Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCe (Courtesy of DC Jazz Festival)
Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCe (Courtesy of DC Jazz Festival)

The Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCézhe were recently named co-champions at the sixth annual DCJazzPrix Finals, where they finished in an unprecedented tie.

The competition took place earlier this month at Union Stage as part of 17th annual DC JazzFest.

The winning bands, both based in New York City, competed as two of three DCJazzPrix finalist bands that also included British saxophonist Camilla George’s vibrant quintet, according to the DC Jazz Festival.

“The highlight of the night for me was watching the events of the competition, not to mention, the staff’s far and beyond support of all artists,” Gelin said. “When the winners were announced, I thought about how our passion for music led to our success in this year’s competition.”

Launched in 2016, DCJazzPrix is the festival’s international competition created to recognize and support top rising jazz band talent.

Trumpeter and Nassau, Bahamas, native Gelin was mentored by the great trumpeter Eddie Henderson and the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove. He leads the Giveton Gelin Quintet, a classic jazz, tradition-based and original composition-fueled acoustic ensemble with piano, bass, drums and saxophone.

Self-taught from the age of 10, Gelin studied at the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory and The Juilliard School and was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead education intensive at the Kennedy Center. His latest release is “True Design.”

Havana, Cuba-born pianist-keyboardist Dayramir Gonzalez founded Habana enTRANCé in 2004. The ensemble specializes in an infectious brand of Afro-Caribbean jazz expression and includes musicians from Argentina and Chile. Gonzalez’s first professional affiliation came at age 16 with former Irakere member Oscar Valdés’ Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble Diákara. He matriculated at the renowned Berklee College of Music and has been mentored by Cuban master pianist-bandleader and DCJF Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chucho Valdés. Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé’s current release is The Grand Concourse (Machat).

“The whole DC Jazz Festival experience was fantastic,” Gonzalez said. “Through its platform, I was able to connect with a lively audience who listened, cheered and danced to my music and also appreciated my Cuban culture all together. It was an amazing way to continue building musical bridges between Cuba and the US, latin and jazz.”

In addition to a $15,000 cash prize, the Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé have earned a yearlong association with the DC Jazz Festival for professional development consultation and business support addressing their varied needs, such as publicity, artistic and financial management, booking and touring, audience and social media engagement, grant writing, commissioning of new works, and brand development.

Each band also will receive a paid 2022 DC Jazz Festival mainstage engagement.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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