Photo credit Anna Encheva.
As part of its inaugural Women in Percussion festival last October, Lula Music and Arts Centre had the pleasure of introducing Cuban singer, songwriter, percussionist and bandleader Brenda Navarrete to Lula audiences. Backed by some of the most frequent contributors to our weekly Cuban, salsa and jazz series (pianist Jorge Bettancourt, bassist Roberto Riveron and drummer Anthony Daniel) Brenda performed her original compositions and provided a glimpse of her forthcoming debut solo album, Mi Mundo on Alma Records.
Brenda had previously performed in Toronto as part of the Interactivo collective in 2014 as part of the stellar Luminato concert series put together by Hugh’s room programmer and Mundial Montreal Director, Derek Andrews. Since then Brenda has been returning to Toronto periodically and established a growing reputation on Canada’s jazz scene.
An adept bata and conga player, as well as a compelling vocalist and bandleader, Navarrete has gathered some of Cuba’s most highly-respected musicians to contribute to her first release. Renowned special guests include Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernandez, Rodney Barreto and Jose Carlos on drums, Roberto Carcasses, Rolando Luna, Hilario Duran and Leonardo Ledesman on piano, Alain Perez on bass, Adonis Panter on quinto and Eduardo Sandoval on trombone.
Counting Sarah Vaughan, Cassandra Wilson, Celia Cruz, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Bobby McFerrin and Yellow Jackets among her many musical influences, Navarrete has created a unique fusion of American jazz and traditional Cuban music as exemplified in her piece “Caravana,” a distinctive take on the Duke Ellington classic “Caravan.” Toronto jazz and Latin music lovers can catch Brenda’s CD release at the Jazz Bistro on Tuesday, January 16th.