Afro-Cuban jazz  

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"Spearheaded by the iconic conguero Chano Pozo, the late 1940s saw an exodus of Afro-Cubans percussionists from Cuba to the United States. Many others of them would become primarily conga players, such as Mongo Santamaría, Sabú Martínez and Cándido Camero." --Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Afro-Cuban jazz is a variety of Latin jazz, which was started by Dr. Obdulio Morales in 1930s Cuba. Other well-known variant of Latin jazz is Brazilian jazz. Afro-Cuban jazz was played in the U.S. directly after the bebop period, while Brazilian jazz became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz includes rhythmic components from the genres of salsa, merengue, songo, son, mambo, and cha cha cha.

Although jazz had long had what Jelly Roll Morton called the Spanish Tinge through the interchange of musicians from Havana and New Orleans during the late 19th and early 20th century, it never actually used the Afro-Cuban rhythmic components or percussion instruments. A good example of this style would be the song "Caravan" by Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol.

True Afro-Cuban started with the meeting of arranger Mario Bauzá and Dizzy Gillespie in the late 1940s in the Cab Calloway orchestra. In due course Gillespie formed his own big band to try to broaden the appeal of bebop. He asked Bauzá to introduce him to "one of those tom-tom [sic] players (meaning a conga player)." Bauzá introduced Gillespie to the legendary Cuban conguero Luciano "Chano" Pozo. It was in the Gillespie band that Chano Pozo wrote the song "Manteca" that is considered the first piece of true Afro Cuban jazz.

This produced a movement known as "Cubop" that included American jazz greats such as Charlie Parker, who was on the original recording of Chico O'Farrill's sophisticated programatic Afro Cuban Jazz Suite. Another great Cuban conguero famous in jazz circles was Mongo Santamaria, who worked for many years with the American vibe player Cal Tjader. Other American bop players who played in the Afro Cuban genre include Billy Taylor started Afro-Cuban bands in later years, also Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

Mongo Santamaria, like Chano Pozo before him, utilized Yorubas rhythmic structure and instruments.

In the mid 1950s the mambo dance craze swept the United States. This movement was New York based, primarily, but of course was influenced by the music of Cuba and Puerto Rico, not to mention the instrumentation of American big-band swing. The giants of this era were Puerto Ricans Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Machito and His Afro Cubans. In those days, record companies used the term "instrumental mambo" for what we would call "latin jazz." In modern times the group Los Hombres Calientes carries on the tradition, led by Irvin Mayfield and Bill Summers.

A very good example of this type of music is The Conga Kings.

See also "Spanish Tinge".

Important Albums

Dizzy Gillespie Afro

Kenny Dorham Afro-Cuban

Stan Kenton Cuban Fire!

Danilo Perez " Motherland "

Michel Camilo " On Fire "

Eddie Palmieri " La Verdad "

Sebastian Schunke " Symbiosis "

Gonzalo Rubalcaba " Mi Gran Pasion "

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Afro-Cuban jazz" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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