Biography of Leonardo Acosta (1933-VVVV)

Essayist, storyteller, journalist, musician and Cuban musicologist born in Havana on August 23, 1933. Driven live artistic concerns since his youth, he/she enrolled in the University of Havana to pursue higher studies in architecture, career that soon left to devote himself to his true passion: music. His interest in jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms led him to joining as a saxophonist in some of the most famous orchestras of the Decade of the 1950s, as Armando Romeu, Julio Gutiérrez and Beny Moré (1919-1963); and, already surrounded by a relevant prestige for his virtuosity on SAX, he/she was hired to play at various clubs select United States and Venezuela. He/She was also director of different jazz groups.

After the Cuban revolution and the rise to power of Fidel Castro, Leonardo Acosta undertook a brilliant journalistic career which led him first to Mexico, then to Prague, cities that acted as correspondent for Prensa Latina. In addition, published many collaborations in some of the major media of his native island, as a Union, Casa de las Américas, El Barbudo Cayman and revolution and culture, and soon was credited as one of the leading Cuban specialists in international politics. Not abandoned, however, your old hobbies music, which led him to participate actively in the creation of the Grupo de Experimentación Sonora of the ICAIC (Cuban Institute of art and cinematographic industry), directed by maestro Leo Brouwer, and composed several pieces of music for the film. Currently (year 2002), resides in Havana and working at the National Council of culture.

In his facet as an essayist, Leonardo Acosta is focused on the study of cultural and historical topics of Latin America and the Caribbean, which occupied a prominent place specific music of this geo-cultural area. Following the publication of a volume of short stories titled landscape of man (1967), gave to the press some trials as notable as the graduates José Martí, pre-Columbian America and the Spanish conquest (1974), music and epic in the novel by Alejo Carpentier, music and Decolonization, of the drum to the synthesizer (1983), the baroque of pigs and other essays (1984) - awarded with the prestigious "la Critics Award" in its call for 1984 - and crime novel and mass media. He/She is also author of the prologue to the Cuban edition of the book of Marshall W. Sterns the history of jazz (1966), and co-author (with Helio Orovio and René Espí) of the work entitled Fiesta Havanna.

The two trials that have earned him a Summit Ridge place among musicologists of the Caribbean are to choose you, sing I and Latin jazz roots: A century of jazz in Cuba. In the first of them, Leonardo Acosta returned to explore the highlights of Cuban music, such as the origin of the mambo, the pre-eminence of Frank Grillo in the formation of Latin jazz, the contributions of José María Vitier and Chucho Valdés, the uniqueness of José Antonio Méndez, the trajectory of Pablo Milanés (1943-) and - among other many topics - the personality of Beny Moré. About roots of Latin jazz: A century of jazz in Cuba, the Caribbean author stated that "it is the natural result of my work as a musician since 1951 and my job as journalist and writer since 1959. Two things had to meet, but it happened in the 1980s when I realized that if I not hurried to start my research there was a story that ran the risk of being lost. For five years I was interviewing musicians and Cuban jazz connoisseurs, comparing the data with little to almost nothing written on the subject and my own memories and experiences. Even I could interview Mario Bauzá and Chico O'Farrill New York".