summerThere’s nothing better than a song that captures the spirit of the moment, and there’s not many songs that do that better than Gershwin’s “Summertime.” We can all relate to easy livin’ during the warmest months of the year when many of us vacation and have some fun with our loved ones. The song has a specific meaning within the context of Porgy And Bess – one that deals with race and society. In its many incarnations though – from operatic show stopper to jazz standard and pop song supreme – “Summertime” has become somewhat of a bluesy anthem for June, July, and August.

We’d be hard pressed to find a jazz musician that hasn’t played “Summertime,” and as a result, it has become firmly entrenched in the Latin Jazz realm. The iconic changes and unforgettable melody often fit nicely over a cha cha cha rhythm, but that’s not quite the end of the story. There have been uptempo son montuno versions, additional lyrics in Spanish, mash-ups with other songs, salsafication, and much, much more. Part of the beauty of “Summertime” lies in the flexible and forgiving nature of the song; as a result, it has blended wonderfully with the cultural norms of Latin Jazz over the years.

Since I spend my a majority of my time as an educator, the idea of “Summertime” has special meaning for me, and this week’s Latin Jazz Video Fix is going to celebrate that idea with several live interpretations of this standard. In the first video, Ray Barretto, mixes “Summertime” with a guajira, salsa lyrics, and some great jazz soloing. The next clip is a solo version of the standard with a Latin Jazz flare from pianist Samuel Quinto. After some television announcing, percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo tears into a furious version of the song with mind boggling soloing from some special guests. The last clip shows a laid back take on the song that captures the easy livin’ idea, performed by The Roberto Ocasio Latin Jazz Project. There’s enough spirit here to kick the season into high gear right away – enjoy!

Ray Barretto

Samuel Quinto

Giovanni Hidalgo

Roberto Ocasio Latin Jazz Project

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Check out some recordings from Ray Barretto, Samuel Quinto, Giovanni Hidalgo, & Danilo Peréz:

Carnaval, Ray Barretto


Latin Jazz Thrill, Samuel Quinto Trio


Worldwide, Giovanni Hidalgo


Panamonk, Danilo Perez

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Check Out These Related Posts:
Latin Jazz Video Fix: Giovanni Hidalgo
Latin Jazz Video Fix: Remembering Puente, Camero, Bauza, & Barretto
Latin Jazz Conversations: Samuel Quinto (Part 3)
Latin Jazz Video Fix: Celebrate The Billie Holiday Centennial With Venissa Santí

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Album Of The Week: Jive Samba, Duduka Da Fonseca Trio

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Cuentos Pedro Giraudo Big Band Music is a perfect forum for storytelling, and once artists find the right context for their work, they can fully express themselves to varying levels of depth and detail. While the idea of storytelling often leaps right to a discussion of lyrics, that’s not the end of the line – […]

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While I didn’t grow up in the golden age of radio, it certainly helped me find my way on the path towards musical enlightenment. I was hooked on pop radio from the time I was fairly young, listening to the current hits of the day. This was the tail end of classic rock radio, where […]

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Sofia Rei May 2015 Saturday Residency At Subrosa NYC

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Latin Jazz Video Fix: Celebrate The Billy Strayhorn Centennial With Paul Carlon

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Last week, we celebrated the centennial anniversary of the great jazz vocalist Billie Holiday’s birth, and this week, we’re going to take a look at the hundredth year of another jazz great – Billy Strayhorn. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Strayhorn showed early potential, performing and composing through high school, writing the musical “Fantastic Rhythm” at […]

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