CUBA & NEW YORK MEET IN NEW ORLEANS
The CubaNOLA Arts Collective presented the return of Grammy-nominated Cuban composer/guitarist JUAN-CARLOS FORMELL to New Orleans to launch his new project, Johnny's Dream Club.
Immediately following the concerts, Formell and his band recorded the music at Piety Street Studios, under the auspices of studio owner/producer John Fischbach.
They were joined there by the celebrated New Orleans clarinetist, Dr. Michael White.
Juan-Carlos Formell has a special connection to the Crescent city: his Grammy-nominated debut album, "Songs from a little blue house" (1999) was produced by Fischbach, and it was during the mix that Formell discovered his own roots in New Orleans -- the tomb of an ancestor in the St Louis Cemetery #2. (He later recorded a composition with that name on his third album, "Cemeteries & Desire").
Part of Formell's mission is to revive and re-affirm the historic connection between the music and musicians of Cuba and Louisiana. "The New Orleans second line is the sister of the comparsa of Santiago de Cuba." Formell says. "When I see New Orleans musicians playing, I feel like I'm with my cousins."
The name of his band and project, "Johnny's Dream Club" comes from a jazz club from Havana in the 1950s. But he says that it also represents a state of mind -- "the little club where jazz musicians got together after hours and met new people to exchange ideas and create something new -- you have to keep doing that wherever you go. I plan to invite some of my favorite New Orleans musicians to sit in with me."
Johnny's Dream Club features Cuban percussionist Jorge Leyva, Argentinian bassist Pedro Giraudo, violinist/trombonist Lewis Kahn (of Fania All-Stars fame.).
Juan-Carlos Formell in New Orleans
CubaNOLA hosts 9th Ward party featuring Juan-Carlos Formell