In January 2019, while on a trip to Cuba, I was introduced to the jazz trumpeter Yasek Manzano. Educated at Cuba’s renowned Alejandro Garciá Caturla and Amadeo Roldán conservatories, as well as New York’s Juilliard School of Music, and mentored by jazz greats Roy Hargrove and Wynton Marsalis, Yasek is considered one of his country’s most exciting and talented musicians.
So I was thrilled when Yasek agreed, as a project for a class I was attending in Havana with Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, to let me follow him around with my camera for the better part of a week. During that time, Yasek rehearsed with the pianist Roxana Coz, a string orchestra led by Alice Jane Guerra Rivera, and the string quartet Opus 10 for a concert of Baroque music and originals, and, one late night, he set up for an urban jazz show at a local club. I didn’t get to photograph a performance that week—the concert took place after I left and the club show was canceled due to weather—but I got to witness the creative drive, exacting passion, and deep musical understanding that make this man such an astonishing artist. I hope the photos in this portfolio convey those attributes.