Four-time JUNO winner (and double Grammy nominee) Jane Bunnett has long been-established as one of our most important jazz and world music artists. The multi-instrumentalist/composer/bandleader has dug deep into the treasure trove of Cuban music, and does so again on brilliant new project Maqueque. It teams Jane with a group of young female musicians and singers from Cuba, and the result is a self-titled Afro-Cuban jazz album with rich rhythms and spirited playing and singing. Bunnett splits the compositions with Maqueque's Dayme Arocena, while the cover of Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine" is a sweet treat. Notable guests include Hilario Duran, Eliana Cuevas, Telmary Diaz and Heavyweights Brass Band, and long-time collaborator Larry Cramer produces with clarity. A gem.
The album was launched at Toronto's Lula Lounge last week, followed by a national jazz fest tour that closes out in Calgary (June 27) and Edmonton (June 28). For subsequent Ontario dates, go to her website.