Jazz journalist and blogger Peter Hum recently threw the hypothetical question to his audience about whether the Europe jazz scene had overshadowed the scene in the United States. Hum seemed to imply that he still found jazz in the US as a vital force, but based upon the recent explosion of interest in the jazz audience (due to an inflammatory article from Terry Teachout – read it HERE.), it seemed like a valid question. Hum cites several important examples of stateside musicians collaborating with European musicians, including video of Wynton Marsalis performing with accordion player Richard Galliano and pianist Chano Dominguez. There’s the increasing lack of work for jazz musicians in the United States, coupled with the ongoing availability and public admiration for the art form in Europe, as pointed out in a quote from Dave Liebman. In addition, Europe has turned out a good number of outwardly creative musicians with distinctive voices over the past few years, including Thomas Stanko and Esbjorn Svensson. These artists have made a major impact on stateside audiences, making us rethink our current state of creative affairs – and these are just the artists that have gotten wide US public exposure. There have to be a long list of additional European jazz musicians just waiting to be heard by US audiences. While the jury is still out on which side of the Atlantic Ocean currently holds more jazz muscle, there’s certainly ample evidence to support a demand for attention by European jazz artists.
I’m not sure if European jazz audiences outweigh US sources – it’s really an area where I need to dig deeper- but I do know that a lot of good Latin Jazz is happening in Europe. United States artists are making a habit out of touring through the Old World, finding a wealth of venues eager to provide work and audiences anxious to hear their music. Individuals in Europe are integrating the influences of master musicians, but being far removed from the pressures of tradition, they put their unique spin on the music. In England, percussionist Snowboy has built a career upon the shoulders of stateside musicians such as Tito Puente, but his DJ alter ego has brought different sounds such as organ into the mix. Without a legion of watchful eyes keeping them online with tradition, many European musicians have taken broad interpretive liberties with the music. The CMS Trio follows along the lineage of Latin rhythms and jazz, but their lack of a chordal instrument allows for wide harmonic and improvisational freedoms. On the other hand, European musicians have the opportunity to stay more closely connected to the music’s source than US artists – Cuban musicians can perform in Europe. Hamlet and His Latin Jazz Experience integrate elements of timba and modern Latin Jazz in a distinctly European way. Regardless of comparisons to the United States, the Europe has embraced the Latin Jazz world and we are seeing some interesting results.
Recent LJC spotlight artist Samuel Quinto serves as a great example of a contemporary European Latin Jazz artist making a serious statement. His easily identifiable style brings together pieces of American jazz, Cuban and Brazilian music, as well as a strong European personality. I don’t believe that Latin Jazz is making a move for Europe, but I certainly think that it is alive and thriving there. In honor of that thought, today’s Latin Jazz Photo Album features Quinto and his trio performing in a series of actively engaging shots. Enjoy!
The Samuel Quinto Trio
Trio Members Bassist Marcos Borges & Drummer Manuel Santiesteban
Looking for more from Samuel Quinto? Check out his album:
Salsa’ N Jazz
Do you have pictures to contribute to the Latin Jazz photo album? I’d love to have everyone in the Latin Jazz community contribute! I’ll be posting five to ten pictures a week – I’m looking for live performance shots, not promo pics. I’d like to keep them centered around one artist per week, but if you’ve got another idea, let’s talk. So come on Latin Jazz photographers, musicians, and fans – let’s put some more memorable pictures in the Latin Jazz Photo Album! Get my contact info HERE.
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Latin Jazz Photo Album: John Calloway & Diaspora
Latin Jazz Photo Album: Greg Diamond
Latin Jazz Photo Album: Corina Bartra & Her Azu Project
Latin Jazz Photo Album: Hector Martignon