Headshot of Gaston Joya ©

Gaston Joya

Last updated: January 13, 2023

Born in Guanabacoa, Havana City, he comes from a family of artists. He started playing piano when he was only four years old and through his father, who was a double bass player, he graduated Suma Cum Laude from the Havana's Higher Institute of Art (ISA) (2005).

That very same year he started working as a double bass player at the Philharmonic Orchestra of Havana's Great Theater, where he learned the entire repertoire of Ballet and Opera, he accompanied functions of Cuba's National Ballet, led by Alicia Alonso and different Opera companies. At the same time, Gaston began to be recognized in the local jazz, Cuban, and alternative music scene.

In 2006, being 19 years old, he entered the international contest for young jazz musicians, presided by Chucho Valdes, where Gaston won the first place in the category of interpretation. He was the first double bass player receiving that award since the creation of the event. Thanks to that he had the opportunity to record his first album, with Calibri Label, "Gaston Joya" Phonogram, which had the following awards: best jazz album, recording and mastering, and best debut album at the international contest Cubadisco

In 2011, he received the call from the master Chucho Valdes to be part of his Afrocuban Messengers band, along which they recorded the Border Free album, nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013. After that work, Gaston started a close musical relationship, touring worldwide, getting to know and experimenting a fundamental part of Cuban jazz history. In 2016, Chucho invited him to be a member of a homage to the emblematic lrakere band. After a long tour, they made a live album with which they won the Grammy in 2017.

Gaston Joya received the Order for Cuba's National Culture (2017) with other musicians and cultural promoters, for "the excellence of their artistic results and their consequent commitment to the most endearing values of Cuban culture as an expression of our national identity0 With just 31 years old, he not only received this honorable mention in his country, he is considered a virtuoso of the bass, and the successor of Cachao, one of Cuban musical legends of all times, who was his maestro.

Gaston has recorded and been a member of groups led by luminaries of traditional Cuban music and jazz, such as: ,
Chucho Valdes and his Afrocuban Messengers ( they obtained a Grammy nomination with the Border Free album and won in the Latin Jazz category with the album Tribute to lrakere), Omara Portuondo and Eman Lopez... Nussa. He has shared on stage and/or recorded with artists such as: Leo Brower, Joe Lovano, Buena Vista Social Club, Eliades Ochoa, Sintesis, Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanes, Joio Donato, Mark Levine, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Orchestra, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Alfredo Rodriguez, Calle 13, Dayme Arocena, Brussels Philharmonic, Cuba's National Symphonic Orchestra, Sting, among others.

In 2010 he was contacted by the Montuno agency, which represents artists such as Buena Vista Social Club, Jack DeJohnette, among others, to work along the Cuban Music Legend Omara Portuondo, both in recordings and tours around the world. Until today, they still collaborating together.

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