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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)September 29, 2003

(Mahwah) – Direct from Havana, Habana Sax brings its unique brand of Cuban rhythms to Ramapo College of New Jersey’s Sharp Theater, Friday, October 17 at 8 p.m. Their unique brand of Cuban rhythms that is anything but traditional fuses such diverse musical styles as Latin jazz, hip-hop, swing, classical and funk.

Their virtuosity, their all-around musicality leaps at you from the first note, and remains the first order of business all night, no matter if they’re singing, dancing, rapping or trading instruments in the middle of the song,” says New York reviewer, Paul Rapp.

Francois Zayas, the lone drummer, and four saxophone players, Jorge Almeida, Eduardo Fernandez, Angel Ballester and Evaristo Denis, create music for everyone. They start with the simple sounds of jazz based on traditional music, then give it a gentle edge with African chant, a cappella, salsa and sounds of rap. The musicians dare to add traditional symphonic pieces and enhance the mix with a rich texture of horn-jazz. Finally the group binds their musical exploration with an attitude -the pounding Latin percussion and the five musicians on their knees, hammering out the rhythm on stage.

Having energized audiences for 20 years, Habana Sax reintroduces Cuban rhythms to an American audience after 40 years of isolation. Their performances in the United States include The Empire Theatre (the Egg) in Albany, NY; the State Theatre in New Brunswick; Grand Opera House in Willmington, DE; Garde Arts Center in New London, CT; Union County Arts Center in Rahway; Maryland Hall in Annapolis, MD; and Diana Wortham Theatre in Ashville, NC.

The five Cuban musicians dished up a devastating display of musical dexterity as each new song revealed yet another astonishing talent,” says Gregg Haymes of the Albany Times Union.

Tickets for Habana Sax are $21 for adults, $18 for seniors and $12 for students. The Sharp Theater is located at the Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts. For more information call (201) 684-7844. This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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