Latin American music and musicians have played fundamental and innovative roles in the history and evolution of jazz. Jelly Roll, Louie, Duke and Diz are among the legions of jazz pioneers who acknowledged these facts. The Latin Roots of Jazz is the continuation of John Santos’ evolving yearly series presented by the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, the Museum of the African Diaspora, and SFJAZZ, featuring selections from his legendary collection of audio and video recordings and live musical examples (in weeks one and six only). This year, the series is six weeks. Classes are on Wednesdays, 7:00 to 9:00 from Aug 10th through Sep 14th at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in SF.
Week 1. Aug 10
Afro-Cuban Roots 1
The profound Afro roots of Cuban folkloric music, song and dance are at the foundation of contemporary Jazz Latino, providing both an historic and living link to the Afro-Caribbean culture that gave birth to Jazz. Live demonstration by maestros Roberto Borrell, Erick Barbería, Fito Reynoso, Bobi Céspedes and John Santos of Afro-Cuban forms such as Güiro, Bata, Bembé, Arará, Abakuá, Iyesá, Conga de Comparsa, Yambú, Guaguancó, Columbia and Guarapachangueo.
SFJAZZ/MoAD/YBGF Members: $15/class or $75/series
Public: $20/class or $100/series
Week 2. Aug 17
Afro-Cuban Roots 2
Danzon, Mambo, Cha Cha Chá, Changüí, Tumba Francesa, Gagá, Trova, Bolero, Son, Descarga, Mozambique and Songo.
Week 3. Aug 24
Puerto Rican Roots
Puerto Rican musicians on and off the island have played an integral role in the history of Jazz from the very beginning. As Cuba’s sister island, Puerto Rico shares the same colonial history and resistance, forging a symbiotic relationship with Cuba celebrated by poets, dancers, musicians and statesmen. As co-inhabitors of Harlem, New York’s legendary cradle of Jazz, and subsequently the Bronx and beyond, Puerto Ricans were active in the formative years of swing, be-bop and Afro-Cuban Jazz. That seminal role continued in Jazz-influenced styles such as mambo, do-wop and salsa. The Afro-Puerto Rican styles known as bomba and Plena have provided major rhythmic and melodic impetus for Puerto Rican interpreters of Latin Jazz in recent decades.
Week 4. Aug 31
Brazil is a world of music unto itself. The natural affinity of Brazilian music with Jazz has yielded beautiful results and historic collaborations. Historically, Choro and Samba have much in common with Jazz in terms of urban, Afro-Euro influence. Brazilian regional forms have produced some of the most beautiful music of the last half century, always pushing and challenging the parameters of what might be defined as Jazz. Some of the artists that we will listen to and discuss are Joao Gilberto, Elis Regina, Hermeto Pascoal, Airto Flora Purim, Djavan, Baden Powell, Maria Bethania, Sergio Mendes, Joao Bosco, Fundo de Quintal, Roberta Sa, Jovino Santos Neto, Ricardo Peixoto and Claudia Villela.
Week 5. Sep 7
Evolving organically from the Afro-Cuban Jazz roots of the 1940s, Latin Jazz is created by musicians from all over the Americas, Europe and beyond, spearheaded by myriad Latin American rhythms and forms. While Cuban rhythms continue to form the base and point of departure, composers and arrangers have incorporated cultural components from their own countries and ethnicities as well as non-traditional musical combinations such as odd meter and instrumental and harmonic experimentation.
Week 6. Sep 14
Latin American rural musical traditions known collectively as Musica Campesina form a great stream of melodic, rhythmic and lyrical resources that inform Latin Jazz and other contemporary American music. The family of string instruments that are the nucleus of this music also remind us of the major African influence in Spain long before those instruments were heard in the New World. Then to bring it full circle, Latin American rhythms and instruments have in turn influenced several decades of contemporary Spanish music resulting in the significant enrichment of centuries-old Spanish traditions. This lecture will be accompanied by a concert of Flamenco-Jazz featuring Spanish pianist Alex Conde and his Cuartet with vocalist Jose Cortés, dancers Melissa Cruz and Fanny Ara, and percussionist John Santos.