Soprano saxophone/flute – Jane Bunnet
Percussion – Yissy García
Piano – Danae Olano
Vocals and Percussion – Magdelys Savigne
Bass – Celia Jimenez
Vocals and Percussion – Melvis Santa Estevez
For more than thirty years, Canadian flutist and saxophonist Jane Bunnett has been introducing American jazz audiences to some of the finest musicians that Cuba has to offer. Now, the four-time JUNO Award winner has teamed up with an all-woman sextet to inject her music with an invigorating dose of youthful energy.
On their 2014 self-titled debut, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque blend scintillating Afro-Cuban rhythms, folkloric influences, exhilarating jazz, and soulful vocals into an utterly intoxicating blend. Maqueque, a name means “the spirit of a young girl” in the Yorùbá religion.
Bunnett wrote much of the music for Jane Bunnett and Maqueque in the central Ontario cabin built by her grandfather, a refuge surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. Those elements directly influenced the disc’s opening track, “Papineau,” named for a nearby waterfall.
Bunnett is no stranger to these kind of collaborations. Her longstanding ensemble, Spirits of Havana, provided early opportunities musicians like Dafnis Prieto, Yosvany Terry, Pedrito Martínez, and David Virelles. But for her, the all-female line-up provides the band with a unique energy, Bunnett says. “There’s a very happy energy about it,” she describes. “All of the women are very supportive of each other….One of the things that I really love about music is to collaborate with the different personalities who are out there, because everybody can always bring something very different to the table.”