Tropical Album for Amadito Valdés' Bajando Gervasio; and in 2004 he won the Latin Grammy Award in the Latin jazz category for Chucho Valdés Jazz Quartet's New Conceptions. A valued teacher, Yaroldy has been invited to teach master classes in Europe and the U.S., and at various music festivals throughout the world.




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