Jane Bunnett and Maqueque share details of new album Playing With Fire

Last year, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque teased a new album. Now, we have details on the group’s forthcoming release.

The Juno-winning, Grammy-nominated ensemble will release their fourth album Playing With Fire on March 10.

The album marks the debut of 19-year-old violinist Daniela Olano, sister of the band’s co-founder and pianist, Danae Olano. Playing With Fire is also the first Maqueque album to fully feature vocalist Joanna Majoko. The band is rounded out by drummer Yissy Garcia, bassist Tailin Marrero and percussionist Mary Paz.

Playing With Fire also features guitarist Donna Grantis, who’s best known for her performances in Prince’s band 3RDEYEGIRL in the 2010s. Grantis performs on three pieces: A God Unknown, A Human Race and Sierra.

In addition to Maqueque’s new compositions, the collective also reimagines two jazz classics: Tempus Fugit by Bud Powell and Jump Monk by Charles Mingus.

A decade ago, Bunnett met the core of the band at a jam session at the Cohiba Hotel in Havana with her band Spirits of Havana.

“There was so much creative energy there, but not many outlets,” says Bunnett. “We also realized that many of the girls at the conservatories were not really encouraged to ‘take the stage’ in a male-dominated scene. We witnessed this first-hand while taking technicians, jazz materials and instruments to Cuban conservatories — that the best way to solve this issue was to create a performance opportunity, which became an all-female ensemble.”

Since then, Maqueque has created opportunities for composing and performing extraordinary jazz that has taken the pioneering ensemble around the world. It has expanded to include not only women players from Cuba and Canada, but also musicians from Zimbabwe, the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Spain and Lebanon. Maqueque has won a Juno Award and was nominated for a Grammy, and they annually tour Europe, Latin America, the U.S. and Canada.

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Here’s the track listing:

  1. Human Race
  2. Tempus Fugit
  3. Sierra
  4. Daniela’s Theme
  5. A God Unknown
  6. Turquoise/Turquesa
  7. Bolero a Un Sueño
  8. Jump Monk
  9. Tomorrow
  10. Playing with Fire

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque’s Playing With Fire is out March 10, 2023, via True North.