Music Matters: Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz

by Erica Moody

Venezuela’s ‘Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz’ orchestra is applauded by Danny Glover. 

By Caroline Sandholm  

Simon Bolivar Big Band Jazz at Artisphere Spectrum Theatre (Photo courtesy Venezuelan embassy in D.C.)

Simon Bolivar Big Band Jazz at Artisphere (Photo courtesy Embassy of the Republic of Venezuela)

Venezuela’s “Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz” orchestra filled the Artisphere Spectrum Theatre in Rosslyn, Virginia with a variety of toe-tapping musical sounds, ranging from Duke Ellington and Miles Davis to a fusion of Venezuelan drums with jazz, on January 29. The concert was part of the band’s U.S tour in celebration of the 40th anniversary of El Sistema, a social and cultural project that has provided music education and social inclusion to over a million children.

The El Sistema teaching model has been replicated in over 50 countries, including the U.S, where youth orchestras and choirs based on El Sistema have been started in New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles, among other cities. The orchestra’s tour began in Miami and will close in New York.

Actor Danny Glover (Photo courtesy Embassy of the Republic of Venezuela in D.C.)

Actor Danny Glover (Photo courtesy Embassy of the Republic of Venezuela)

The beloved actor and director Danny Glover exclaimed that he would love to see the band play in Harlem, among other places. He was touched by the fact that young Venezuelans were playing classic works of U.S. music.

“We have a strong connection through music. We have the same roots and that brings us much closer together”, said Glover when being asked about the similarities between Venezuelan and American musicians.

“That is love!” said Glover about the fact that a musical genre that was born through popular culture and with a strong tradition of social justice is now being used to unite people of different nations.

Glover wants to strengthen the ties between the Venezuelan band and U.S musicians in order to deepen relations between the two countries. It was a Thursday evening like no other. With a long and enthusiastic ovation, the audience made clear that the evening was nothing less than a huge success. Glover characterized the concert as “absolutely wonderful.”

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