[Dixielandjazz] A 1939 Latin treat; some questions

Charles Suhor csuhor at zebra.net
Sat Dec 24 02:40:14 EST 2016

Hello, Listmates—

Quite a while back we had a thread on Latin influences on early jazz. I was looking for more convincing examples of Latin influences, having heard little more than the over-emophaizisd tango and habanera lines played by Jelly Roll Morton and a few others. You-all provided some good leads that I followed up on Youtube.

I’ve also been interested in the time when really complex (Afro-) Latin rhythms entered modern jazz. I was around to hear some great stuff from the late 40s when Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton, and others hired Latin players and drummers. Machete’s rhythm section even played ones Baxter’s commercial “Sacre du Savage” LP.  Max Roach, Shelley Manne and others integrated Afro-Latin rhythms wonderfully with jazz. By the mid-fifties it was common to hear brilliant Latin percussion in jazz settings. (Richard Waterman’s early field studies showed that African drumming, the ultimate antecedent of the richest polyrhythms, was likely hundreds of years ahead of the imports and adaptations in the Western Hemisphere.)

To get to my current question, last night I saw a 1939 movie in TCM, "Another Thin Man.” A scene at a Cuban night club in New York showed dancers and a Latin combo playing Lecuona’s “Siboney.” A little digging suggested that the band might have been Lecuona’s Cuban Boys or a spinoff group led by Armando Orifiche.  Just Google   Another Thin Man Cuban Club   and click on the clip that shows up. What knocked me out was the fine, free improvisation of the bongo player. Listen very closely to his rhythms among the din. I could find no comparable rhythmic performance predating the Latin/modern jazz synthesis of a decade later. Can anybody direct me to other early stunning Latin percussion playing? And does anyone know who the bongo player in the movie was? 



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