Five-time JUNO Award-winner and three-time Grammy nominee Jane Bunnett has turned her bands and recordings into showcases for the finest musical talent from Canada, USA and Cuba. With Maqueque, founded in 2014, the Canadian saxophone legend has created something phenomenal and new. What began a decade ago as a project to record and mentor exceptionally talented young female musicians from Cuba has since produced one of the leading ensembles on the North American jazz scene, known for its virtuosic drumming, joyful vocal harmonies and brilliant melodic improvisations.
Maqueque is a co-operative that now features not only “The New Queens of Afro-Cuban Jazz” (NPR), but also premier Zimbabwean vocalist Joanna Majoko, and outstanding musicians from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Spain and Lebanon. The band won a JUNO Award in 2015, was nominated for a Grammy in 2018, and annually tours Europe and the Americas.
DownBeat Magazine’s 2019 Critics Poll voted Jane Bunnett and Maqueque one of the Top Ten Touring Jazz Groups in the USA, and NPR invited the women to appear on the network’s celebrated Tiny Desk Concerts. Also, The Boston Globe’s Jon Garelick recently wrote, “Jane Bunnett and Maqueque utterly shatters the glass ceiling of Afro-Cuban Jazz”. The ensemble’s beautiful, intricate arrangements are unique in their ability to showcase unbridled technical brilliance while naturally connecting to, enlivening and inspiring audiences.
Maqueque’s brand new album, Playing with Fire, captures the cutting-edge evolution of this award-winning ensemble as it makes beautiful new inroads into the Afro-Cuban traditions at its heart. Maqueque’s 10th anniversary recording was officially released at the beginning of March, just ahead of the band’s return visit to the TD Sunfest Global Music & Jazz Series.
Jane Bunnett’s international fame has grown over the course of many decades, on recordings with jazz masters like Dewey Redman, Don Pullen, Jeanne Lee, Sheila Jordan and Paul Bley. In 2004, Jane received the title of Officer of the Order of Canada for her artistic and social contributions.
Maqueque are: Jane Bunnett, soprano saxophone & flute; Joanna Tendai Majoko, vocals; Mary Paz, congas & vocals; Dánae Olano, piano; Tailin Marrero, acoustic & electric bass; Yissy García, drums.
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