- Series: Third Ear
- Paperback: 214 pages
- Publisher: Backbeat Books (November 30, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 087930619X
- ISBN-13: 978-0879306199
- Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Afro-Cuban Jazz : Third Ear - The Essential Listening Companion Paperback – December 1, 2000
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From Library Journal
Yanow, author of the successful Swing and Bebop entries of the "Third Ear" series, here tackles Afro-Cuban jazz, a genre born, he claims, from Dizzy Gillespie's collaboration with Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo. After a lively brief overview, he offers a section of concise biographies that includes the usual suspects like Arturo Sandoval and Tito Puente. Here, Yanow notes that many of the included musicians are Latin American and American, but as they were heavily influenced by Cuba's music and culture, they merited inclusion. Within the biographical entries are listings of recommended recordings on CD. In cases where an artist's music is not yet available on CD, Yanow furnishes out-of-print LPs worth searching for. There is also a "Various Artists" list, a useful way to get a feel for a variety of performers. Readers will especially enjoy the author's illuminating and enjoyable conversations with four Afro-Cuban musicians. Though Yanow's enthusiasm is one of this work's strengths, his penchant for using exclamation points is ultimately distracting. Also, his indexing is questionable. For example, he refers to Louie Bellson's wonderful Ecu /Ritmos Cubanos, which features several outstanding Latin musicians, in percussionist Luis Conte's section. Yet Bellson's record isn't listed under his own name in Yanow's section of prominent jazz musicians who have recorded Afro-Cuban jazz, and neither Bellson nor the album is indexed. His very small annotated list of recommended books demonstrates the lack of written material available to English readers, so even with its flaws, this is valuable. Especially for those unfamiliar with this music, Afro-Cuban Jazz should prove to be an indispensable resource. Recommended for public, academic, and music libraries. William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"An extensive overview of the history and incredible musicians that have developed this exciting music...a rare treat!" -- Susie Hansen, violinist
"This is the largest and most comprehensive book on Afro-Cuban Jazz that Ive ever seen!" -- Poncho Sanchez, congeuero and bandleader
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Yanow, "coros and call/response" are the heart of Afro-Cuban music irregardless of style. Likewise "Salsa" is the "soul" of Latin Jazz. Latin music is essentially designed to make you get up and dance. Most (though obviously not all) Latin music has that power to make even the dead get up and "get down.". It has never been the "navel gazing" type of music that much jazz has "evolved" (???) into. Afro-Cuban music and Latin Jazz are "peoples music." Peoples music makes you move, man! Even introspective Latin ballads make you "move!"
Today there are numerous Latino musicians who can play jazz standards, modern jazz, and avant garde jazz masterfully, and they have many recordings out on which they sonically prove that point. Still, there is something about the clave, the conga, and a strong coro that underlies even the most traditional Latin Jazz interpretation of "straight ahead jazz," that makes it always capable of exploding into (to borrow a Tito Puente title) "Dance Mania."
When Latinos play music of any type they quite often try to sprinkle in a bit of "latinisms" just to give it that "salsa and sabor." That is part of what makes Latin music so potent.
I suggest that Mr. Yanow study the roots and history of how Latin Jazz evolved from puro African drum rhythms and chants to Cuban "styles" like son montuno, charanga, changui, etc, to inclusion into be-bop and the rest of the jazz vocabulary as we know it today. There is a truly great book (subtitled-"The Nationalization of Blackness") that Amazon sells which is a "must-read" for anyone interested in the evolvement of Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz music over the past 150 years.
Here are some suggestions to Mr. Yanow-1) Listen, really listen, to "Beny More's" recordings, and 2) Take some salsa dance classes or learn how to play conga drums so that you can learn exactly why Afro-Cuban music in general, and Latin Jazz in particular, is given little or no respect by navel-gazing, head-nodding, pointy-headed intellectual jazz music snobs who actually seem to abhor any and all music that gives rise to "booty shaking."
Ask yourself why Dizzy Gillespie and Cal Tjader were so enamoured with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Think about exactly what falls under the "rainbow" of Duke Ellington's famous line, "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!" Buy a copy of Manny Oquendo's, "Muvete: Manny Oquendo and Libre LIVE." Then I think you will have a slightly different perspective on Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz music overall. In fact, I think that a thorough study of Latin and Afro-Cuban music would have been a tremendous addition to the introductory episode of Ken Burn's monumental PBS series on Jazz.
One last thing-Many western listeners tend to feel that latin music has "too much going on all at once" for their listening tastes. There are drums, timbales, drum-sets, trombones, trumpets, organs, Improvising coros (singing in a language they can't understand, so they have their brain relate to the singers as extraneous "noise" rather than as "human horn sections," and then you have dancers, rumberos, and shakeres to fill out the aural soundscape. It is no wonder that western jazz afficianados seldom give Latin Jazz and Afro-Cuban music it's due. All I can say is simply- don't put it down until you've "played" with the sound. Join a drum circle for a few months and watch your eyes lift from your navel to, perhaps, the Orishas. Ache!
P.S. Give a listen to the music played by Thai musicians at "Muay Thai" boxing matches in Thailand. It swings, it sings, and it makes Latin Jazz sound quieter and gentler in comparison. I love it! But, then again, I spent quite some time learning Muay Thai. Nowadays I am just a couch salsero and drum circle player.
Jimi April /Chicago,Illinois/ 01/29/03
It all began with a lonely chant somewhere in a faraway place thousands of years ago. Then someone added a primitive clave to support the voice(s). Then came beating on rocks, tree stumps, hollowed out logs, and primitive drums. Thousands of years later, in Cuba, the sounds began to embrace western music in a subtle way, The came, to name just a fe of the Giants of the 1940's-1950's, Tito Rodriguez,Tito Puente, Mongo, Patato, Cal Tjader,and Cachao. Today we have Pancho Sanchez, Eddie Palmieri (still swing and still knocking everyone dead), Manny Oquendo, Andy Gonzalez,and many, many other gifted Latino musicians, keeping alight the flame of Latin Jazz and Afro-Cuban music burning and ever-evolving.
So, I recommend buying this book, but keep in mind that the definative book on Afro-Cuban music and Latin Jazz has yet to be penned.
The Spanish/Latin tinge in jazz has been around since Jelly Roll Morton played ragtime with a Cuban beat. However, books on the subject are far and few between (See John Storm Roberts books for more.) I recommend AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ-THE ESSENTIAL LISTENING COMPANION by Scott Yanow.