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Module 3: Salsa and Latin Jazz glossary (Smithsonian)

In this module you will learn about:

  1. The influence of the habanera in the development of ragtime.
  2. The blending of Latin percussion with Big Band brass and jazz "jamming" structures in Latin Jazz, as exemplified by Dizzy Gillespie's Cubop.
  3. The development in New York of Latin "salsa," a generic name covering Cuban-derived music based mostly on the son, after the embargo that followed the Cuban Revolution.

It is often believed that the fusion between jazz and Latin music began in the 1940’s and culminated with the collaboration of Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie in the Afro-Cuban Drums Suite. However, cross-fertilization between the two genres dates back to the middle of the nineteenth century, after Louisiana had become a state of the Union. At that time, Cuban musicians accused of conspiring against the Spanish colonial regime fled to New Orleans where they found work at many of the city’s famed venues. It is not by accident that the danzón and ragtime developed almost simultaneously, and both have analogous elements going back to a common source: the African rythms distilled in Haiti and exported to Cuba and New Orleans. <more>

Assignment 1: Habanera/Ragtime Fusion
The habanera and ragtime have a common ancestor: the Haitian contredanse. Explore the rhythmic and structural elements they share.

Assignment 2: Cubop and Beyond
The blending of Bebop and Afro-Cuban percussion in the 1940's became known as Cubop. Analyze how Afro-Cuban drumming influenced the structure of the descarga or jamming.

Assignment 3: Post-Cuban Salsa
The blockade of Cuba in the 1960's shifted the center of Latin music production to New York where influences other than Cuban music gained increasing importance. Identify what these influences were.

Movers and Shakers

Jelly Roll Morton
Born Ferdinand LaMothe, the well-known pianist and composer of rags traced his roots to Haiti on both sides, was raised by Cuban godparents, and learned habaneras from his Mexican guitar teacher (Fernández, 20). He stated, famously, that if the music did not have a "Spanish tinge" it was not truly jazz.



Dizzy Gillespie
The father of bebop, John Birks Gillespie is considered one of the most important pioneers of Afro-Cuban jazz. He met Mario Bauzá while playing with the Cab Calloway orchestra. In 1947 he asked Mario for a Cuban percussionist ("one of those tom-tom players")to add to his band. Bauzá introduced him to Chano Pozo, a conguero and vocalist.

Tito Puente
"El Rey" of Latin music, Tito was one of its best known percussionists, composers and bandleaders for fifty years. Tito's popularity lasted and even increased through the changes of the 60's that brought about the salsa movement. His fame continued to rise into the 90's when he played with three bands: the Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Golden Latin Jazz All-Stars, and the Tropijazz All-Stars.

In 1973 Paquito D'Rivera, Chucho Valdés, Arturo Sandoval and other top Cuban jazz musicians broke away from the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna to form Irakere, Cuba's #1 Latin jazz band. Based on traditional Cuban melodies and a strong dose of sacred African music, Irakere also incorporates Classical music as a basis for improvisation.

Audio Clip: Tiger Rag Audio Clip: Manteca Audio Clip: Paris mambo Audio Clip: Babalú Ayé
<more movers and shakers>


Next >> Module 4: Classical Fusion
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