NPR's Tom Gjelten reports from Havana that Cuban jazz -- which Fidel Castro at one time tried to suppress-- is becoming increasingly important in international music circles and to the island nation's economy. Cuba's growing dependence on tourism has revitalized Havana clubs, which draw jazz fans from around the world, especially during the annual Havana Jazz festival. Jazz has become one of the regular points of contact between the U-S and Cuba as artists from both countries travel back and forth. Cuba now allows its musicians to perform abroad and even to sign record deals, something unimaginable in the early days of the Cuban revolution.
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