Montgomery County Community College's Then and Now: Jazz Cubano Series Begins

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Poncho Sanchez and band. Image courtesy of Montgomery County Community College.

Montgomery County Community College's (MCCC) Then and Now: Jazz Cubano series kicks off this weekend with a performance by Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Band. The series was designed to highlight the vibrancy of Afro-Cuban influences in jazz, and will include performances, panel discussions, and film screenings through the fall of 2013.

Sanchez, who is known for igniting a "fiery stew of straight-ahead jazz, gritty soul music and infectious melodies" when performing, will open the series on Saturday, October 26, with a tribute to Cubano-Be, Cubano-Bop, an album composed and recorded by conga drummer Chano Pozo with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in 1947. The album was an early experiment in uniting facets of Cuban jazz and bebop and was "something that didn't exist before in this country," according to Sanchez. Their work contributed to the evolution of Latin jazz in the forties, which paved the way for the genre in the latter half of the 20th century and beyond.

The concert will be preceded by a panel, "Cubanidad: Race, Identity and Politics in Afro-Cuban Culture," led by ethomusicologists Robin Moore and David Garcia at 7 p.m. at MCCC's Science Center Theater. For more event information, visit MCCC's Lively Arts website. To learn more about Poncho Sanchez, click here.

The Jazz Cubano series will continue on November 16 with Omar Sosa and his Afri-Lectric Experience, and on December 14 with Ninety Miles, a group comprised of jazz musicians Stefon Harris, David Sanchez, and Christian Scott.