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Latin Jazz

In the 1950s and ’60s American dancehall bands, which had for decades mainly performed dances and compositions that originated in the U.S., began to actively communicate with Latin musicians and add Latin dances like the mambo, samba and cha-cha-cha to their repertoires. Bebop band leaders like Dizzy Gillespie also wove Latin elements into their music, and in turn American jazz began to appear all over Latin America, fusing with Latin rhythms to become “Latin Jazz.” Latin jazz was syncopated like American jazz but didn’t emphasize the same beats, giving the music a different feel. The form introduced Latin instruments into jazz bands such as congas and bongos (both Afro-Cuban), the claves, the timbales and even the cowbell.

Latin bandleaders like TITO PUENTE, ARTURO SANDOVAL and PAQUITO D’RIVERA became popular in the U.S. in this time, as did a new trend, one that blended Brazilian samba with jazz, called “bossa nova” (which, conveniently, literally translates as “new
trend.”) American saxophone player STAN GETZ performed with Brazilian bossa nova musicians such as ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM and JOÃO GILBERTO and receives due credit for popularizing the style in the U.S.

[Watch Tito Puente (on timabales) perform live in Montreaux in 1980 | Watch saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera perform live in Bern 1992 | Watch Arturo Sandoval and his band play, “Mam Bop,” in 1998 | Watch saxophone player Stan Getz share bossa nova with California in 1983]

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