WBGO Blog
  • 5 Fun Facts About Latin Jazz: Get Ready!

    March 11, 2015. Posted by Steve Williams.

    Add new comment | Filed under: 92Y, Jazz Alive

    WBGO celebrates Latin jazz at the 92Y's “Latin On Lex” festival March 12-14.

    To get ready,  we’re brushing up on our Latin - and  invite you to join us. Here are five fun facts we found!

    The festival features Eddie Palmieri, Pedrito Martinez, Phil Woods and many others, and is curated by trumpeter Brian Lynch.

    1. WHAT WAS THE FIRST LATIN JAZZ COMPOSITION?

    Tanga_piano_guajeo

    “Tanga” was written by Cuban trumpeter Mario Bauzá and first recorded in 1943.

    In the 1930s, Bauzá played in the top New York bands of Chick Webb and Cab Calloway, and wanted to combine the feel of Cuban “descarga” jam sessions with the swing feel and harmonies of North American jazz.

    Bauzá mentored the young Dizzy Gillespie and sparked Dizzy's lifelong love of Latin rhythms. “Tanga” combines the “clave” rhythmic pattern common in Cuban dance music with space for jazz solos.

    The "clave" cycle combines three long beats with two short beats in a repeating pattern, or two short beats followed by three long, over two measures. In "Tanga," the pattern is 2-3.

    2. WHO IS MACHITO?

    Machito_and_his_sister_Graciella_Grillo
    Photo by William Gottlieb, Jr.

    Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez Grillo was the son of a Havana cigar manufacturer who became a bandleader and singer. He was nicknamed "Macho" as a child because he was the first son born after three daughters. He switched to "Machito" out of respect for his new bride.

    “Machito” was also the brother-in-law of Mario Bauzá, and was the first to record Bauzá’s “Tanga” with his band, the Afro-Cubans.

    This band, which he led until 1976, was the first to consistently explore ways to combine Cuban rhythms with the harmonies and solos found in North American jazz.

    3. WHAT ARE THE BRANCHES OF LATIN JAZZ?

    latinmannMost “Latin” jazz since the 1940s falls into two categories: Afro-Cuban, often based on the “clave” and ostinato patterns of Cuban dance music, and Afro-Brazilian, which gained popularity worldwide through the success of Bossa Nova in the 1960s.

    Jazz musicians also draw from the African musical traditions of countries such as Columbia, Venezuela, Mexico and Peru, and Argentina’s tango and Brazil’s maxixe were internationally popular before jazz spread around the world in 1917.

    4. WHAT FAMOUS LATIN JAZZ INSTRUMENTS ARE AT THE SMITHSONIAN?

    Puente_timbales

    The timbales or shallow metal-shelled drums played by Tito Puente at the closing ceremonies at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics are on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

    The Harlem-born Puente, known as the “King of the Timbales,” graduated from Juilliard, was awarded the National Medal of the Arts and has a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

    5. WHO WAS THE FIRST LATIN JAZZ ARTIST ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS?

    ray-barretto-el-watusi-tico

    Percussionist Ray Barretto scored a hit in 1963 with “El Watusi,” which was was on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart for nine weeks and sold more than half a million copies.

    While the song was not Latin jazz, Barretto was, for nearly fifty years, one of its most eloquent players.

    In the 1960s, he was – simultaneously – the house percussionist for the era’s top three jazz labels: Blue Note, Prestige, and Riverside, and at the same time he recorded for the top Latin dance label, Tico. Barretto recorded with Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Freddie Hubbard, and many others.

    Barretto was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2006, the nation’s highest honor for a jazz musician.

  • Brian Lynch on 92Y "Latin On Lex" Festival: Listen Now

    March 6, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Trumpeter Brian Lynch talks with Gary Walker about the "Latin On Lex" festival he curates at New York's 92Y March 12-14, with performances by Eddie Palmieri, Pedrito Martinez, Yosvany Terry, Manuel Valera, Phil Woods and others. Enjoy!

    BrianLynch669

  • Boom Tic Boom And Sexmob at 92Y And On WBGO HD2

    May 8, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO's The Checkout! presented a live double bill from 92Y Tribeca of drummer Allison Miller's trio Boom Tic Boom and trumpeter Steven Bernstein's Sexmob on Wednesday, May 8 at 8 p.m. Watch video from both sets here.

    Want to hear more? WBGO's HD2 channel for new music, the jazz bee, features Boom Tic Boom's brand-new album, No Morphine, No Lillies, as well as past releases by Miller, Bernstein and their bandmates. Enjoy!

    Like WBGO's other live broadcasts, these shows live on in our video archive and at NPRmusic.org.

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    Click here to watch Allison Miller with Boom Tic Boom:

    Click here to watch trumpeter Steven Bernstein with Sexmob:

    Watch live streaming video from wbgo at livestream.com