Ninety Miles is the distance between Miami and Havana, the closest points in the US and Cuba. The Ninety Miles Project, the companion CD to a documentary of the same name, comes from New Orleans-born trumpeter Christian Scott, Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sánchez, and New York vibraphonist Stefon Harris. It’s the latest in a long line of artistic efforts to bridge that divide and emphasize the musical, cultural and historical kinships between the two nations.
Recorded in Havana, the music on Ninety Miles displays the Caribbean roots that connect traditional Cuban music with US jazz and New Orleans, but it looks relentlessly forward. Scott, Harris, and Sánchez, along with the Cuban pianists Rember Duharte and Harold López-Nussa, whose separate quartets fill out the album, are modern jazz players through and through. Their compositions are ambitious, harmonically and rhythmically complex, and diversely influenced. After a couple of listens, it’s easy to distinguish between Harris’ blues-gospel melodies, the Afro-Cuban bebop Sánchez studied in Dizzy Gillespie’s band, and Scott’s wide-ranging jazz fusion.
Ninety Miles featuring
Stefon Harris, vibraphone
David Sánchez, saxophone
Nicholas Payton, trumpet
Berklee Performance Center Website