Born of an Irish mother and a Greek Cypriot father in London in 1944, Josef Koumbas formed his first band at the tender age of 12. He went on to spend 3 years in Australia, fascinated by the art and music of the aborigines. He visited Cuba in 1990, arriving with a Ronnie Scotts group from London UK, for what was to be one of Cuba’s best loved International Jazz Festival.During that visit he met many of Cubans top Jazz musicians including Chucho Valdes and Bobby Carcasses.
Waiting is Josef’s second release, a melting pot of Jazz with a twist of Jazz, Fusion, Latin Jazz, Blues and Rock.
“I was born in Camden Town, London, my father was Greek Cypriot and my mother was Irish, from Cork. I first visited Cuba in 1990, arriving with a group from Ronnie Scotts in London UK, for what was to be one of Cuba’s best loved International Jazz Festivals. At the time my interest was more with photography than music, but along the way I became friends and remain so with many of Cuba’s great musicians and artists including Chucho Valdes, Bobby Carcasses and Roberto, amongst many others.
I knew I would come back to Cuba and did so several times, with an eye to developing my own music there. I found l had more energy to work in Cuba and Cuban musicians were very honest artistically. After listening to my music people have said they didn’t realize the music was played by Cuban musicians. I am happy about that as I feel I can support Cuban culture by showing how skillful and adaptable Cuban musicians can be. I am proud to be a member of UNEAC, it is a real honour for me. I have been invited to play at many events such as the International Jazz Festival Habana, Jazz Festival Varadero, and Jazz Café with Cesar Lopez. I have had my own TV show A Todos Jazz, made several TV shows and had various radio interviews. My music is often played on national radio and TV repeats.
As a 12 year old boy l had my own skiffle group and progressed through rock n roll, played and recorded with many musicians especially in London where l had a small recording studio in my house. I played at Maquee, Speak Easy, where l once had the pleasure to play to Chuck Berry, who came and congratulated me after the gig. I played alongside Jimmy Page when he was just getting started. I always knew he would be one of the greats. I also played and recorded with Dave Stewert before his Annie Lennox days, again they were always a special pair. Later my interests became more jazz orientated and here l am living and working in Habana with wonderful musicians. Viva Musica.”