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Play for Cuba presents – A double bill feat. The Near Jazz Experience, Omar Puente, Ahmed Dickinson plus special guests / SOLD OUT

Line up


Terry Edwards (bass)

Mark Bedford (saxes)

Simon Charterton (drums)

Omar Puente (violin)

Ahmed Dickinson (guitar)

The Near Jazz Experience (NJE) is made up of multi-instrumentalist Terry Edwards, bassist Mark Bedford and drummer Simon Charterton. All three have had not just amazing but eclectic musical careers, and best known for their work as members of Madness and the Higsons. NJE’s unique sound draws on Edwards’ double-sax technique – playing alto & tenor simultaneously, Charterton’s polyrhythmic funk patterns and Bedford’s fluid and grounding bass lines. Imagine Cross Can’s rhythm section with Roland Kirk, Motown and the Third Stream and you’ll get somewhere near where The NJE are coming from.

Omar Puente is a world class violinist with a unique sound who has garnered the respect of the international modern Jazz community since arriving in the UK in 1997. He has supported greats such as Tito Puente, Ibraham Ferrer and Omara Portundo, playing with John Williams, Kirsty MacColl, Jools Holland and Eddie Palmier, and  jammed with many visiting Latin artists such as Ruben Gonzales and the Afro Cuban Allstars.

Ahmed Dickinson – Passionate in his collaboration with other artists, Ahmed has released four albums (Latin Perspective, The Havana Suite, Canciones del Alma, Ben Wragg & Ahmed Dickinson Cardenas), and one solo album (Ahmed Dickinson Cardenas plays Ñico Rojas) for which the world music magazine Songlines wrote: “You are left with the sensation of being touched to the core by exquisitely played pieces”.

Cuba is world famous for its creative arts including music. The country’s free music schools nurture the talent of thousands of skilled young musicians each year. While commitment and teachers are plentiful, musical instruments and resources are in short supply. To ensure that the Cuban musical legacy continues to develop and thrive Play for Cuba made up of the National Education Union, the Cuba Solidarity campaign and the Music Fund for Cuba, is an exciting new project with the objective of shipping a container of musical instruments and equipment to young musicians on the island.  With the embargo hitting hard, Play for Cuba is appealing for new and second-hand instruments: reeds; strings; drum sticks, and any associated items such as carrying cases or music stands. Donations too are most welcomed. There will be a special solidarity price of £15 for those who want to support Play for Cuba by donating a musical instrument on the evening of the benefit. The instruments will be sent to Cuba in April 2019. For more information please contact 0207 490 5715.



‘The NJE are first class musicians delivering first class music. What’s not to love?”

– Jazz In Europe


‘Omar Puente’s contribution to 20th and 21st century violin playing has now become legendary. His generous nature, his commitment to good music, his enjoyment of life and his respect for his colleagues are all characteristics which make him a true violin great’

– Nigel Kennedy



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