Direct from Cuba, via the United States, the AC Jazz Project is one of the most versatile contemporary Cuban bands in Los Angeles. Composed of extracts from Maraca, NG La Banda, Cuba LA, and Grupo Afro-Cuba, the band's outstanding repertoire and style is a fusion of jazz improvisations mixed with Cuban music genres (Rumba, Latin Jazz, Son, Timba and Timbaton).
Formerly led and created in 2001 by the late Jazz Rumbero Juan "Long John" Oliva aka “Penalti” (whose belief that “music is more than clave), shockingly passed away on June 21, 2004, leaving his wife PJ Oliva and fans devastated one week after gaining the title of 88.1FM Kjazz Latin Jazz Artists of the year.
PJ continued on with the AC Jazz Project in honor of Long John, engaging, interacting, and connecting with audiences on all levels, including, a televised Christmas Eve performance on KCET at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, a high profile fund raiser at MOCA with host Paula Abdul, a stellar showcase at the IAJE Conference in New York City (after receiving the IAJE Latin Jazz Award), and an amazing performance at the famous "Playboy Jazz Festival", however, she could never quite get the right combination of personnel, so the band fizzled out.
After a four year hiatus, the AC Jazz Project returns with "Conga Buena" featuring new band members, and a new high energy mix of Afro-Cuban Jazz and Modern Cuban Dance Music.
Band personnel includes: highly talented bandleader / composer / arranger Josiel Perez Hernandez (Klimax / Maraca) on trumpet, flugelhorn and vocals, lead and backup vocalist Alberto Tamayo (Opus 13), Fermin Sifontes (Grupo Afro-Cuba) - piano & vocals, Yosmel Montejo (Haila / Maraca) - bass, featuring Luis Conte (Cuba L.A.) - congas, timbal, bongo, Jimmy Branly (NG La Banda) - drums, timbal, and very special guests Kamasi Washington (Chaka Khan / Stanley Clarke) on tenor & soprano, and Dennis Chambers on "Three Nuts Rumba", where he and Jimmy Branly display tasty drum solos on top of a Rumba Guaguanco.