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As Maqueque settles into a Birdland run, Jane Bunnett speaks with Nicole Sweeney

courtesy of the artist

Jane Bunnett is a force to be reckoned with. Her genuine connection with the members of Maqueque — an ensemble of women from Cuba — began as a mentoring initiative and developed into Grammy-nominated, Juno Award-winning albums and worldwide tours. In September 2019, Bunnett and Maqueque even joined Bobby Sanabria in our studio for a special performance on Latin Jazz Cruise.

Bunnett, a soprano saxophonist and composer from Canada, joined me in conversation this week about the project, which has settled in for a residency at Birdland this week. She talks about the members of the group with what seems a motherly instinct — proudly affirming how much she learns and grows from each of these dynamic women.

As Maqueque settles into a run a Birdland, Jane Bunnett speaks with Nicole Sweeney

And while she is not of Cuban descent, Bunnett talks about her connection to that amazing country, and how it has led her to where she is today. She says the audience at Birdland can expect something a little different but always in sync, as these women have grown to become a family and more.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque appear through Sunday at Birdland.

Nicole Sweeney is a Queens-born, Long Island-raised music lover. Growing up in New York with West Indian parents, she was surrounded by all types of music every day and the influence of jazz was constant.