The tradition of American jazz gets a mix with the music of Cuba in this enjoyable venture into mutual cultures exemplified by a journey. In “A Tuba to Cuba,” directed by T. G. Harrington and Danny Clinch, a group from the venerable jazz institution Preservation Hall in New Orleans goes on a journey to Cuba to meet counterparts there.
We get a glimmer of history in the story of the Founding of Preservation Hall in 1961 by narrator Ben Jaffe’s parents. There is also attention paid to the pride in owning passed-down instruments by members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
As is proper in such a documentary, the real pleasure for an audience is listening to the music, both by the New Orleans players and from the Afro-Cuban music we hear from the artists in Cuba, emphasizing roots in common.
It is enjoyable to see the international interactions and in the process get a sampling of what life is like in Cuba. The contacts and the film’s very existence, without stressing politics, make an important statement. The benefits of breaking down barriers between our two countries are self-evident in this sanctioned visit.
There is much to share, and it is delightful to see musicians performing together. Some of the narration becomes too repetitive, but mainly it is the music that counts, along with the exuberance of the musicians and the sense of jazz history that informs the film. A Blue Fox Entertainment release. Reviewed February 15, 2019.