Latino Studies Latin Jazz
by
Alex W. Rodriguez, Ilan Stavans
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 19 March 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0020

Introduction

Sounding itself out in the diverse and resonant spaces between Afro-diasporic musical traditions across the Americas, the emergence of Latin jazz in the 20th century reflects the complex musical interactions between various cultures and traditions on both continents. Latin jazz came to prominence as a musical genre in the 1940s, when Afro-Cuban musicians in Spanish Harlem such as Mario Bauzá and Chano Pozo began to collaborate with African American jazz musicians. In 1947, Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie cowrote the hit “Manteca,” which featured both a rumba-derived melody statement and a jazz-tinged bridge. Although the success of the short-lived Pozo-Gillespie collaboration is central to the music’s influence, it is also one of many examples of interaction and conversation between Latin American musical traditions and North American jazz, a process that has been in effect since the late 19th century and continues today. And although many of these musical conversations have taken place in the United States, they have also touched off related styles and approaches in other parts of the Western Hemisphere throughout the 20th century. The history of inter-American musical exchange between the British and Spanish colonies goes as far back as the colonies themselves, and perhaps the strongest and most persistent resonance has existed between Cuba and the United States, with Afro-Cuban rhythms and American jazz improvisation combining to form the musical core of this tradition. These fusions have flourished in urban settings: New Orleans, Havana, and New York City have been the main hubs of these developments. In these cities, musicians of various ethnicities and personal backgrounds added innovative flair and personal touches to the style. Over time, the term “Latin jazz” has taken on many different meanings and has become associated with similar genres such as salsa, Latin music, rumba, and cha-cha-cha. Furthermore, as jazz spread around the world through international tours and the proliferation of commercial jazz records, Latin American musicians began to localize their own “Latin” takes on the jazz tradition. Although they do not necessarily produce a cohesive tapestry, these numerous threads weave themselves together to imply a diverse yet resilient musical phenomenon, one that is difficult to define but easy to enjoy. For a useful set of theoretical companion resources that are very relevant to this discussion, see the Oxford Bibliographies article “Transculturation and Literature.”

General Overviews

A number of scholars have written monographs and book chapters that sketch out a broad view of Latin jazz and its musicians, mostly from a historical perspective. With the exception of Marshall Stearns’s The Story of Jazz, initially published in 1956, all have been written since the 1990s, after the wave of interest in hybrid and diasporic cultural forms gave rise to a new focus both on urban and Caribbean musical styles. Many focus primarily on New York City, the main urban incubator for Latin jazz for most of its history; others consider the music as a whole or focus on particular ethnic groups within the genre. But whether their approach foregrounds musicians (Fernández 2006, cited under General Overviews: Books), diaspora (Stanyek 2004, cited under General Overviews: Book Chapters), or musical forms (Peñalosa 2009, cited under General Overviews: Books), each provides an important point of view for understanding the genre.

Books

These books represent some of the most in-depth takes on Latin jazz, including historical overviews, musical analysis, and cultural perspectives. The manuscript length allows for these authors to delve into details that are not always available to authors of chapter- or article-length essays. Roberts 1999 gives the most complete account in terms of a beginning-to-end narrative history, which breaks down the music into discrete historical periods and arranges them chronologically. Yanow 2000 is similarly comprehensive but is organized more as a listening guide. Peñalosa 2009 is a musicological analysis that explains the rhythmic foundation of Afro-Cuban music known as clave. Figueroa 1994 represents an effort toward cataloguing the Latin jazz scene in New York in the 1990s; Salazar 2002 and Morales 2003, written by longtime journalists covering the “Latin beat,” tell the story in a style geared toward a general audience. Fernandez 2006 offers a narrative of Latin jazz from a primarily Cuban perspective; Delannoy 2001 surveys the history of Mexican participation in the music.

  • Delannoy, Luc. ¡Caliente! Una historia del jazz latino. Colección Popular 598. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2001.

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    Delannoy gives a Spanish-language perspective on Latin jazz and steps beyond a basic historical account to also consider the music’s current practice both in the United States and throughout Latin America.

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  • Fernandez, Raul A. From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz. Music of the African Diaspora 10. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247079.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book traces a detailed trajectory that begins with Cuban popular music and follows it into the United States, where fusions with American jazz created the genre as we now know it. Along the way, the author profiles a number of prominent musicians such as Mongo Santamaría and Celia Cruz.

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  • Figueroa, Frank M. Encyclopedia of Latin American Music in New York. St. Petersburg, FL: Pillar, 1994.

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    This encyclopedia focuses on New York City and is a good resource for brief profiles of the musicians and substyles that were played in its many Latino communities. Its expansive format serves as a useful starting point for research into the New York–centered aspects of the music and its history.

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  • Morales, Ed. The Latin Beat: The Rhythms and Roots of Latin Music from Bossa Nova to Salsa and Beyond. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2003.

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    This overview, written by a Brooklyn-based journalist, is a well-crafted (if poorly sourced) account of the core narratives of a number of “Latin Music” genres, including Latin jazz in chapter 6 (pp. 171–196).

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  • Peñalosa, David. The Clave Matrix: Afro-Cuban Rhythm; Its Principles and African Origins. Edited by Peter Greenwood. Unlocking Clave 1. Redway, CA: Bembe, 2009.

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    This book takes a methodical approach to presenting the nuts-and-bolts aspects of musical structure in Afro-Cuban music, a helpful guide for anyone looking for a clear understanding of the unique rhythmic underpinnings of Latin jazz and many other Afro-Caribbean styles.

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  • Roberts, John Storm. Latin Jazz: The First of the Fusions, 1880s to Today. New York: Schirmer, 1999.

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    This is perhaps the most comprehensive and neatly packaged presentation of the variety of styles that make up Latin jazz, highlighting the successive bursts of enthusiasm for Latin American music in America, organized chronologically.

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  • Salazar, Max. Mambo Kingdom: Latin Music in New York. New York: Schirmer, 2002.

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    Salazar was the preeminent journalist on the front lines of documenting and advocating for Latin jazz, salsa, and related styles in New York City. His book offers a comprehensive and passionate firsthand account of the music’s development.

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  • Yanow, Scott. Afro-Cuban Jazz. San Francisco: Miller Freeman, 2000.

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    Yanow, an avid record collector and astute listener, has created a useful guide for exploring some of the important records of the Latin jazz genre.

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Book Chapters

These selections provide shorter overviews of Latin jazz, painting succinct accounts of the music and its meaning in the context of the various volumes in which each is published—including collections on jazz history, globalization, nationalism, race, and diasporic musical trends. Most center around the Afro-Cuban connection: Stearns 1981 (originally published in 1956) is the first to use this to make the case for the relevance of Caribbean influences in jazz, Santoro 2000 offers a New York–based jazz perspective, Fernández 2003 highlights its migration from Cuba throughout the United States, Jacques 1998 uses the music to discuss racial tensions in both countries, Stanyek 2004 suggests that it is a seminal site for Afro-diasporic consciousness, and Moore 2010 summarizes these issues in a brief textbook chapter. Stewart 2007 paints a portrait of contemporary Latin jazz practice through the lens of New York–based Latin big bands.

  • Fernández, Raúl. “On the Road to Latin Jazz.” Paper presented at an international conference, University of California, Los Angeles, 28–30 May 1999. In Musical Cultures of Latin America: Global Effects, Past and Present; Proceedings of an International Conference, University of California, Los Angeles, May 28–30, 1999. Edited by Steven Loza, 233–237. Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology 11. Los Angeles: Department of Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2003.

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    Fernández offers a brief but useful synopsis of the points upon which he elaborates in his book, highlighting the Afro-Cuban roots of the music’s rhythmic foundation.

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  • Jacques, Geoffrey. “CuBop! Afro-Cuban Music and Mid-Twentieth-Century American Culture.” In Between Race and Empire: African-Americans and Cubans before the Cuban Revolution. Edited by Lisa Brock and Digna Castañeda Fuertes, 249–265. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.

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    This essay situates the “CuBop” phase of Latin jazz within a broader discourse about race and American colonialism during the decades before the Cuban Revolution, arguing that this was a very important point of contact between African Americans and Afro-Cubans during this pivotal historical moment.

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  • Moore, Robin. “Dialogues with Blackness.” In Music in the Hispanic Caribbean: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. By Robin Moore, 177–206. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    An excellent summary of the genre, making up part of the last chapter in this overview textbook. Moore offers perhaps the most succinct account of Latin jazz, without reducing it to stereotypes.

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  • Santoro, Gene. “Latin Jazz.” In The Oxford Companion to Jazz. Edited by Bill Kirchner, 522–533. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    This clearly written overview of Latin jazz reflects the conventional wisdom on the style as an offshoot of American jazz—written, as it is, in this helpful edited collection on jazz in general.

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  • Stanyek, Jason. “Transmissions of an Interculture: Pan-African Jazz and Intercultural Improvisation.” In The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue. Edited by Daniel Fischlin and Ajay Heble, 87–130. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2004.

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    Considers the New York collaborations between musicians such as Pozo and Gillespie as a trans-diasporic improvisation, arguing that perceived mutual relationships to Africa allowed for a point of connection between musicians of distinct cultures.

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  • Stearns, Marshall W. “The West Indies and the United States.” In The Story of Jazz. By Marshall W. Stearns, 23–33. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.

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    Originally published in 1956, The Story of Jazz is one of the seminal works of jazz history and includes this chapter, which argues that Afro-Caribbean (then called “West Indian”) styles made an important impression on American jazz.

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  • Stewart, Alex. “Jazz and Clave: Latin Big Bands.” In Making the Scene: Contemporary New York City Big Band Jazz. By Alex Stewart, 227–257. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520249530.003.0010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The book surveys the jazz big bands making music today in New York. This chapter is dedicated to the Latin jazz big bands that are a prominent fixture on the scene.

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Jazz Magazine Coverage

Before academics had taken up the topic, written discourse on Latin jazz took place primarily in magazines and newspapers. These outlets have also continued to provide important insights into the music even since the boom of academic writing on the subject in the 1990s. These examples provide a small sampling of the coverage in major American jazz trade magazines such as Down Beat, Melody Maker, and Jazz Times, as well as the more recent publication Latin Beat, founded in 1991. Some articles shine light on relevant aspects of the genre that are not discussed in other literature, such as early attitudes among jazz musicians (Even Beer Joint Jam Combos Must Play Latin Jive, Gottlieb 1947), jazz education (Contreras 2005), and West Coast influences (Tamargo 1992). Others show how the music has been represented by journalists at various historical moments: Borneman 1954 and Stevenson 1955 reflect American jazz fans’ fascination with the genre’s rhythmic innovation; over fifty years later, Figueroa 1996 looks back at that important era and also discusses the music’s meaning in the 1990s.

Biographies

Because the story of Latin jazz was so strongly influenced by the musicians who played it, a number of important analyses have taken the form of artist biographies. This approach follows in the tradition of jazz journalism and scholarship in the United States, which has produced a vast amount of research centered on individual performers. These biographies, however, cover more ground than the musicians’ lives and music; going one step further, they use these stories as individual prisms through which to consider jazz and Latin American popular music more broadly. The formats include autobiography (D’Rivera 2008), as-told-to biography (Gillespie and Fraser 2009), musical analysis (Dietrich 1995), and a number of academic biographies that contextualize the artist within broader cultural trends: García 2006 foregrounds Arsenio Rodríguez and the role of dance in the salsa craze, Loza 1999 demonstrates Tito Puente’s central role in the creation of “Latin music” as a genre, and Gerard 2001 highlights the role of Caribbean immigrants in developing the style in New York.

  • Dietrich, Kurt R. “Juan Tizol.” In Duke’s ’Bones: Ellington’s Great Trombonists. By Kurt R. Dietrich, 51–68. Rottenburg, Germany: Advance Music, 1995.

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    A short biography of Puerto Rican trombonist Juan Tizol, one of the three trombonists in Duke Ellington’s famous jazz orchestra. Includes basic biographical information as well as transcription and analysis of important solos.

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  • D’Rivera, Paquito. My Sax Life: A Memoir. Introduction by Ilan Stavans. Translated by Luis Tamargo. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2008.

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    This four-hundred-page memoir offers an autobiographical perspective on Afro-Cuban jazz, by one of the genre’s biggest stars. D’Rivera is honest and candid in everything from recounting legendary performances to criticizing the Cuban government. Originally published in Spanish as Mi Vida Saxual in 2000 (Barcelona: Seix Barral) and in English in 2005.

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  • García, David F. Arsenio Rodríguez and the Transnational Flows of Latin Popular Music. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006.

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    This biography of the Latin music pioneer Arsenio Rodríguez, who honed his sound during the mambo era and flourished during the salsa craze, is unique in its focus on the importance of dancers and dancing as a foundational element of the music’s style and success.

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  • Gerard, Charley D. Music from Cuba: Mongo Santamaría, Chocolate Armenteros, and Cuban Musicians in the United States. London: Praeger, 2001.

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    This book is a compilation of short biographies of important Cuban musicians who spent much of their careers making music in the United States, arguing that Latin jazz is primarily an Afro-Cuban genre with important contributions from other immigrant groups.

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  • Gillespie, Dizzy, and Al Fraser. To Be, or Not . . . to Bop. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

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    An unforgettable as-told-to autobiography of the great jazz trumpeter who was at the center of the CuBop phenomenon when he hired Chano Pozo to join his big band in the 1940s. Gillespie reflects on this and many other aspects of his career in this engaging book, first published in 1979.

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  • Loza, Steven. Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

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    The definitive biography of Latin music superstar Tito Puente. Loza shows how his career navigated the shifting aspects of the “Latin music” genre that later became known as salsa.

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Academic Journal Articles

In the 1990s, renewed academic interest in cultural studies and the African diaspora laid the groundwork for Latin jazz to be theorized in its various cultural contexts throughout Latin American and Latino cultures. Since then, scholars have built upon those foundations with musical analysis that situates the music in particular contexts, both historically and geographically. Like many of the books on the subject, they focus on the music’s relationship to the cultural experiences of the musicians and listeners who participate in making it. Sommers 1991 and Zigel 1994 set the stage by exploring the music’s place within cultural and political systems. Washburne 2001–2002 argues that the music has been unfairly ignored by jazz scholars, Moreno 2004 explores the complex racial and ethnic dynamics that divided Harlem’s musicians, and Feldman 2005 shows how the more recent Afro-Peruvian revival draws from similar sources to those that formed Latin jazz.

  • Feldman, Heidi Carolyn. “The Black Pacific: Cuban and Brazilian Echoes in the Afro-Peruvian Revival.” Ethnomusicology 49.2 (2005): 206–231.

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    This ethnomusicological case study on the recent Afro-Peruvian revival argues that the dynamics in play reflect similar but distinct negotiations to those of the “Black Atlantic” that created music such as Latin jazz.

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  • Moreno, Jairo. “Bauza-Gillespie-Latin/Jazz: Difference, Modernity, and the Black Caribbean.” South Atlantic Quarterly 103.1 (2004): 81–99.

    DOI: 10.1215/00382876-103-1-81Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A detailed examination of race relations in New York and the doubly complex negotiations that Afro-Cuban musicians faced in making their music, this essay provides crucial added context for the cross-cultural perspective on 1940s Latin jazz.

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  • Sommers, Laurie Kay. “Inventing Latinismo: The Creation of ‘Hispanic’ Panethnicity in the United States.” Journal of American Folklore 104.411 (1991): 32–53.

    DOI: 10.2307/541132Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A case study of San Francisco Latin American immigrant communities in the 1980s, showing the tensions between various musical styles played at cultural fairs, including Latin jazz and salsa.

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  • Washburne, Christopher. “Latin Jazz: The Other Jazz.” Current Musicology 71–73 (Spring 2001–Spring 2002): 409–426.

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    This essay provides an overview of the standard Latin jazz narrative, as well as an argument that its exclusion from broader canonization in jazz discourse is problematic.

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  • Zigel, Leslie José. “Constricting the Clave: The United States, Cuban Music, and the New World Order.” University of Miami Inter-American Law Review 26.1 (1994): 129–180.

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    This detailed analysis of US-Cuban diplomatic relations provides historical background for the current difficulties that face Cuban musicians performing music in the United States.

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Early History and the Spanish Tinge

Although it coalesced into a genre in New York City, musical interchange between Latin American and North American musicians began in Havana and New Orleans, both important Caribbean ports. These articles shed light on the early musical roots and points of connection between the various cultures and styles during the time when jazz itself was coming into being. Early jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton recognized the influence of Latin American musical styles as what he called the “Spanish Tinge.” These books all consider those early cross-pollinations, from a number of different perspectives. Borneman 1969 is especially noteworthy because of its early publication date: written in the first issue of the German jazz research journal Jazzforschung, it demonstrates a number of important insights that were not picked up by most music scholarship until the 1990s. Carpentier 2001, the landmark study of Cuban music undertaken in the 1940s and recently translated into English, also serves as a helpful prequel. Benítez-Rojo and Maraniss 1998 gives a useful overview of the field as it was seen from the perspective of the emerging scholarly interest in Afro-Cuban music during the 1990s, and Washburne 1997 gives a contemporary account from a musicological point of view. Garrett 2008 delves into the “Spanish Tinge” from the perspective of American jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton. Sublette 2007 and Sublette 2008 offer the most-recent accounts of these early inter-American musical collaborations, benefiting greatly from the previous scholarship but also unearthing many fascinating new discoveries.

  • Benítez-Rojo, Antonio, and James Maraniss. “The Role of Music in the Emergence of Afro-Cuban Culture.” Research in African Literatures 29.1 (Spring 1998): 179–184.

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    This essay surveys the extent to which Afro-Cuban popular music played a role in the development of Cuban national culture in the 20th century, providing a concise overview of the Cuban “prehistory” of what later became Latin jazz.

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  • Borneman, Ernest. “Jazz and the Creole Tradition.” Jazzforschung / Jazz Research 1 (1969): 99–112.

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    Borneman’s incredibly prescient article attempts to correct a misapprehension among his fellow jazz scholars: that the music was somehow spontaneously created in the 1890s. He shows instead how deeply rooted in Afro-Caribbean culture the New Orleans creole music of the time must have been.

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  • Carpentier, Alejo. Music in Cuba. Translated by Alan West-Durán. Cultural Studies of the Americas 5. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.

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    A broad view of the roots and rhythms in Cuban music, with a deep, probing understanding of how music is connected with the historical development of Cuban society. Although this was written in the 1940s, before the emergence of Latin jazz, it showcases the forces that ultimately led to it.

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  • Garrett, Charles Hiroshi. “Jelly Roll Morton and the Spanish Tinge.” In Struggling to Define a Nation: American Music and the Twentieth Century. By Charles Hiroshi Garrett, 48–82. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520254862.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This chapter explores the central role that “Spanishness” played in early jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton’s musical aesthetic. This includes analysis of his frequent use of the tresillo rhythm, as well as historical accounts of his various uses of the “Spanish Tinge.”

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  • Sublette, Ned. Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2007.

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    An encyclopedic and exhaustive account of Cuban musical history that ends in 1952. The chapter “The Tango Age” deals specifically with the influence of Afro-Caribbean culture and its relationship to the nascent jazz style developing in nearby New Orleans. Originally published in 2004.

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  • Sublette, Ned. The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square. Chicago: Lawrence Hill, 2008.

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    Sublette explores the cultural influences of Cuba and St.-Dominique on New Orleans and argues that the significant migration of Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the city in the early 19th century played an important role in the development of the city’s famous musical culture. See especially the chapter “The Eighteenth-Century Tango,” pp. 116–128.

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  • Washburne, Christopher. “The Clave of Jazz: A Caribbean Contribution to the Rhythmic Foundation of an African-American Music.” Black Music Research Journal 17.1 (Spring 1997): 59–80.

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    Washburne echoes the arguments for an Afro-Caribbean contribution, summarizing Cuban and New Orleans connections to that world and then turning clave, the rhythmic pattern of many Afro-Cuban styles, as the primary musical feature that connects the various styles, including jazz.

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Salsa

Salsa, which began in New York City in the 1960s as an evolution of Latin jazz and later “Latin music,” bears many resemblances to Latin jazz—to the degree that the two terms are often used interchangeably. But the emergence of salsa also had important consequences for how the music was produced, marketed, and received by fans. Fania Records, which became known as the “Motown of Salsa,” produced many hit songs in this genre, by artists such as Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Rubén Blades, and Willie Colón. This marked a distinct stylistic shift from other music with Afro-Cuban rhythmic foundations, such as the popular Latin jazz of Cal Tjader. These analyses situate salsa within contemporary academic discourse in the humanities, putting the music into conversation with gender (Aparicio 2010), embodiment and identity (Román-Velázquez 1999), representation (Manuel 2001), globalization (Waxer 2002), and ethnography (Washburne 2008), as well as historical overviews such as Steward 1999 and Leymarie 2003. Also listed is an autobiography by Celia Cruz (Cruz 2004), the queen of salsa.

  • Aparicio, Frances R. Listening to Salsa: Gender, Latin Popular Music, and Puerto Rican Cultures. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2010.

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    This book, targeted to an academic audience, uses gender as a lens through which to hear salsa and its resonances with Puerto Ricans both in the United States and on the island. Originally published in 1997 (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England).

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  • Cruz, Celia. Celia: My Life. Translated by José Lucas Badué. New York: Rayo, 2004.

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    A lightweight, unreliable autobiography written by the queen of salsa Celia Cruz (1925–2003), with Ana Cristina Reymundo. It details her upbringing in Cuba, her performances before Fidel Castro, her immigration to the United States, and her rise to worldwide stardom. Although the book awakens suspicion among scholars, it serves as a Rorschach test to understand Cruz’s appeal. The book also includes a heartfelt foreword by Maya Angelou, one of Cruz’s many longtime fans.

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  • Leymarie, Isabelle. Cuban Fire: The Story of Salsa and Latin Jazz. New York: Continuum, 2003.

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    Places salsa in its historical context in New York, and its roots in Latin jazz and other Latin music styles, telling its story as a progression of Cuban musical influence on American popular music.

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  • Manuel, Peter: “Representations of New York City in Latin Music.” In Island Sounds in the Global City: Caribbean Popular Music & Identity in New York. Edited by Ray Allen and Lois Wilcken, 23–43. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001.

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    Manuel’s contribution to this edited collection on the increasing influence of various Caribbean cultures on New York life explores the various musical styles as they are performed in the city, with a focus on the relationship between music and group identity.

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  • Román-Velázquez, Patria. “The Embodiment of Salsa: Musicians, Instruments and the Performance of a Latin Style and Identity.” Popular Music 18.1 (January 1999): 115–131.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0261143000008758Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This exploration of salsa music performed in London uses theories of embodiment and identity formation to discuss Latin American immigrant communities there, through musical instruments and performance styles.

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  • Steward, Sue. Salsa: Musical Heartbeat of Latin America. London: Thames & Hudson, 1999.

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    A visually well-produced overview of salsa for general audiences, with a forward by salsa pioneer Willie Colón. The author is a journalist and broadcaster who covers world music for the BBC.

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  • Washburne, Christopher. Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York City. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008.

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    Washburne’s book, based on his dissertation research on the New York salsa scene, gives an insider’s account of the music as it is practiced today, through ethnographic research and his own participation in the scene as a trombonist.

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  • Waxer, Lise, ed. Situating Salsa: Global Markets and Local Meanings in Latin Popular Music. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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    This edited collection includes a number of scholarly perspectives on salsa and Latin jazz, situating the music in a global context with a number of fascinating analyses by leading scholars such as Robin Moore, Steven Loza, and Frances Aparicio.

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Musical Fronteras

Salsa, however, is not the only musical genre with important similarities and relationships to Latin jazz. This collection of books and shorter pieces offers examples of scholars dealing with the reality that musical genres and the cultures that surround them rarely have fixed boundaries; as a result, the discussion of one musical style invariably requires the consideration of others.

Books

These monographs cover a wide range of musical territory but are united in their use of Latin American popular music as an important touchstone. Together, they represent four main areas of cultural interaction—the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and the Caribbean—that mutually engaged one another through music. Latin jazz played an important role in this cultural intermingling. In all of these analyses, Latin jazz is at least one link in the complex musical systems that are explored, whether centered on a genre such as merengue (Austerlitz 1997) or a city such as Los Angeles (Loza 1993 and Macías 2008). Glasser 1997 highlights the music’s early history in the “Nuyorican” community of Puerto Rican immigrants in New York; Castro 2012 gives a passionate account of the bossa nova legend; Davies 2003 traces trumpet styles from Cuba to New York; Manuel, et al. 2006 gives a geographical overview; and Roberts 1999 gives a comprehensive historical account of these musical interactions.

  • Austerlitz, Paul. Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997.

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    This in-depth history of merengue gives a broad historical account of the music’s development in the Dominican Republic and its popularization abroad, including a chapter that discusses the influence of jazz on the music’s development.

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  • Castro, Ruy. Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2012.

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    A translation of the 1990 Brazilian bestseller, this book is written from the perspective of a music journalist and covers many of the genre’s most important innovators historically. It argues forcefully that the music is an important contribution to the world and reflects Brazilian culture.

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  • Davies, Rick. Trompeta: Chappottín, Chocolate, and Afro-Cuban Trumpet Style. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2003.

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    Biographical profiles of Félix Chappotín and Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, two influential pioneers of Cuban-style trumpet playing. Also includes more-general descriptions of son style and the unique aspects of conjunto trumpet technique.

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  • Glasser, Ruth. My Music Is My Flag: Puerto Rican Musicians and Their New York Communities, 1917–1940. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

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    Glasser’s monograph gives a detailed account of individual musicians such as Rafael Hernández and Augusto Coen, as well as situating the musicians who contributed to Latin jazz and related genres in the broader colonial context of 20th-century Puerto Rico and its diaspora.

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  • Loza, Steven. Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

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    An ethnography of Mexican American music culture in Los Angeles, it includes a detailed history of the Mexican presence in the city, interviews with prominent local musicians, and artist profiles including Latin jazz star Poncho Sánchez.

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  • Macías, Anthony. Mexican American Mojo: Popular Music, Dance, and Urban Culture in Los Angeles, 1935–1968. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

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    This detailed history of Mexican American participation in Los Angeles musical culture examines the many ways in which Mexican Americans asserted themselves, on the basis of extensive interviews as well as archival research.

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  • Manuel, Peter, Kenneth Bilby, and Michael Largey. Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae. Rev. ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006.

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    This overview of Caribbean musical styles includes photographs, an extensive discography, and clear writing that explores the music’s complex acoustic, social, and political dynamics. Originally published in 1995; revised edition includes more-recent styles such as reggaeton and Jamaican dancehall.

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  • Roberts, John Storm. The Latin Tinge: The Impact of Latin American Music on the United States. 2d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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    A comprehensive examination of the effects that Latin American music has had on a wide variety of American cultural forms, treated chronologically from 19th-century tango to 1970s Latin pop.

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Articles and Book Chapters

These articles provide important theoretical foundations and reflections on the phenomenon of borders in music, and how those borders have become increasingly problematic since the early 1990s. In doing so, they offer insights into issues such as diaspora, race, and the commercialization of music. Moore 1995 hears Afro-Caribbean music as a product of globalization, Béhague 2002 offers a practical appraisal of the opportunities for transcontinental research of black music, Holt 2007 uses Latin music to discuss the challenge of genre formation, and Bendrups 2011 gives an account of Latin music in Australia, where it takes on new meanings when removed from its geographical roots.

  • Béhague, Gerard. “Bridging South America and the United States in Black Music Research.” Black Music Research Journal 22.1 (2002): 1–11.

    DOI: 10.2307/1519962Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A nuanced and helpful guide to anyone interested in conducting research on black music, this essay explores the possible means by which scholars can study black music in North and South American contexts that is sensitive both to local complexities and global cultural flows.

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  • Bendrups, Dan. “Latin Down Under: Latin American Migrant Musicians in Australia and New Zealand.” In Special Issue: Crossing Borders: Music of Latin America. Popular Music 30.2 (2011): 191–207.

    DOI: 10.1017/S026114301100002XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes the development of the Latin American music scene in Australia and New Zealand, using the phenomenon as a jumping-off point for a broader consideration of the globalized cultural flows that have reached those nations.

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  • Holt, Fabian. “Music at American Borders.” In Genre in Popular Music. By Fabian Holt, 151–180. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

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    This book theorizes the phenomenon of genre formation in popular music, and this chapter in particular shows the complexities of genre in the face of music such as Latin jazz, which is difficult to situate within genre or national boundaries.

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  • Moore, Robin. “The Commercial Rumba: Afrocuban Arts as International Popular Culture.” Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana 16.2 (1995): 165–198.

    DOI: 10.2307/780372Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article traces the Cuban musical style known as rumba through its incorporation into global popular music styles, including Latin jazz, teasing out some of the important tensions, conflicts, and strategies employed by various agents throughout this process.

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Jazz in Latin America

Taking a wider view of Latin jazz requires a consideration not only of musicians bringing Latin American musical styles to the United States, but also of jazz as it was exported to Latin America during the same period. Starting with the first jazz recordings made in 1917, the music quickly gained a global following, and Latin America was no exception. Scholarship in this field has been written primarily in Spanish by local authors writing histories of jazz in their country of origin; more recently, however, English-language scholarship is beginning to explore this topic as well.

Books

This collection of books reflects the views of local scholars on the history of jazz in a number of different countries. Each gives a sense of how American jazz was received differently and similarly in various national contexts, including Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, and Cuba. With one exception (Acosta 2003), all are written in Spanish and have not yet been translated into English. Acosta 2003 covers Cuba, Balliache 1997 tells the history of Venezuelan jazz, Derbez 2001 focuses on Mexico, Menanteau 2003 surveys the history in Chile, Pujol 2004 discusses Argentina, and Vélez 2007 looks at Colombia.

  • Acosta, Leonardo. Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: One Hundred Years of Jazz in Cuba. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2003.

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    Tells the history of Latin jazz from a Cuban perspective, including many of the same protagonists as the more general overviews, but considering them as part of a historical trajectory of jazz filtered through Cuban musical sensibilities and concluding with profiles of contemporary leaders.

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  • Balliache, Simón. Jazz en Venezuela. Caracas, Venezuela: Ballgrub, 1997.

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    Covers the history of jazz in Venezuela, also chronologically, and also considers the influence of jazz festivals, local promoters, and education institutions on the development of the music. Text available online.

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  • Derbez, Alain. El jazz en México: Datos para una historia. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2001.

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    A very detailed examination of jazz in Mexico, proceeding chronologically into the late 20th century. Includes analysis by prominent musicians and scholars.

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  • Menanteau, Álvaro. Historia del jazz en Chile. Santiago, Chile: Ocho Libros Editores, 2003.

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    A chronological history of jazz in Chile, focusing on three main periods: early jazz, the swing and bebop era, and the fusion of rock and Chilean folkloric styles with jazz in the 1960s and 1970s. Also includes an extensive discography and list of influential musicians.

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  • Pujol, Sergio. Jazz al sur: La música negra en la Argentina. 2d ed. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Emecé, 2004.

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    A comprehensive overview of jazz in Argentina, which has had an especially rich history of interaction with American jazz over the past century, including the influence of visiting American musicians, local trade journals, and interaction with other local styles such as tango.

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  • Vélez, Enrique Luis Muñoz. Jazz en Colombia: Desde los alegres años 20 hasta nuestros días. Barranquilla, Colombia: Editorial La Iguana Ciega, 2007.

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    A chronological history of jazz in Colombia that begins in 1923 and also discusses the music’s interactions with other local musical styles such as cumbia. Includes an extensive discography and a collection of archival photos.

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Articles and Book Chapters

These shorter pieces give some examples of more-recent English-language scholarship on jazz in Latin America. Both Piedade 2003 and Fernández 2003 are taken from Jazz Planet, an important collection of English-language essays that consider jazz in a global context, not exclusively as a product of musicians in the United States. Taken together, these essays provide a useful counterpoint to the discussion of Latin jazz as it took place in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, by offering a comparison of how musicians received and reinterpreted jazz across Latin America. In addition to the two essays from Jazz Planet, which cover the tensions present in Brazilian jazz and the role of swing in the development of rumba, Pinckney 1989 is an early attempt to understand the role of jazz in Latin American national music movements, focusing on Puerto Rico, and Austerlitz 2005 examines the role that jazz has played in shaping Dominican merengue.

  • Austerlitz, Paul. “Ambivalence and Creativity: The Jazz Tinge in Dominican Music.” In Jazz Consciousness: Music, Race, and Humanity. By Paul Austerlitz, 98–118. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2005.

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    The book as a whole considers aesthetic of jazz as inclusive and liberating. This chapter focuses on the influence of jazz in Dominican music, reversing the idea that the “Spanish Tinge” influenced jazz by showing how a “Jazz Tinge” influenced Dominican merengue.

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  • Fernández, Raúl A.. “‘Si no tiene swing no vaya’ a la rumba’: Cuban Musicians and Jazz.” In Jazz Planet. Edited by E. Taylor Atkins, 3–18. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003.

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    Fernández’s contribution to the edited collection Jazz Planet, which considers jazz globally, focuses on Cuban musicians’ cultivation of a local style that included jazz as well as rumba and other local genres.

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  • Piedade, Acácio Tadeu de Camargo. “Brazilian Jazz and Friction of Musicalities.” In Jazz Planet. Edited by E. Taylor Atkins, 41–58. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003.

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    Another essay in the Jazz Planet compilation, this chapter focuses on Brazilian jazz, or Música Instrumental, showing it to be a reflection of tension between Brazilian and North American approaches to music making.

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  • Pinckney, Warren R., Jr. “Puerto Rican Jazz and the Incorporation of Folk Music: An Analysis of New Musical Directions.” Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana 10.2 (1989): 236–266.

    DOI: 10.2307/779952Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This essay explores the reasons why some musicians have combined Latin jazz with Puerto Rican folkloric forms, suggesting that the ways in which styles can be combined are variable and reflective of creativity on the part of the musicians themselves.

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