Berkeley High Plays Jazz in Cuba

Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble

Members of the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble are set to leave on the field trip of their dreams – a cultural exchange expedition to Cuba, possibly the first visit by young American jazz players since the Obama administration’s new rules for travel to Cuba took effect. A benefit concert for the trip will be held at the Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley, 7 p.m., Thursday May 24. The show features Mingus Amungus, a funky jazz/hip-hop group that includes several Berkeley High Jazz alumni.  KCSM radio’s Chuy Varela will serve as M.C. Also on the bill is a new band, the James Smalls Funk Experience, led by another Berkeley High alumnus. Proceeds from the concert will help guarantee that no student is left behind when the Ensemble leaves for Cuba on June 23. Tickets for the event are $20 for adults, $8 dollars for students. Donations are welcomed. While in Cuba, students will share in the daily studies of Cuban music students at the island nation’s high school music academy and participate in activities of professional Cuban musicians. The ensemble will also present their own repertoire to their Cuban peers in informal settings. In The trip is being organized by Oakland-based PlazaCUBA, a specialist in Cuba travel, under a cultural exchange license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. For more information contact Clifford Stanley at
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