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.
Composer, arranger, and performer Ray Santos has made a major impact upon the history of Latin Jazz, contributing music to the repertoire of artists like Tito Puente, Machito, Eddie Palmieri, and many more. He certainly qualifies under the category of “living legend,” and fortunately, he’s getting some of important recognition during his lifetime. Santos celebrates his eightieth birthday this year, and the Latin Jazz community will be celebrating the occasion this week. On Monday, May 21st, a concert celebrating the music and career of Santos will be held at Aaron Davis Hall in New York and it promises to be a scorching night. Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Candido Camero, Xiomara Laugart, and others will be performing classic pieces from Santos. If you’re in New York, it’s a great opportunity to spend your Monday night recognizing one of the most important voices in the music. Find the details HERE.
Last week, we covered a new documentary dedicated to the history of salsa and Latin Jazz in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Last Mambo. This project comes from dancer Rita Hargrave and trombonist Wayne Wallace, going back through the history of the music and recording where it currently sits. The documentary includes interviews with local musicians, live performances, and more. This is an important project that digs through a highly overlooked piece of Latin Jazz history and the completion of the project relies upon the successful fulfillment of a KickStarter campaign. There are only a few days left on the campaign, so head on over to The Last Mambo KickStarter page and show your support now!
Over at A Blog Supreme, Patrick Jarenwattananon spent some time reflecting upon the state of jazz education and its lack connection to the jazz audience. Inspired by a piece written by Kurt Ellenberger, Jarenwattananon wonders if jazz education misses the point by teaching an antiquated version of jazz. This all makes me consider the current standing of Latin Jazz in jazz education; I’ve seen everything from very authentic representation of the music to watered down explorations, filled with sonic stereotypes. I wonder whether kids are simply learning rhythmic patterns or experiencing some of the culture and tradition associated with those rhythms. Will the connection to these rhythms be enough to get kids out to concerts to hear Eddie Palmieri, Poncho Sanchez, Bobby Sanabria, or John Santos? It’s a serious issue worth considering . . .
It’s always an exciting moment when a legendary artist releases a new album, but it’s even more intriguing when they explore new territories. Saxophonist and clarinet player Paquito D’Rivera has always been a musician that thrives on new musical experiences; each new recording bubbles over with a combination of tradition and exploration. His recent project, Dia Y Medio (A Day And A Half), teams him with Paraguayan classical guitarist Berta Rosas in an intimate duo setting. The result is a beautiful combination of jazz, classical influence, and Paraguayan traditions that bring out a wonderful side of D’Rivera’s musicality. You can get a taste of the project through this video which includes both snippets from the album and interviews with both musicians. Check it out – it looks like a beautiful project.
LJC is coming back together slowly but surely, with a trickle of articles over the next few weeks. Things will kick into high gear next month, but in the meantime, you can help me out a little bit with planning. Now’s the time to let me know what you love about LJC and the things that you’d like to see change. Do you want to see more interviews, reviews, or listening suggestions? Do you like to hear about classic artists or modern innovators? Do you prefer shorter articles to appear on the site more frequently or longer ones to come up now and then? Would you like to hear more podcasts or have only written material? Whatever your thoughts are, I’d love to hear them – my top priority is making LJC a valuable resource for the Latin Jazz community. Feel free to make your opinions known through the comments or simply contact me.
Paquito D’Rivera & Berta Rojas: Dia Y Medio (A Day And A Half)
Hendrik Meurkens & Gabriel Espinosa: Celebrando