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Joel Nunez
Joel Nunez



Long John Oliva's AC (Afro-Cuban) Jazz Project - Lucumí - Brace yourself for an extraordinary musical experience via Long John Oliva and his AC (Afro-Cuban) Jazz Project.


My first encounter with Oliva’s music occurred while listening to a local radio station (The New World Gallery - WBAI 99.5 FM - New York). In the midst of a lengthy set of music the DJ (Chico Alvarez) played "Zarabanda Culle," a Cuban Son dedicated to Arsenio Rodriguez, performed "New York Style."

Turns out it was none other than Long John Oliva and his AC Project. With my interest peeked, I contacted Oliva’s record company (ORISHAS RECORDS), who put me in touch with the "Jazz Rumbero" via e-mail.


According to Oliva, the LUCUMI project, "explores all the Creole parts of Cuban Music Culture and American contemporary jazz music; passing through the polyrhythms of the ‘Cuban Bantú Legacy’ with syncopated timing."

In truth, mere words fail to do the project justice. Thankfully, Oliva was generous enough to guide me through the nuances of each tune. The project opens with RITMO DE BELEN. Imagine if you will, "a Blues concept (the melody to "Stormy Weather"), a Carnival Conga rhythm and a charismatic Cuban melody" all rolled into one.

SARANDANGA is a COLUMBIA and a Long John original. It is a Cuban rhythm with energy, strong attack, and a sweet and erotic melody fused with the syncopated sound of a synthesizer and chorus.

SI CUBANO (composed by Omar Sosa) is a "Cuban Jazz Thought." The tune is dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Thelonious "Sphere" Monk, Chick Corea and Miles Davis with all the rhythmic feeling of Tata Guines, Chano Pozo, El Niña, Yeyito, Mongo Santamaria, Francisco Aguabella, Carlos "Patato" Valdés, Candido and Pancho Quinto (Oliva’s father).

EL CALLEJON is dedicated to all the street Rumberos in Cuba.
INLE DE MOMENTO is a combination of classic jazz and the mythic rhythm of the Bata. IROKO VAN VAN is a Bembe Son with a touch of Guaganco. EL SOLAR DE LA CUEVA DEL HUMO is a Rumba, Son, Timba mixed with American Jazz.

SOKE MAMDO features different combinations of polyrhythms, from Yoruba and Caravalese to Congo and Yesa.

OYANZA is a contemporary Cuban jazz tune dedicated to the African deity, Oya. Oliva calls it, "a tune fit for a Queen." Additionally, Oyanza is a strong Bembe tune with NO clave present! A striking example of Oliva’s philosophy that, "Music is more than Clave."

The AC Project closes with ZARABANDA CULLE, a contemporary Son that integrates the use of Bongos, Timbales, Maracas, Guiros, Congas and Clave (typical Cuban Conjuntos employ Conga, Bongo and Maraca while Charanga bands utilize Timbales, Congas and Guiro).

Long John Oliva and the AC Project are currently touring (the West Coast) and promoting their latest recording, LUCUMI.

LUCUMI is a "must have" recording for all forward thinking enthusiasts of Cuban music and jazz.



Direct from Cuba, via the United States, the AC JAZZ PROJECT, is a Who’s Who of former members of some of Cuba’s greatest Jazz and dance bands (Piloto & Klimax, Haila, Maraca, NG La Banda, and Grupo Afrocuba) who throw down some serious Rumba, Timba Son and Afro Cuban Jazz.


Since it’s formation in 2001 by it’s former leader and world class Cuban Percussionist “Long John Oliva' and his wife PJ Oliva, the band has made major achievements! Aside from being crowned 88.1FM KJAZZ Latin Jazz artists of the Year, Nelson Rodriguez of Latin Beat Magazine listed their CD "Lucumi" to be one of the top 100 Latin Jazz Cds of All Time! Presently, which marks Lucumi's 14 year anniversary, Latin Jazz Network has named it to be one of the most essential Latin Jazz CDs of All Time!


The band has performed on KCET's Holiday Christmas Celebration, a high profile fundraiser at L.A.’s MOCA with host Paula Abdul, an amazing IAJE showcase in New York City (after receiving best Latin Jazz Award), and an amazing performance at the famous "Playboy Jazz Festival”. In 2013, they released Conga Buena, on JPJ Records, which includes the HIT single “El Daño ya esta Hecho” produced by Cuban trumpeter Josiel Perez and "Tamayo Tumbao", held in the #5 spot on the Latin American charts for over 10 weeks.