The story goes that Juan Manuel Piña Marques, longtime friend and managing partner for the project called up Damian J one morning in early 2014 and told him of a new opportunity performing on a weekly basis however they wanted to hear Cuban music. The terms were interesting and growing up on the island this style of music particularly appealed to Damian J. The problem was in trying to build on the historical collaboration idea, it had to be something tied to jazz in order for him to take upon the engagements. The history of Latin Jazz from its inception on the island of Cuba was a territory few had truly made great strides in, what’s more is that previous to this conversation a new collaborator had emerged, an 80 year old percussionist that had actually played with Luciano “Chano” Pozo back in the 1950s. With this new acquisition and the concept in mind Los Havana Knights was born, an ensemble dedicated to focusing on the origins of Latin Jazz from its inception on the island of Cuba. Los Havana Knights features legendary percussionist Walkain “El Chino” Dieguez who performed with the first all Cuban modern jazz orchestra called “Irakere” as well as with Cuban jazz fusion band “NG la Banda”. Another founding member was Elmer Ferreira on guitar and crooning those lush Havana boleros. He was the musical director for Ibrahim Ferrer of the “Buena Vista Social Club” and frequently performed with that group as well. Damian J is on flute and vocals as well in addition to the vintage jazz improvisations from his soprano and tenor saxophones. The triumphant trio set out to educate the masses over who was Ernesto Lecuona, Cesar Portillo de la Luz, Ernesto Duarte, and many other masters of Cuban music and how they influenced Latin Jazz. The history of Latin Jazz teaches us that in 1946 Dizzy Gillespie, American jazz trumpeter arrived on the island to find the rhythm his melodies lacked. He heard off in the distance a conga being played by Luciano “Chano” Pozo and he immediately approached the Cuban musician and with no words being exchanged due to the language barrier he took out his trumpet and began improvising jazz over the master congero’s rhythms. From that encounter a new sub-genre of jazz further developed into what we know today as Latin Jazz. Los Havana Knights bring the sounds of 1940s Havana, Cuba back to life with traditional Cuban melodies tempered with American jazz improvisation, hard driving grooves, and call & response. Los Havana Knights began in the spring of 2014 and have since continued to bring the origins of Latin Jazz to Miami performing at such venues as Barceloneta, Clandestino Pub, The Annex, The Arsht Center’s Books & Books, Miami Children’s Museum, and La Feria de San Miguel. They have also performed at several private parties and corporate functions. Los Havana Knights are currently in the process of recording their debut album to be released in 2018. More information and footage of Los Havana Knights can be found under the Damian J Project.
  

Repetoire Includes
La Comparsa
Tu Mi Delirio
Almendra
Como Fue
El Bodeguero
Guantanamera
Chan Chan
La chica de Ipanema
El Cuarto de Tula
Siboney
Manha de Carnaval
Drume Negrita
  
Los Havana Knights