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Diversity, variety drives Latin Jazz All-Stars

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Since its inception in 2001, the Latin Jazz All-Stars has been a shifting collective of players -- something that might drive others crazy but that tenor saxophonist Yosvanny Terry feels is a plus.

"I only look at us as positive thins," says the Cuban-born Terry, 38, who's in his 11th year in the LJAS. "We're always dealing with new music and new approaches to it depending on who brought the music in and what they want to get out of it and who's in the band.

"It's always changing. It's like an open platform for sharing new music and performing new music. Everyone brings in a tune or two tunes and we never know what it's going to be until we get to the rehearsal prior to the stage. That keeps it interesting."

For the audience, meanwhile, the LJAS offers a wide array of styles and cultural influences, which Terry acknowledges makes Latin Jazz an umbrella term rather than a specific style.

"What we do embraces many countries," he explains. "For the most part I've been associated 90 percent with Cuban music, Afro-Cuban rhythms, but it really embraces a lot more than that. The one thing that it all has is a percussion aspect that puts it in a different place if you compare it to more straight-ahead jazz. There's always that percussion, but there's so many different rhythms and flavors and elements. It's never just one thing."

Terry is also confident that the new relationship between the United States and Cuba will lead to an even greater cultural exchange. He was recently back in his homeland and found the mood there to be "very positive and excited," and he feels the two countries will hit the ground running as things become more formalized.

"The exchange of ideas will accomplish so much that politics hasn't," Terry notes. "For so many of us, this was unthinkable. We never saw it coming before. It's been 56 years; many of us have never seen anything different. So everybody's really optimistic and really hopeful something good will come out of this."

Latin Jazz All-Stars

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 23-24.

The Jazz Cafe in the Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $25, $85 with a pop-up dinner before the show..

Call 313-887-8532 or visit www.jazzcafedetroit.com.

Web Site: www.jazzcafedetroit.com

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