Latin Jazz This Week will bring you a weekly look into news from the Latin Jazz world. You’ll find new releases, recommended performances, web finds, and more. You can check out some current sounds in the Listening Center tab at the top of the page.
The big news around here is really the return of LJC after a long multi-month sabbatical. After five years of running the site consistently, things just got a bit overwhelming and unwieldily. The reality was that I needed to step away from the site for a while to gain perspective on how to make this a much more relevant and important resource for the Latin Jazz community. Even though LJC sat stagnant for a while, my love for the music never faded and I’m excited to share some new ideas and insights with the LJC community. I’ll be posting lightly over the next month or so while I work on some behind the scenes changes and kick things into high gear over the summer. Thanks for your patience in the past couple of months; I’m jumping back into LJC with a new renewed vigor to make it a powerful resource for everyone that loves Latin Jazz!
If you need a little bit more regular Latin Jazz fix, I’m committing to regularly updating the LJC Facebook Page with news, videos, and more. LIKE us today to get your Latin Jazz fix on a daily basis.
The San Francisco Bay Area has a decades long historical involvement in Latin music, with roots in everything from Latin Jazz to salsa, timba, and beyond. While musical insiders have long reveled in the outstanding musicianship that has come from the area and local residents have passionately embraced the music, the greater world has largely overlooked the Latin music contributions of the Bay Area. Most of the music’s history has been written around New York City, a relevant fact due to the wealth of important music that has risen from the East Coast musical hub; still, this historical one-mindedness has overshadowed the Bay Area. That’s about to change due to a fantastic project spearheaded by dancer Rita Hargrave and trombonist Wayne Wallace – a documentary about Bay Area Latin music entitled The Last Mambo. Hargrave and Wallace are currently running a KickStarer campaign to complete the film, which you may want to support. Check out the trailer below and then go to The Last Mambo KickStarter page and show your support!
Congratulations to Dr. John Calloway for being honored as a “Jazz Hero” by the Jazz Journalists Association in conjunction with their 2012 jazz awards. The organization hands out the honor annually, recognizing jazz advocates who have made a major impact upon their local community. Calloway certainly qualifies in this category, from his work as a musician with The Machete Ensemble and beyond, his tireless commitment to music education, his role in the establishment of Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble Of San Francisco, his strong voice in the San Francisco community, and much more. He will be recognized in an event on June 20th, 2012 at the African-American Cultural Arts Complex in San Francisco, which will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and be open to the public. Get the full details on Calloway’s “Jazz Hero” honors and celebrate this extraordinary musician!
A big thumbs up to pianist Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra for their performance this past weekend entitled Musica Nueva 5: Big Band Poetry Jam & Beyond. It’s one thing for a band of master musicians like this to revisit classic repertoire and bring it into the twenty-first century, something this ensemble consistently does with class and style. O’Farrill and his Orchestra goes above and beyond though, pushing the genre in new directions and forcing us to think about unconsidered possibilities. The Musica Nueva concert combined the ensemble with unexpected musicians such as DJ Logic and a wealth of spoken word poets. This is the type of forward thinking that will keep Latin Jazz healthy and moving into the future. While the concert already passed, it’s worth checking out the promo video below to get an idea of the concert’s scope.
Cuban trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval recently released a tribute to his Stateside jazz mentor Dizzy Gillespie entitled Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You), where he hits on the bebop master’s wonderful sense of melody, complex harmonies, Afro-Cuban leanings, and improvisational prowess. He displays a deep knowledge and a strong connection to Gillespie on the recording, a reflection of the many years that he spent with the legendary trumpet player. NPR Music recognized the importance of this link between Sandoval and Gillespie, so Guy Raz discussed the relationship with Sandoval on All Things Considered. The interview covers the scope of the new record, but also details the first meeting between Sandoval and Gillespie in Cuba. It’s a great listen that paints a fantastic picture of both artists.
If Sandoval’s new recording inspires you to get a little deeper into Gillespie’s work, you might want to check out this DownBeat interview with the trumpet player from 1972. The bebop legend answers questions about his illustrious history, covering topics that range from the beginnings of bop to his religious connection to music. There’s only a passing mention to his involvement in Afro-Cuban music, but it’s a great opportunity to get further insights into an important musicians that shaped the early days of Latin Jazz.
Arturo Sandoval: Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You)
Alejandro Rutty: The Conscious Sleepwalker