From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz

From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz

From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz

From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz

Synopsis

This book explores the complexity of Cuban dance music and the webs that connect it, musically and historically, to other Caribbean music, to salsa, and to Latin Jazz. Establishing a scholarly foundation for the study of this music, Raul A. Fernandez introduces a set of terms, definitions, and empirical information that allow for a broader, more informed discussion. He presents fascinating musical biographies of prominent performers Cachao López, Mongo Santamaréa, Armando Peraza, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Cándido Camero, Chocolate Armenteros, and Celia Cruz. Based on interviews that the author conducted over a nine-year period, these profiles provide in-depth assessments of the musicians' substantial contributions to both Afro-Cuban music and Latin Jazz. In addition, Fernandez examines the links between Cuban music and other Caribbean musics; analyzes the musical and poetic foundations of the Cuban son form; addresses the salsa phenomenon; and develops the aesthetic construct of sabor, central to Cuban music.

Copub: Center for Black Music Research

Excerpt

As the twentieth century drew to a close, a small band of elderly Cuban musicians, known collectively as the Buena Vista Social Club, was playing to sold-out concert halls throughout the world, selling hundreds of thousands of compact discs, and starring, with Ry Cooder, in an awardwinning documentary by Wim Wenders. They reminded us, not for the first time in that century, that the irresistible rhythms of traditional Cuban dance musics continue to excite audiences everywhere.

To some extent, the success of Buena Vista Social Club was based on the international listening public’s familiarity with Cuban popular music forms. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the sounds and rhythms of this relatively small island already exerted a sort of musical hegemony within the Caribbean basin. As early as the 1880s, the bolero, known for its passionate love lyrics, was evolving in Santiago de Cuba. It quickly spread throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America, becoming a hemisphere-wide genre. In the 1930s, the rhumba became the rage in the United States and Europe. It traveled to Africa, where it influenced the development of soukous, today’s most common urban music in subSaharan Africa. In the 1940s, another Cuban music genre and dance . . .

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