Day 21 - "Havana Suite" w/Peruchín, Juan Carlos Castro, Otto Selis & Zé Luis

Day 21:  We worked with over 100 Cuban musicians and got to know not just their musical talents but their philosophies, dreams and aspirations.  With Trade Winds we look to break down the borders of nationality and musical genres. To not talk about the music or decide what we are doing. To just play…  freedom in the moment.
For our very last session we bring together esteemed piano player Peruchín, conga player Otto Selis and Juan Carlos returns on drums.  We play this improvised suite at the new Egrem Studios.


Day 20 - "Dry Storm" featuring Charanga de Bejucal & Zé LuiS

Day 20: We finally get out of Havana… taking in the fresh air and lush vistas of the Cuban countryside. We arrive in a charming small town called Bejucal where horse drawn carts pull crates of avocados.  Bejucal hosts one of the most well known carnivals in Cuba and today we bring two rival Chiranga bands together for the first time ever.

Day 19 - "Prende' - Interactivo featuring Etiean, Telmary, Roberto Carcassés, AlejandRO Rodriguez, oliver valdes, Adel gomez & Zé Luis

Day 19:  Etiean another rapper on the scene shows up at the studio sporting his signature sunglasses. We invite him to join us for one last jam with Interactivo just after midnight.

Day 18 - 'Just Like That' w/Telmary, Roberto Carcassés, Oliver Valdes & Adel Gomez

Day 18: We meet the Queen of Cuban Rap Telmary after one of her shows. She’s a member of Interactivo ---- the premier timba collective in Cuba.  Timba is the fusion of salsa, American funk, R&B, with the strong influence of Afro-Cuban folkloric music.  We book a late night session back at Egrem and when pianist and founding member of Interactivo, Robert Carcassés, walks into the room, we know this will be another high point of
our trip.


Day 17 - "Cracking the Code" featuring the Tamayo Brothers & Zé Luis

Day 17: Like anywhere the world, there are two markets the legal and the illegal. What surprises us in Cuba is that even basic food items are sold on the black market.  When we go to the grocery store it’s stocked, with Havana Club rum and tomato sauce, but basics are scarce.  However, there’s no shortage of live music. Today we join a Descarga, what Cubans call a jam, in a restaurant on bustling 23rd avenue.

Day 16 - "Best of the Best" w/Zé Luis, Denis & Swing, Cafe Paris House Band

Day 16: Zé Luis is a chameleon on the saxophone with an uncanny ability to sit in and shine with any band. Between Zé’s jovial spirit, self-deprecating sense of humor and world class musicianship it’s no wonder why musicians immediately welcome him into their circles.  

He’s tours and records with dozens of the greats including Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Bebel Gilberto and the Brazilian Girls. Trade Winds is his story as much as my own and it’s easy to step gracefully into any situation when you’re with the maestro of ‘making it happen.’

Day 15 - "Building Bridges" featuring Ivan Pastrana, Alejandro Delgado & Zé Luis

Day 15: Tres player Ivan Pastrana, who has toured internationally and currently performs with Teté and Son Caturla, joins us for a session at Abdala Studios along with trumpet player Alejandro Delgado.

After the session we're so taken by his playing and prestigious career, that we're surprised to learn how difficult it's been for him to perform in the United States.

We invite him to come play with the Trade Winds project in New York at our home base, the prestigious Iridium Jazz Club where we've had 5 concerts creating 21 brand new bands in one night.


Day 14 - "Common Currency" w/Juan Carlos Rojas Castro & Dayron Rodriguez

Day 14: The U.S. Embargo on Cuba began in 1960 and is one of the most enduring trade embargoes in history. Last year Obama announced the thaw of relations with Cuba, but all tourism remains banned.  Artistic endeavors are an exception, but travel was difficult only up until a few months ago.  Now Americans can get their passports stamped without repercussions and qualify for categories like ‘Support of the Cuban People.’

Thanks to the funding from our 100 kickstarter backers, we are doing just that.  And while everyone knows we’re doing Trade Winds for the love of music, at some point it comes down
to business.  Even though Juan Carlos Rojas Castro is a Grammy award winning drummer for Chucho Valdez, we are honored that he is willing to be paid the same as everyone else, giving his valuable time and talent to our cross-cultural experiment. We do an old school drum and bass session in his garage with his grandson Dayron rocking on conga.

Day 13 - "Caribbean Roots" w/ Zé Luis & Son de Gaüso

Day 13: We find a group of guys from the east side of Cuba --- Guantanamo --- who play a style of music called Changüí . Changüí combines elements of Spanish music with African rhythms and originated in rural slave communities in the early 19th century.

They even keep traditions alive like tuning a drum with fire.

I can’t wait to show off my giant Marimba chops, but after we finish our session, the guitarist picks up the upright bass and is joined one by one by the other musicians. Everything sounds so natural and effortless it seems nearly impossible that this was made up on the spot.

Day 12 - "July Snow" w/Chicoy, Ramses Rodriguez, Emilio Morales & Zé LUIS

Day 12 - Brazil and Cuba are two musical super powers and they both come together this night on stage at one of the most important theaters in Havana - Teatro Mella.  From Brazil -- multi-instrumentalist and singer Marcos Valle.

From Cuba preeminent pianist Roberto Fonseca with drummer Ramses Rodriguez & guitarist Chicoy, father of Oliver Valdes one of our favorite drummers.  We invite Ramses & Chicoy to do a session at Egrem studios along with Emilio Morales joining on piano.

Day 11 - 'The New Now' featuring Mary Paz

Day 11: Havana's nightlife lives up to its reputation. We keep running into an incredible conga player Mary Paz.  She suggests we do a set at Cafe Corner, and we completely switch it up for this chill session in front of a live audience.

 Day 10 - "Havana Sky" featuring Don Poncho Terry, El Niño, Lidia Terry & Zé Luis.

Day 10: We couldn’t get enough of Don Pancho Terry and he’s gracious enough to invite us into his home for a session. From the music score iron-work on the front porch to the sweeping rainbow above, we knew we had truly lucked out.  His wife Lidia makes the best mango juice we’ve ever had and we realize from the family photos that we know their two sons Yosvanny and Yunior, esteemed musicians from the New York scene.

Don Poncho’s prestigious career brought him to fame in 1948 as the founder of the classic orchestra of Camaguey.  We’re astonished by his rhythmic dexterity & his ability to play 2 instruments and sing while barely breaking a sweat.

Day 9 - "Port of Hope" w/ Pablo Diez, Juan Luis, Juan Arastias, El Niño & Zé Luis

Day 9:  On a beautiful Friday afternoon we go to the Plaza de Armas where we discover a sprawling orchestra performing live in the open air, a local fair of rare used book and a host of local musicians playing on the street. We ask two guitarist to join us for a session and soon a larger group assembles on the sidewalk for a chill jam on the street. We are even joined spontaneously by a clarinetist from the orchestra toward the end of this piece.  Overlooking the water, the view, the traffic and the entire vibe was seamlessly integrated with the music we played, it felt like we were locals. 

Day 8 - 'Passing the Torch' w/Don Poncho TERRY, El Niño, Kevin DE JESÚS, Jesús &  Zé LUIS

Day 8: On our quest to discover more talent, the streets prove to be the best source yet again. El Niño finds us another gem when he spots Don Poncho Terry walking up the Avenida de los Presidentes.  Don Poncho Terry is a master of the traditional Afro-Cuban drumming and vocal styles  --- a music rooted in the prayers, songs and rhythms that accompany religious
ceremonies.  We bring him together with an 8-year old conga player prodigy Kevin, making this a  multi generational collaboration.

Day 7 - 'Planet Fluto' featuring René Herrera, El Niño & Zé Luis

Day 7: Riding high on the vibes from yesterday’s session with Tete, her percussionist El Nino takes us under his wing and offers to introduce us to his vast network.  He picks us up in a taxi and takes us 30 minutes outside of Havana to visit virtuoso flautist René Herrera.  Living on the fringes of the Havana music scene, we find him practicing to the TV – playing along with his former maestro Richard Egües, one of the giants of Cuban music.   We’re taught a lesson in the history of the wooden flute in Cuban music, and eventually are able to convince him to improvise a piece with us.


Day 6 - 'Mis Dudas' featuring Teté and Son Caturla w/Zé Luis

Day 6: Our connections with musicians are starting to dry up and we are feeling the pressure to finish the 21 collaborations, running out of ideas for musicians. No one was available and we had 15 more sessions to book. We literally turned a corner when we discovered our neighbor Teté Caturla rehearsing on her front porch. A legendary singer that was on top of the world in the 50s and 60s leading two all female groups Cuarteto d'Aida and Orquesta Anacaona. She continues to make her mark as a member of the Buena Vista Social Club, Cuban All Stars and
touring with her own band Son Caturla led by her son and musical director Johannes Caturla.

Day 5 - 'Yank Tank' featuring Julito PadrÓn, David Alfaro, Adel Gomez & Zé LuiS

Day 5: 1950s Fords, Buicks, Chevrolets trapped in space and time are the best way of traveling to gigs. Locals call them Almendrones.   We call them Yank Tanks.

We zoomed to Café Mira Mar where we had a session with Julito Padron on trumpet, David Alfaro on piano, Adel Gomez on percussion and Zé on sax.

Day 4 - 'Cactus Flower' featuring Ernesto "Palma", Cesar "El Lento", Jose Pastrana & Zé LUIS

Day 4 - This is the first session where we collaborate with musicians we had never met nor heard. Tres player Cesar and guitarist Ernesto were brought in by percussionist friend Jose Angel. We met them in the beautiful gardens of the Artists and Writers Union and knew the moment Cesar began to sing that we had found a diamond.

Day 3 - 'In the Temple' featuring Rolando Luna, Oliver Valdés & Zé Luis

Day 3: Egrem Studios is the legendary recording studio in Old Havana. All the major figures of the Cuban music scene have recorded here, including Chucho Valdes, Ry Cooder and the Buena Vista Social Club. We book a session with two legends in the making, piano player Rolando Luna and drummer Oliver Valdés.


Day 2: At the center of Havana, Callejon de Hamel is an epicenter for everything Afro Cuban. The narrow alley is an art gallery and live performance space. A converging point for both tourists and locals, the highlight is the all female percussion and dance group “Rumba Morena.” We were thrilled when they said yes to our proposal.

DAY 1 - 'Breaking Barriers' featuring José Julián Morejón Pino, Keisel Jimenez, Eduardo Ramos Hernández, Edgar Martinez Ochoa and Zé Luis Oliveira.

Day 1: Trade Winds Cuba kicks off its first session at Abdala studios with a 5 piece percussion group featuring José Julian Morejón Pino, Keisel Jimenez, Joaquín Bergamino, Edgar Martinéz Ochoa and Eduardo Ramos Hernandes.

Trade winds cuba: 21 EPISODES COMING THIS JULY

Trade Winds Finale hits the stage of the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City featuring twenty-one new bands in one evening with  musicians from New Orleans and Puerto Rico.

In this last piece "21st hour'  we feature Dave Mullen on sax, MAX ZT on hammer dulcimer, Memo Acevedo on drums and Nelson Cabassa on bomba from Puerto Rico.

Trade Winds SaN JUAN & NEW ORLEANS Video SERieS

The Roots

Trade Winds comes on the heels of an ambitious project Matt completed called 21 — The 21 video series showcased over 43 musicians from 20 countries. 

"The sessions were magical because we were able to craft incredible compositions across cultures and languages within an hour, even though most of us hadn't even met before," remarks Matt.

The Rules

The two rules for each 21 session:

1) The musicians were not allowed to speak about the music.

2) The musicians were to create and improvised composition.

"Through this model we were able to create some very powerful spontaneous improvised compositions," says Geraghty.

The Route

Everyone involved was so inspired by this concept,  a new vision arose to  expand on this model to go to the historical ports and hubs of trading in Africa, Brazil and Caribbean and work with local musicians to unearth the common roots of music there.

"Trade Winds will be doing the road back where the migrations were before", says project Executive Producer Zé Luis.


We also see great possibilities discovering local musicians and the causes close to their hearts that need support and shedding light on those issues to a broader international audience
— Laura Newman, Trade Winds Filmmaker