A Tuba to Cuba traces the journey of Ben Jaffe and The Preservation Hall Brass Band as they unearth the spiritual and cultural connection between Afro-Caribbean music and New Orleans jazz.
Allan and Sandra Jaffe were vacationing in New Orleans when they discovered Preservation Hall and the incredible musicians who played there. In 1961, the pair were hired as managers of the historic venue. While they were there, the house band, the Olympia Brass Band, morphed into the Preservation Hall Brass Band. The band is still going strong, and today, Alan and Sandra’s son Ben Jaffe plays double bass and tuba with the band.
Jaffe narrates the film, and his desire to realize his father’s unfulfilled dream to go to Cuba motivates him and inspires the band as they make the journey. A Tuba to Cuba is a musical and visual odyssey of the trip the Preservation Hall Jazz Band decides to undertake in 2015, after the Cuban embargo is lifted. Band members on the trip include Clint Maedgen on saxophone, Walter Harris on drums, Ronell Johnson on trombone, Branden Lewis on trumpet, Kyle Roussel on piano and Charlie Gabriel on saxophone and clarinet.
A Tuba to Cuba is a tumble of sights, sounds, people, and of course, music. Humble homes reveal talented musicians who joyfully share their music with the newcomers, and with the street people who surround them. Jaffe’s presence keeps the film focused on the power of music and how it can help overcome cultural barriers.
The band learns about chekeré, played on a hollow beaded gourd, they encounter practitioners of Santeria, they share music with school children, and they play in the streets while people dance with joy. A Tuba to Cuba is an exploration of the power of music to bring generations of people together, across oceans and political divisions. Music is indeed the universal language.
There will be a Q&A with filmmakers following the film. Purchase Tickets Here
A Tuba to Cuba will screen at Crown Hall in Mendocino on Friday, May 31, followed by a Special Event: A dance party with Mama Grows Funk. Get those dancing shoes moving with a potent mix of funk, R&B, Latin, and soul. Tickets to the dance party alone will be sold at the door after the film, subject to availability.