July 5, 2011
From: Jazz Promo Services
U.S. Government Reauthorizes Insight Cuba, the Largest Provider of People-to-People Travel to Cuba, to Offer New Cultural Tours, Including a Program with JazzTimes for Music Enthusiasts
QUINCY, MA, June 29, 2011 – For the last 50 years, most Americans have been prohibited from experiencing the sweet seductive sounds of live jazz in Cuba. Now they can start packing!
Insight Cuba, in concert with JazzTimes Magazine, offers a unique travel opportunity for jazz enthusiasts to combine their love of jazz and interest in Cuban culture, with the Havana Jazz Experience.
This eight-day/seven-night program is tailored to jazz and music lovers alike, featuring hands-on experiences with Cuban musicians and artists. Participants will start their journey with a visit to the Callejón de Hammel (Hammel’s Alley), a community project promoting art, music, and culture, where participants will meet with several Afro-Cuban artists and get an up-close and personal look at the thriving arts scene.
They’ll meet with staff and executives at Egrem, Cuba’s largest and most famous record label. The evening will be spent at the famous jazz club La Zorra y el Cuervo, where some of Cuba’s best jazz musicians headline. And that’s just the first day. Additional itinerary highlights include a private jazz concert at Casa de la Amistad, a visit to the Cuban Music Institute, performances at the Jazz Café, plus salsa and percussion workshops.
“We’ve been preparing for this day for seven years,” said Insight Cuba Director Tom Popper. “Now that we have the license in hand, anyone and everyone can reserve their spot on one of our carefully crafted travel programs to Cuba from September 2011 through September 2012.”
Insight Cuba emerged as a true pioneer in people-to-people travel to Cuba in 2000 and sent the largest number of Americans to Cuba under a specific license since 1963. However, in 2004, U.S. travel restrictions were tightened, eliminating most U.S. travel to the island nation. Despite the new limitations, Insight Cuba continued to strengthen their relationships and reputation in Cuba, confident that one day they would be able to return. As a result, they are now known as the industry expert in U.S. travel to Cuba and have partnered with America’s preeminent jazz magazine, JazzTimes, for a series of unique jazz programs.
JazzTimes and Cuba have a shared history of their own. In 1977 during the Carter Administration, JazzTimes founder Ira Sabin was onboard the boat that carried some of the greatest jazz musicians of the era to Cuba to perform for the first time since the embargo had been lifted. Among the passengers were Earl Hines, David Amram, Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie. “When we got off the ship, we could see a large crowd waiting at the dock and people were chanting ‘Dizzy, Dizzy, Dizzy…’”, recalls Sabin. “It was wild. The American musicians were in awe of the reception because they weren’t sure what to expect, but as always, Dizzy led the way.”
During that trip, Gillespie not only performed with his own group, but also sat in with Irakere, the preeminent jazz group of Cuba. After jamming together, Gillespie was blown away by the musicianship of trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, reedman Paquito D’Rivera and pianist-bandleader Chucho Valdes. Gillespie bonded with the artists, and became a mentor to Sandoval and D’Rivera, both of whom later defected to the U.S. and went on to become world-renowned jazz musicians. Valdes remained in Cuba, leading Irakere and also establishing himself as one of the most important and influential Cuban jazz musicians of his generation. Valdes is also the artistic director of the Havana International Jazz Festival, which will be the focus of a special December 2011 trip with JazzTimes and Insight Cuba.
JazzTimes and Insight Cuba previously partnered from 2000-2003, bringing hundreds of fans to the famed Havana International Jazz Festival. “We regularly hear from our readers about their interest in Cuban music,” said JazzTimes’ Editor-in-Chief Lee Mergner. “We expect these joint trips to be in great demand again, and are excited about the new immersive experiences yet to be explored.”
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Insight Cuba is a leading expert in Cuba travel, and a division of Cross-Cultural Solutions, an independent not-for-profit organization and leader in international volunteering and people-to-people cultural exchange with over 25,000 alumni since its inception in 1995. Insight Cuba has developed in-depth programs in Cuba, encompassing both spontaneous and planned activities. These immersive, unforgettable experiences have helped make Insight Cuba the largest, most highly regarded provider of specific-licensed people-to-people cultural travel to Cuba.
JazzTimes is America’s preeminent jazz magazine providing irreverent, uncompromising and often provocative coverage of the American jazz scene. Relying on an award-winning editorial staff, JazzTimes encompasses special themes, directories, comprehensive news reports and an extensive music review section. JazzTimes is a must read for the jazz enthusiast. On the web at www.jazztimes.com