Jane Bunnett and Maqueque – Playing with Fire (ENG review)

Afro Cuban, Jazz
Jane Bunnett and Maqueque - Playing with Fire

Cuban jazz with a feminine touch, perfect for dancing the night away! Jane Bunnett and Maqueque completely shatter the glass ceiling of Afro-Cuban jazz. “Afro-Cuban jazz” – Jon Garelick, Boston Globe. The international jazz community now knows the story of Maqueque, born from a jam session at the Cohiba Hotel in Havana. This session allowed the renowned jazz musician Jane Bunnett to collaborate with young female musicians and composers who had recently graduated from the Cuban conservatory. Over the past ten years, the group has created extraordinary jazz compositions and performances that have taken this all-female ensemble around the world.
For years, Jane Bunnett’s group has evolved, and with the arrival of 19-year-old violinist Daniela Olano, the sister of the co-founder and pianist of the group Danae Olano, and a very special guest, guitarist Donna Grantis, who was a member of 3RDEYEGIRL and played for many years with the legendary artist Prince. “Donna’s sound and textures have haunted me in my new music, and I think the end result is more than beautiful,” says Jane Bunnett. The result is “A God Unknown,” “A Human Race,” and “Sierra.” The collective has also reimagined two surprising jazz classics, Bud Powell’s “Tempus Fugit” and Charles Mingus’ “Jump Monk.”
This album will make you want to dance just as much as it will make you want to savor the musicians’ playing and arrangements. Every track is a delight to listen to, with a unique Cuban identity that gives it an exceptional flavor. At a time when we are overwhelmed with new album releases, this one stands out. We would love to receive more albums from Cuban musicians, a country that is full of talents as diverse as they are numerous. “A God Unknown,” which sounds like an intellectual identity to be redefined, is undoubtedly the album’s most personal track and perhaps its key. So we listen, and we listen again, as a breath of freedom sweeps through the compositions, enough to take these musicians on a journey around the world.
The editors of Paris-Move and Bayou Blue Radio love spicy music, flutes, violins, and brass that know how to get wild as well as glide smoothly through a score, and this album is no exception. It deserves the “Indispensable” label.

Thierry Docmac
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move

PARIS-MOVE, February 23rd 2023


Jane Bunnett’s website