The International Jazz Festival of Havana, also known as the Cuban Jazz Festival, was founded in 1978 by Bobby Carcasses and other renowned Cuban jazz musicians. The festival was held at the Casa de la Cultura de Plaza in the center of Havana, and it has since become one of Cuba's most celebrated musical events. The festival is a five-day event that includes concerts, improvisation sessions, and workshops by some of the best jazz experts in the country. The festival was born out of the influence of American jazz legends such as Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, who had a major impact on Cuban jazzman Armando Romeu.
Romeu, along with other famous Cuban artists such as Chico O'Farrill, Bebo Valdés, Kiki Hernández and Rafael Tata Palau, formed the first in a series of greatest hits in jazz bands. This led to the emergence of the Filin, or The Feeling, which combined traditional jazz with Afro-Cuban music. In 1957, 1900 Havana and the Tropicana hosted many musicians, DJs and jazz fans from both Cuba and the United States with the aim of sharing musical experiences. Cuban jazz musicians such as pianist Frank Emilio Felipe, Pucho Escalante and Dulzaides worked to keep jazz alive, the latter training many young musicians.
The Havana Jazz Festival has featured some of the most important jazz musicians not only from Cuba but also from the United States, Canada, Latin America, Australia and Europe. Many of these orchestra members formed quintets or quartets that performed at a variety of jazz festivals, including the Polish Jazz Jamboree. Some of these Cuban artists have even been nominated for and have received Grammy Awards in the Latin jazz category. The Havana Jazz Festival is an important event that celebrates Cuban jazz music and its influence on other genres around the world. It is a great opportunity for music lovers to experience some of Cuba's best-known jazz musicians and their unique sound.