Havana Jazz Fest
Cuban Roots Music with Roger Glenn
Experience the 2019 Havana Jazz Festival with jazz master Roger Glenn. Held annually since 1979, the festival is a six-day feast of spellbinding performances by some of the best musicians in the world. Meet local musicians and artists as you take in the historical and cultural wonders of Havana, Cuba's gritty, bustling capital. Visit Matanzas, the nearby port city known as the birthplace of the Rumba and Danzón. Along the way, trip leader Roger Glenn (longtime flute, sax and vibraphonist with Taj Mahal, among others) will share his deep knowledge and love for Cuban music, from its rural roots to its marriage with American jazz. You’ll fall in love with elegant, exuberant Havana: its friendly residents, contemporary artists, exceptional architecture, music, and colorful outdoor markets. It will surprise you with its richness and depth of culture. Enjoy music and dance everywhere as an expression of the soul of the Cuban people. Mingle with renowned musicians at local performances as you meet people who welcome visitors with friendly smiles, laughter and conversation.
Dates: January 16 – 21, 2019 (6 days)
Cost: $3,995 (double occupancy)
Add: $750 (single supplement)
Itinerary: Havana, Matanzas
HAVANA is the bustling capital of Cuba, located on one of the world’s greatest natural harbors. The beauty of its architecture demonstrates what was once a rich, powerful and sophisticated city founded by the Spaniards in the 16th century. Today Havana is a city perfect for strolling in the salt soaked air of the Malecón, listening to music on street corners, or dining in one of Hemingway’s old haunts. Learn why the friendly and outgoing locals are proud of their culture-rich city and happy to share its historic treasures and many hidden gems.
Day 1 | Havana Arrive midday at Jose Marti International Airport. Meet trip leader Roger Glenn and Cross Cultural Journeys’ local Cuban guide outside of baggage claim. Drive along the iconic Malecón waterfront and pass through the Plaza de la Revolución, where Fidel Castro gave many of his most important speeches. After checking in at your boutique hotel, Roger will speak to the group about the diversity and significance of Afro-Cuban music and give an overview of the incredible musical education that lies ahead in the coming days. Enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at one of our favorite paladares, followed by the Havana Jazz Festival OPENING GALA (transportation INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (D)
Day 2 | Havana Experience a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past and uncertain future by an expert architect and city planner. Explore Old Havana on a guided walking tour of the main Cathedral and surrounding plazas. Enjoy lunch at one of Old Havana’s classic eateries. Visit the beautiful Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes contemporary section where your guide will explain the history of Cuba through its art. Meet with a traditional cigar roller who will teach you the art and science behind what makes Cuban cigars the best in the world. Dinner on your own. Evening Jazz Festival activities (transportation NOT INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (B/L)
MATANZAS the capital of the Province of Matanzas, is known as the birthplace of the music and dance traditions of the Danzón and Rumba, which originated in the dockyards of this port city. The city is located on the beautiful Bay of Matanzas, sometimes referred to as the Athens of Cuba, known for its poets, culture and rich Afro-Cuban folklore.
Day 3 | Matanzas / Cojimar / Havana After breakfast, depart for a day trip to Matanzas, the beautiful port city east of Havana. During the two-hour drive, Roger will present about the history of Afro-Cuban music, and how its many distinctive threads have cross-pollinated with American jazz over the past century, weaving the rich musical tapestry that we see today. Visit the local conservatory to witness the amazing ways Cuba’s education system nurtures musical and artistic talent. After lunch at a local paladar, take a scenic tour of Matanzas, including a stop at the historic plaza. On our return to Havana, stop in the village of Cojimar, where Ernest Hemingway moored his famous fishing boat Pilar. Enjoy a delicious seafood feast at one of our favorite paladares, followed by evening Jazz Festival activities (transportation NOT INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (B/D)
Day 4 | Havana Explore Finca Vigía, the estate where author Ernest Hemingway lived for over 20 years. Visit the urban organic farm Alamar and talk to the owners about Cuba’s widespread adoption of organic farming practices. After lunch at a renowned organic restaurant, head to the Museum of the Revolution. Dinner on your own. Evening Jazz Fest activities (transportation NOT INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (B/L)
Day 5 | Havana Visit the Callejón de Hamel (Hamel’s Alley) to see local musicians, dancers and artists influenced by the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion and enjoy a presentation by the organizer of this inspiring community art project. Take the local ferry to the neighborhood of Regla, where we visit the Church of the Seafarers with the Black Madonna, their patron saint. Lunch on your own in Old Havana. Free time to explore the vast artisan’s market. Enjoy a delicious farewell dinner before heading out to the Havana Jazz Festival CLOSING FINALE (transportation INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (B/D)
Day 6 | Havana / Home Before your departure home, the morning is free for any last-minute adventures before we bid Cuba farewell. Transfer to airport for flight to Miami, then onward to flights home. (B)
Donations: Musical instruments and art supplies are hard to come by in Cuba. We encourage our travelers to bring easily transportable supplies to give to Cuban artists and students who you may meet on this journey -- i.e. guitar strings, reeds, woodwind pads, paint brushes, drawing pads, etc. A portion of your trip fee will go to the Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation to provide much-needed support to the people and communities we visit.
NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are in Cuba; to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Restaurants or hotels may change in similar category.
INCLUDED: In-country transportation per itinerary; Havana Jazz Festival Pass ($360 value); comfortable boutique hotel (double occupancy); full breakfast buffet daily at the hotel plus 2 lunches and 3 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); Cuban English speaking local guide; Journey Host Roger Glenn and Cross Cultural Journeys trip manager, all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; tips for bellman and hotel staff, bottled water on the bus.
NOT INCLUDED: International airfare, Cuban visa, departure tax and medical insurance while in Cuba; meals not on itinerary; alcoholic drinks; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); travel cancellation and evacuation insurance (strongly recommended, info will be sent upon registration).
TRAVEL PROTECTION: For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 47-0272. Please advise Travelex that Cross Cultural Journeys is the travel company for this trip.
Roger Glenn: Second-generation jazz master Roger Glenn is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and entertainer on the flute, sax, clarinet and vibraphone. He is the son of the late Tyree Glenn, one of 57 notable jazz musicians pictured in the historic photo “A Great Day in Harlem,” and who worked with jazz icons including Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong.
Roger has performed, toured and recorded with jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaria, Rosemary Clooney, Herbie Mann and Pete Escovedo. His flute playing is featured on the Grammy-award winning album “La Onda Va Bien” with Cal Tjader, as well as many notable recordings by Donald Byrd, Peaches and Herb, ConFunkShun, and Bobby Hutcherson.
In addition to his own Roger Glenn Latin Jazz Ensemble and The San Francisco Jazz Quartet, he most recently has been touring as a special guest with Taj Mahal, Kurt Elling, and The Count Basie Orchestra.