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Posted: January 10, 2006

U.S. Teens Wow Fans at Punta del Este Jazz Festival
Their talent and musical skill earns spot on international stage

Story: Tom Hamm Photos and video: John Topping

A group of teen musicians sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Montevideo were a huge hit during the "Jazz by Teens for Teens" segment of the Lapataia 11th International Jazz Festival held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, January 4-8, 2006. The group consisted of 9 young jazz players from Virginia, North Carolina, Texas and Arizona.

In the best traditions of jazz, more than half of the musicians had never met until the day before their concert but they immediately coalesced as two bands. One was The Phoebe Stubblefield Quartet, with Phoebe Stubblefield in vocals, Corey Fonville in drums, Mark Steinert on piano, and Rakim Yarbrough on base. The other band was The Alex Han Quintet, with Alex Han on saxophone, Charlie Foldesh on drums, Earl Travis Jr on trumpet, and Nick Stubblefield on piano.

Fans and veteran musicians agreed that the group belonged at an international festival based solely on their talent and musical skill rather than just the novelty of their age, and they immediately clicked with the Uruguayan and other world class musicians with whom they shared the stage.

The five day festival attracted jazz enthusiasts from many different countries, including many from neighboring Argentina and Brazil. The near sellout crowds included Uruguayan Finance minister, Danilo Astori, and minister of Tourism, Hector Lescano.

The U.S. Embassy's Public Affairs officer Linda Gonzalez hosted a lunch with the musicians that was attended by the director of Uruguay's largest selling newspaper, the Ambassador of Poland, former Speaker of the House and Colorado party member Congressman Abdala, as well as many local musicians, representatives of government, and industry. The lunch brought together the festival organizers with sectors of government involved in culture and tourism and with the local chambers of commerce.

The embassy donated over 100 tickets for students at local schools and the binational centers to attend the festival.
Steve Forse, Alex Han, Earl Travis Jr, and Charlie Foldesh on stage at the Lapataia International Jazz Festival in Punta del Este. Rakim Yarbrough and Corey Fonville.
Steve Forse, Nick Stubblefield, and Alex Han. Corey Fonville, Alex Han, John Topping, Rakim Yarbrough, Linda Gonzalez, Mark Steinert, Earl Travis Jr, and Charlie Foldesh.
Francisco Yobino, Tourism minister Hector Lescano, Linda Gonzalez, Rodolfo Schuster. Francisco Yobino, Linda Gonzalez.
Ir al Sitio Oficial del Festival Internacional de Jazz de Punta del Este.