On September 15, 2022, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque performed their first show in Toronto in more than 3 years at the legendary club El Mocambo. On September 20-23 they recorded their exciting new project, Playing with Fire, which captures the cutting-edge evolution of this award-winning ensemble, while making new inroads into the Afro-Cuban tradition that brought them together a decade ago. Playing with Fire will be released on March 1st 2023.
Jane Bunnett, Soprano Saxophone and Flute
Yissy García, Drums
Tailin Marrero, Bass & Vocals
Joanna Majoko, Vocals
Dánae Olano, Piano & Vocals
Mary Paz, Congas & Vocals
Five-time Juno Award winner, Jane Bunnett has turned her bands and recordings into showcases for the finest musical talent from Canada, the US, and Cuba. She has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, received The Order of Canada, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and, most recently, The Premier’s Award for Excellence.
With Maqueque, Bunnett has created something new and phenomenal in the world of jazz. What started out almost ten years ago as a project to record and mentor young brilliant Cuban female musicians, has become one of the top groups on the North American jazz scene. Since 2015, they have played in major jazz festivals like Newport and Monterey, been featured on NPR’s program Jazz Night in America, won a Juno Award for their first album, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, were nominated for a Grammy Award for their second release, Oddara and were nominated for a Juno Award for their latest release, On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme. Most recently, were voted as one the top ten jazz groups by the prestigious DownBeat magazine’s critics poll.
An internationally acclaimed musician, Bunnett is known for her creative integrity, improvisational daring, and courageous artistry. Her exploration of Afro-Cuban melodies expresses the universality of music, and her ability to embrace and showcase the rhythms and culture of Cuba has been ground-breaking. She has toured the world bringing her own special sound to numerous jazz festivals, displaying her versatility as a flutist, saxophone player, and pianist.
Two documentaries have been made about Bunnett’s work: Spirits of Havana by the National Film Board was presented at numerous film festivals internationally, on television (CBC, PBS), and in Europe. A more recent film, Embracing Voices, has been shown at film festivals and is awaiting commercial release.
As an educator, spokesperson, and social activist, Jane remains unafraid to explore uncharted territory in her quest for excellence.
“A conversation at the outset of a new era for female jazz musicians and Cuban culture’s global impact.” – Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times
“The celebrated Canadian soprano saxophonist is embracing voices again… Bunnett is back with an exquisite new ensemble of vocalists and instrumentalists named Maqueque, which means…’the spirit of a young girl, in the ancient Afro-Cuban dialect.’” – Raul da Gama, latinjazznet.com
“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.” – Kerry Doole, newcanadianmmusic.ca