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Sound Ideas #34 - Latin Jazz
Welcome to an hour of Latin Jazz; music infused with the rhythm of Latin America and Afro-Cuban influences.  The rhythm may be straight eighths but the music is still swingin'.
Artist Track Album
Poncho Sanchez Mambo Inn/On Green Dolphin Street La Familia
Ricky Ford Bostonova Interpretations
George Benson Bullfight It's Up Town with
Azymuth Partido Alto Light as a Feather
Horace Silver Quintet Gregory Is Here In Pursuit of the 27th Man
Art Farmer Septet Mau Mau The Art Farmer Septet
Dizzy Gillespie Cubana Bop Dizziest
Cal Tjader Chopsticks Mambo The Cal Tjader Trio
Richie Cole Blue Bossa Cool C
Miles Davis and Gil Evans Will O' the Wisp Sketches of Spain
Stan Kenton Samba de Haps Kenton '76

Poncho Sanchez plays some of the best Latin Jazz that has even been recorded. True to Latin rhythm and dancing meters but equally true to Jazz form with in-depth melodic and harmonic development and plenty of room for all the band to stretch out and "blow." This first cut is the essence of Latin Jazz: a medley of a mambo and a standard.  ¡Qué arte!

Our second set mixes up the relatively "normal" state of affairs known as a jazz bossa with plenty of improv by Ricky and crew, adds some skillful flamenco stylings from George Benson, and wraps up with the sounds of Brazil courtesy of the ever smooth sounds of Azymuth.

Horace Silver is a compositional master and in this case we hear one of his many Latin tinged melodies backed up by his early seventies power quintet. Bouncing two decades earlier we hear one of first recordings of a Fender Jazz bass with Art Farmer on his debut album filled with Latin and Afro-Cuban sensibilities, with a good dose of improvisation as well. And knocking the calendar back another decade, we hear one of Dizzy's latin jazz performances from his big band bebop era playing some rollicking Latin Jazz.

Besides Dizzy, and Chano Pozo, one of the creators of the Latin Jazz genre was Cal Tjader. Cal and his Trio play an early Latin Jazz interpretation, this time a mambo, of one of the best known piano tunes. Richie Cole turns in a thundering version of Blue Bossa recorded with a Japanese big band, and Miles and Gil illustrate once again why they are two of the most important innovations in any jazz idiom.

Closing out we hear from Stan Kenton and his orchestra, which sonically could fill the Grand Canyon, with a samba for our final piece of listening.

Jazz is a musical melting pot, reflective of the melting pot of the nation from which it came, but having grown to embrace a world wide melting pot of musical ideas and form. Latin Jazz may have substituted rhythm from the Latin Americas and Carribean for the West African originated polyrhythms of swing, but the melodic, harmonic, compositional, and improvisational realities of this music handily qualifies it membership of the quiltwork of music that we know as jazz.. Just consider the nationalities of the players in just this one hour: American, Canadian, Cuban, Mexican, Brazilian, Japanese, to name a few. No wonder jazz is recognized around the world. Although it started as American music, its family now is world wide and world reknown. ¡Viva Jazz!