Featuring Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba,
Francisco Mora Catlett’s Afro Horn & Román Díaz’s Rumba Ensemble

On Thursday, November 11, pianist, composer, and ensemble leader Michele Rosewoman will present “A Function at the Junction: Ancestral Bridge, Musical Streams” / “Una Función en el Cruce: Puente Ancestral, Corrientes Musicales,” a collaborative, multimedia event that will bring together Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba ensemble, Francisco Mora Catlett’s Afro Horn and Román Díaz’s Rumba Ensemble in live performance with video documentation, a subsequent HotHouseGlobal broadcast, and Habana/Harlem panels.

The program will take place at the Clemente Soto Velez Center, Flamboyan Theater in New York City (107 Suffolk St, NYC) as part of Arts for Art’s three-day festival, Jazz Libre.

Tickets are available now. In-Person: $15/set, $25/night | Livestream: $5/set

On December 18, the event will be broadcast on Cuban national television (and beyond) as part of a 2-night event (Dec 18/19) through the HotHouseGlobal streaming platforms on Twitch, YouTube, HotHouse’s website, and Facebook Live.

A recipient of the prestigious Southarts Jazz Road Creative Residency grant, Rosewoman has created a night that gives broader space and voice to the inspirations and traditions that have shaped and nurtured her. “With New Yor-Uba, we pay homage to the journey of centuries-old Yoruba traditions from Nigeria through Cuba to present-day New York, reflecting its contemporary manifestations,” says Rosewoman.

The ensemble’s distinctive repertoire features Ms. Rosewoman’s original compositions and visionary arrangements that incorporate a large spectrum of Cuban spiritually-based musical traditions, including Yoruba (Nigeria), Arará (Dahomey), Abakuá (Calabar), and rumba/guaguanco, a uniquely Cuban musical form.

The New York Times has described her music as “two big cultural streams flowing simultaneously…ancient and experimental at the same time, and capacious enough to include more and more.”

A Function at the Junction: Ancestral Bridge, Musical Streams is made possible with the support of Jazz Road, a national initiative of South Arts, which the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation funds with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Rosewoman shares her vision:
As part of a unique community of musicians in NYC with deep ties to spiritually-based Cuban folkloric traditions and contemporary jazz, Ms. Rosewoman, Román Díaz, and Francisco Mora Catlett share conceptual, artistic, and spiritual intersections. Ms. Rosewoman sees this residency as an opportunity to “incorporate and stage the work of treasured co-creators who also highlight these traditions in unique contemporary contexts while building bridges between artists and cultural voices based in N.Y. and also those artificially separated by Cuba/U.S. policies.”

Master folklorist Román Díaz, a member of all three ensembles (leader of one) and a former member of Yoruba Andabo (Cuba), has been a featured and foundational member of her New Yor-Uba ensemble since 2008. Fulfilling a desire to further share her music (deeply informed by traditions born of Cuba) with Cuban audiences through her partnership with HotHouseGlobal, especially gratifying for Ms.Rosewoman is that Mr. Diaz is featured in all three ensembles.

“This project enables us to share Mr. Díaz with the Cuban communities he is born of but separated from, as they experience his impact on the jazz community here in the U.S.,” says Rosewoman. “And by ‘taking’ this music to Cuba, we all return to the source and pay homage to the roots of our inspiration, nurturing this junction.”

A fearless bandleader and mentor for four decades, Michele Rosewoman has expanded the horizons of jazz while remaining firmly rooted in tradition. With recordings as a leader on Blue Note, Enja, SoulNote, Toshiba-EMI, and her Advance Dance Disques label, her long-standing Quintessence ensemble has consistently brought together cutting-edge voices (Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, Miguel Zenon, Gary Thomas, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tyshawn Sorey) while her New Yor-Uba ensemble presents an uncompromised synthesis of contemporary jazz and traditional Cuban folkloric music, uniting master musicians from both worlds, She has performed with many jazz and Latin music greats, including, Jimmy Heath, Billy Harper, Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Reggie Workman, Freddie Waits, Gary Bartz, James Spaulding, Billy Hart, Carlos Ward, Billy Bang, Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Chocolate, Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios, Román Díaz, Pedrito Martinez and many others. She has presented her various ensembles at festivals, concert halls, clubs, and universities worldwide and is an active and dedicated educator. A 2016 Latin jazz Grammy winner, her innovative projects have received great critical acclaim and numerous prestigious awards.

Michele Rosewoman and New Yor-Uba Small Ensemble

An NEA performance grant facilitated the 1983 debut of New Yor-Uba: A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America featuring master folklorist Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios at NYC’s Public Theater. For 38 years, New Yor-Uba has been a forum for collaboration between masters from the worlds of contemporary jazz and Cuban folkloric music. The concept and sound remain uniquely vital as Rosewoman continues to enhance the ensemble’s repertoire with new music and personnel, further inspiring her to reflect upon and explore the organic links between these deep musical traditions. The ensemble has released two acclaimed albums, a self-titled double L.P. (2013, NPR’s #1 Latin Jazz recording of the year) and Hallowed (2019, NPR’s #3 Latin Jazz recording).

Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba lineup:
Michele Rosewoman– piano/vocals. Alex Norris–trumpet. Mike Thomas- alto & soprano saxophone, Isaiah Collier-tenor saxophone. Chris Washburne–trombone/bass trombone/tuba. Gregg August–bass. Robby Ameen–drums. Román Díaz – percussion/vocals. Rafael Monteagudo–percussion. Mauricio Herrera-percussion/vocals, Abraham Rodriguez- lead vocals.

Francisco Mora Catlett Afro Horn

Francisco Mora Catlett’s Afro Horn: Francisco Mora Catlett–drums. Sam Newsome–soprano saxophone. Román Díaz –percussion. James Weidman–piano. Rashaan Carter–bass. Alex Harding–baritone saxophone.

is an avant-garde ensemble that highlights the African presence in the Americas through an assemblage of prime musicians and a repertoire of written and improvised jazz expressions and Cuban folkloric influences. Mr. Mora has performed and recorded with Sun Ra, Max Roach, Detroit greats including Marcus Belgrave, Kent Cox, and Carl Craig and is co-founder of the Oyu Oro Afro-Cuban Experimental Dance Company (2000) with his wife Danys “La Mora” Perez Prades, performing dance and music from the African Diaspora. 

Román Díaz’s Rumba Ensemble

Román Díaz ‘s Rumba Ensemble: Román Díaz -percussion/vocals.  Clemente Medina-percussion.  Rafael Monteagudo – percussion. Barry Cox – percussion/vocals.   Abraham Rodriguez – lead vocals.   Máximo Gustavo – vocals. Onel Mulet – saxophone, vocals   

ROMÁN DÍAZ is a scholar of religious and folkloric music, composer & performer of folklore, and contemporary jazz. Considered both a pillar of the New York City jazz avant-garde and one of Afro Cuban music’s great innovators, his Rumba Ensemble displays his vision of the confluence of New York City’s tradition of music of the African diaspora. He has performed and recorded with Merceditas Valdes, Raices Profundas, Paquito D’Rivera, Michele Rosewoman, Henry Threadgill, David Virelles, Jane Bunnett, Juan Carlos Formell, Orlando “Puntilla” Rios, Oriente Lopez, Afro Horn& Danilo Perez among many others.

Additional Project and HotHouse Broadcast Events
A roundtable conversation to be produced and hosted by HABANA/HARLEM™ wherein ensemble leaders and noted scholars and artists steeped in the African religious, cultural expressions will explore the junctions of Cuban cultural traditions in the diaspora and their impact on U.S.-based musicians. Participants will include Frank Bell, Ivor Miller, Michele Rosewoman, Román Díaz, and Francisco Mora Catlett (date to be announced).

Guest appearances by legendary Cuban groups Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and Yoruba Andabo and an encore concert by Oakland-based vocalist Bobi Cespedes, as part of the HotHouse 2-day broadcast. (Dec 18/19)

Partnering Organizations and Collaborators
Arts for Art is dedicated to the exceptional creativity in the African American multi-arts jazz culture that utilizes improvisation to express a larger, more positive dream of inclusion and freedom. We work to preserve the legacy of FreeJazz through multi-arts programming, supporting the legends, mid-career and young artists. We ensure a vital future for the improvised arts by offering music education and mentoring programs to those in need.

HotHouse: The Center for International Performance & Exhibition dba HotHouse is a 34 -year old non-profit arts presenter in Chicago with a mission to instigate, produce and otherwise facilitate participatory multi-disciplinary events that create opportunities for high caliber artistic practices; that extend their collective resources into underserved communities and foster the international exchange of ideas and methods within the context of progressive social change praxis. HotHouseGlobal was created in 2020 to serve artists during the pandemic. The HotHouseGlobal channel facilitates a variety of multi-arts and community-based content and a worldwide network in the social justice and cultural sector.

™ (Neyda Martinez and Onel Mulet) is a music & humanities initiative that celebrates this cultural and creative nexus by supporting and presenting projects and artists that foster dialogue and cultural appreciation; long-time collaborator of Michele Rosewoman, co-producers of two New Yor-Uba recordings & various live events.

Panel participants:

Scholar and Educator Ivor Miller is a Research Affiliate at the African Studies Center at Boston University who specializes in the cultural history of the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon, and its impact in the Caribbean and the Americas through the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Frank Bell has been an educator and seasoned 0riate in the Cuban Lukumi tradition for over 26 years. Mr. Bell brings a wealth of knowledge of song tradition from the Afro-Cuban belief system and the divination systems integral to the tradition. Mr. Bell is also a Batá drummer and a performer of the dance traditions of Cuba’s varied African-based belief systems. Mr. Bell will also serve as emcee and moderator for a post-concert Q&A with ensemble leaders and the audience.


Michele Rosewoman – Chris Drukker

Román Díaz – Motema Music

Francisco Mora Catlett – Unknown


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