Michel Herrera Alvarez is considered one of the most talented young people in Cuban jazz. He himself recognizes that, as a child, music was not one of his priorities since he always preferred sports (athletics and taekwondo). However, his mother did not give in to his preferences and made him a saxophonist, for the good of Cuban culture and the world.
Born in Havana on May 5, 1984 under the sign of Taurus, Michel Herrera made his first studies at the Manuel Saumell Elementary Music School. In 2005, still as a student, he participated in the Jojazz contest for young talents, winning the first prize of Interpretation (minor’s category) and, the following year, the composition and interpretation award with his work Freedom. In 2006 he graduated from the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory, fully convinced that jazz is his greatest passion.
Although he is recognized as an excellent saxophonist, not many know that Michel dominates the bassoon to perfection. According to the artist, this has given him new tools for composition because “he needs classical music to circulate through his veins”.
Nothing stops him
At the beginning of his professional career he enrolled with great success in popular dance music orchestras such as Azúcar Negra, Salsa Mayor and Pachito Alonso. And his solo incursions were not few with Buena Fe, Ogguere, Sexto Sentido or sharing scenarios with renowned musicians such as Yasek Manzano, Raúl Paz, Jorge Luis Pacheco, Robertico Carcassés, Arturo O’Farril and Harold López Nussa.
Later, he created his own group called Joven Jazz and, from his first concert, the CD En la espera was released. In this phonogram Michel Herrera includes an instrumental version of the piece No es tan fácil mentir of Adolfo Guzmán, with resounding success. Precisely, with this work of the Colibrí label he manages to obtain the second prize in the top ten of Latin Beat Magazine (2011). Later on, with the same label, he recorded the CD-DVD with the highest number of Cubadisco nominations of that year, which also won the prize in the Audiovisual Concert category: Madre Tierra (2012).
As nothing stops him, in 2016 Michael Herrera ventures as producer in phonograms of Delvis Ponce and Eduardo Sandoval, and assumes responsibility for his most recent CD-DVD Nueva Era (record label Egrem).
It is a true luck that, during his successful career, audiences in the United States, the Dominican Republic, Denmark, Spain, France, Russia, Italy, Sweden and Canada have been able to enjoy his virtuosity. In fact, the specialized critic has cataloged him as “the young Cuban musician who plays in the jazz big leagues”.
Other collaborations of Michel Herrera
• El sueño del Pequeño Quin with Big Band.
• The vay with Sexto Sentido.
• Havanitation with Raúl Paz.
• Exceso de equipaje with Azúcar Negra.
• The Conversation continues with two nominations to the Grammy Awards.
Michel Herrera has found his inner voice
Currently he collaborates with various musical projects and continues to work as a director, arranger and composer with his group Joven Jazz. He regularly appears in nightclubs, prestigious theaters and in popular television programs, provided he is not fulfilling international commitments.
“Definitely, through jazz I have found my inner voice,” says the talented musician Michel Herrera.