“From its birth in New Orleans to its heyday in New York, Jazz has been deeply influenced by Latino musicians, especially those playing Afro-Cuban rhythms. It’s impossible to imagine Jazz without this Latin influence, or as Jazz great Jelly Roll Morton called it, the “Spanish tinge”. Latin Jazz emerged as a separate genre in the New York clubs of the 1940s, where orchestras like Machito & His Afro-Cubans held court. This new sound was built on an Afro-Cuban rhythmic core, but added Jazz arrangements and improvisation on top. It wasn’t long before non-Latino Jazz musicians began paying attention, most notably Dizzy Gillespie. He liked the sound so much that he added Cuban conga player Chano Pozo to his band. Congas soon appeared in other Jazz bands, infusing their songs with the clave rhythms at the heart of Afro-Cuban music.”

This is an excerpt from the PBS Latin Music USA documentary.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I find the History of Caribbean music fascinating. Cuban, Dominican and Puerto rican have their own unique style but all of it is Caribbean music. I am shocked they never put together a Caribbean Music Festival to celebrate their own music from the islands. I am sure it would have been a big success. Especially in New York City the First annual Caribbean music festival where it all started would have been a big thing. Celebrating Afro Cuban Jazz, Rumba, Mambo and Puerto rican Bomba y Plena and Dominican Meringue and Bachata. I mean this is Afro Caribbean music at its best.

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