This week’s theme of “Money and Power” resonates very personally with Ilmar Gavilán, who said money and power prevented him from performing with his brother and fellow musician, Aldo López-Gavilán in the U.S. since their childhood.
The brothers, born in Cuba, grew up together. Gavilán eventually left for the United States, but López-Gavilán stayed in Cuba.
Severed diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba from the Cold War prevented the brothers from performing together until last year when the countries restored diplomatic relations.
At 4 p.m. July 4 in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall, López-Gavilán will partner with his brother’s band, The Harlem Quartet, for the brothers’ third reunited performance in the U.S.
Their concert, a part of the Logan Chamber Music Series, features jazz pieces, as well as original pieces composed by López-Gavilán.
The Harlem Quartet, performing at Chautauqua Institution for the first time today, combines classical and American jazz music repertoires in its shows.
Gavilán said the chance to musically collaborate with López-Gavilán satisfies him both personally and professionally.
“You could imagine how happy I am,” Gavilán said. “Not only to share a stage with my brother, but to share a stage with a brilliant musician.”
Although López-Gavilán has become very well known in Europe and Cuba, Gavilán and his bandmates made their mark in the U.S. jazz music scene.
In 2013, The Harlem Quartet won multiple Grammy awards for its recording “Hot House” created with legendary jazz musicians Chick Corea and Gary Burton.
Gavilán said winning the Grammy was wonderful, but the chance to tour with Corea and Burton was even better.
“It was a learning experience being side by side with these two artists,” Gavilán said. “When you say Corea and Burton all of the jazz players take off their hats.”
The brothers have only played two concerts together in the U.S. so far, but Gavilán said López-Gavilán plans to tour more extensively in the coming year.
Gavilán labeled politics as the only thing that got in the way of working with his brother in the past. However, he said, lifting the Cuba travel ban showed the will of the people to listen to music and unite rather ran be divided by politics.
“Collaboration with my brother is a dream come true,” Gavilán said.