Jane Bunnett & the Spirits of Havana have been touring since June, baring their highly sophisticated, worldly, and profoundly Latin soul to audiences all across North America. Bunnett has built her career on bridging worlds, releasing a spate of albums that celebrate the complex rhythms of Cuba, a country she has incorporated into both mind-set and stage set. The Spirits of Havana include Bunnett's husband, producer-trumpeter Larry Cramer; the sparkling Cuban pianist Hilario Duran; and a killer rhythm section, with two conga players. Bunnett and Cramer have visited Cuba several times a year for the past two decades; the yield is music designed to counter the antediluvian politics that keep the U.S. embargo in place.
A mystical, expressive soprano saxophonist, Bunnett often acknowledges mentors in her work, including pianist Don Pullen, her musical partner for many years; and Dewey Redman, a great saxophonist who worked with her on Spirituals & Dedications, one of her most moving (and non-Cuba-related) albums. Bunnett's a remarkable flutist, too; there's nothing laid-back or dainty about her solos, no matter the instrument.