TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Sat Mar 13 13:41:34 PST 2004

In a message dated 3/13/04 7:38:35 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:

> >The afro-latin influence has been around in jazz for a very long time.
> Yes, of course, since the very beginning of jazz. The "Spanish Tinge" 
> reference in the
> first paragraph of the original post reflects that. Those words are 
> associated, by many
> trad jazz fans, with JRM. Specifically, it should suggest to the reader that 
> the "Spanish"
> or Latin influence in Jazz is still progressing from its earliest roots, JRM 
> etc. via
> today's efforts of Lincoln Center. And historical accounts of the beginnings 
> of jazz
> discuss the African connection. I left out all that history in the belief 
> that DJML
> members know about it.
> Cheers,
Steve Barbone

Yes, indeed Steve, the afro -latin influence certainly has been around for a 
long time, about as long as importation of African slaves to South and North 
America and the Caribbean Islands, that is more than likely why they refer to 
the sounds as Afro Cuban and Afro Latin in today's world of Jazz.

I have had the pleasure of working concerts and festivals with several great 
groups from South American regions of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, 
Martinique, Curacao, Chile, and Brazil, and Mexico.

I can definitely hear and feel the African rhythms and their influence in all 
these music forms which defy people of all ages to drop their personal 
inhibitions about being watched and dance like nobody is watching.  It always brings 
a big smile to my face when I see old folks get up and dance like they were 
18 years old again to the music of these groups and teaching their great grand 
kids how to do the steps and shake their money makers.

These folks are not all uptight like so many of us who have no Latin or Afro 
blood coursing through our veins (that we know of), there appears to be an 
inherent urge to dance and move to the music in these cultures and you see folks 
really truly having a good time Dancing in the Streets, even in dire economic 
and repressive social systems.  It is a wonderful form of stress release for 
any age.

I hardly believe that the Cubans and Latinos were influenced by Jelly Roll 
Morton, but they certainly were influenced at least rhythmically by some of his 
distant relatives who melded their African rhythms with the Latinos, Spanish, 
and Cubans, and others thus developing their own unique sounds from each 
region by the melting of cultures and musical taste and feelings to best suit the 
peoples of those regions.

I think that in almost any society and culture you can probably find traces 
of OKOM sounding music if you travel far enough and listen carefully.  
Musicians the world over have been sharing freely and stealing licks and phrases and 
intonations from each other for much longer than any of us have been playing 
music.  Therefore; it is no surprise to hear some familiar sounding music in the 
strangest least expected places on earth especially since the proliferation 
of Jazz around the world.

One only has to listen to a few modern day African groups to hear where this 
music came from, it is not new folks it has just been passed around the world 
and improvised and influenced cross culturally with other styles and sounds to 
produce a much wider variety to choose from.

Yes, it is also true that the Spanish and Latin influences are finding their 
voice in the general marketplace for Music and attracting large numbers of 
fans to the music who have never heard it before.

IN some countries where I have traveled and played I find many young people 
in the audiences who have never even heard Jazz before, or Blues, but they buy 
a ticket and attend the Jazz Festival because it is the COOL thing to do and 
go there to See and Be Seen, with the HIP crowd in their culture.  Most of 
these young folks have no idea who the Hell is even on the stage, nor do they 
care, until the act knocks them dead with great music and gets their attention and 
earns new fans.

However the next time that act comes to their town they will come back and 
bring many friends as they now feel and like the music.  I also see many 
musicians attending these concerts borrowing phrases and ideas and then going off and 
working the stuff into their own culture's music and creating their own Jazz 
world and scene locally.

One of my Singers is currently in Taiwan working with an all Chinese Band for 
a Television show, teaching them Jazz and Blues that they are playing on 
traditional Chinese instruments with an Accordion lead player.  I can't wait to 
hear the results.  She says it is working and the people love them.


Tom Wiggins

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