September 28, 2021- Today's Topic: Cubop
Cubop is the marriage of Afro-Cuban rhythms with bebop harmony and improvisation.
It emerged during the bop era when Dizzy Gillespie added Chano Pozo to his big band in 1947.
We featured a number of Cubop recordings last week on days that spotlighted Machito, Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo.
But there were a number of other bop era musicians who began experimenting with the style.
Charlie Parker recorded with Machito at two recording sessions as well as some live performances.
The sessions produced several titles for Norman Granz including No Noise, Mango Mangue and Chico O’ Farrill’s masterpiece The Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite.
They were released under Machito’s name plus a Charlie Parker album titled "Charlie Parker South of the Border."
In 1948 Howard McGhee worked with Machito and performed and recorded the tune Cubop City.
A number of notable congueros came to the US at that time as well including Mongo Santamaría, Armando Peraza, Francisco Aguabella, Carlos Vidal and Modesto Durán.
September 27, 2021- Today's Topic: Stan Kenton and Pete Rugolo
Besides Dizzy Gillespie, the other American band to explore Afro-Cuban music was the Orchestra of Stan Kenton.
Kenton and his chief arranger Pete Rugolo heard the Noro Morales band at the Embassy Club in New York in early 1947. It was in a back room and the band was screaming and the people
were dancing and they were blown away by what they heard. One of the dancers told them if you think this is good you should hear Machito and His Afro Cubans. Later, they took the dancers advice and went and heard Machito at a club in Spanish Harlem. That experience had a major impact on both Kenton and Rugolo. Rugolo was so inspired that he immediately wrote an original and titled it “Machito”. They brought in authentic Latin percussionists for the recording and to this day it is one of Rugolo’s masterpieces.
Kenton disbanded his “Artistry in Rhythm” Orchestra not long after Machito was recorded but reformed a new band that premiered later that year. This time he called it “Progressive Jazz”
Kenton and Rugolo wanted to continue to explore the latin idiom and hired Jack Costanzo to play latin percussion. They also hired Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida. Rugolo wrote several Latin pieces for the Progressive Jazz Orchestra including Cuban Carnival, Bongo Riff and the four part Prologue Suite which included the titles Intro to a Latin Rhythm, Chorale for Brass Piano and Bongo, Abstraction and Journey to Brazil. They also put together an arrangement of The Peanut Vendor that became a staple in the band’s book up to the very end.
Kenton continued to incorporate latin pieces into the bands repertoire for the rest of his career, more so than any other American band.
September 24, 2021- Today's Topic: Chano Pozo
Chano Pozo was born in Havana in 1915 and grew up in the El Africa Solar neighborhood which was poverty stricken and extremely dangerous. He began playing the drums early on and was a participant in the Afro-Cuban religious ceremonies that took place in the neighborhood. The streets were so dangerous that he had to learn to survive even if that meant getting involved in criminal activity. He did some time in a reformatory and spent his free time dancing and playing the drums.
He also began doing choreography and writing music. He was big and muscular and often was hired as a bouncer in the various nightclubs. Before long his dancing and percussion skills
made him famous throughout Havana. Chano's reputation grew among the people each year, not only because of his physical prowess as a dancer, drummer, but for the compositions he wrote for Carnival, during the nightly celebrations of which neighborhoods formed highly competitive comparsas, or street troupes. They consisted of singers, dancers, musicians, and the rumberos. Rumberos were integral since they provided throbbing, sensuous rhythms regarded as the base for all AfroCuban music. In a few years Pozo was the most well-known and sought after rumbero in Cuba, and was regularly winning top cash prizes for his compositions.
Chano elevated the status and reputation of rumbero to near mythic proportions with his swaggering attitude as he led his own comparsa through the streets and with increasing successes became a hero to Havana's poor people. Pozo and some of his fellow musicians wrote a conga music composition that earned them first prize in the city of Santiago de Cuba's carnival of 1940: "La Comparsa de los Dandys," a composition that some consider an unofficial theme song of Santiago de Cuba, and a familiar standard at many Latin American carnivals.
In 1947 he came to New York and was immediately embraced by a who’s who of the music and dancing community including associations with Miguelito Valdez and Katherine Dunham.
Not long after his arrival, Mario Bauza introduced him to Dizzy Gillespie and their collaboration led to the birth of Afro-Cuban Jazz.
As Dizzy fondly recounted, Chano had the power to mesmerize the audience as he stripped to the waist performing long conga solos and singing sacred Afro-Cuban chants.
It all came to a tragic end in December of 1948 when Chano was shot to death at the El Rio Bar which was at 111th and Lenox Ave. in Harlem.
Even though he was only on the scene a short time his impact was immense and still felt today.
September 23, 2021- Today's Topic: Dizzy Gillespie
The real birth of Afro-Cuban Jazz happened in 1947 when Dizzy Gillespie brought Chano Pozo into his big band. Dizzy had become fascinated with Cuban rhythms when he worked with Mario Bauza in Cab Calloway’s band in the late thirties.
By 1947, modern jazz was well-established and Dizzy was it’s most prominent figure. At the time he was leading his own big band and decided to incorporate Cuban rhythm into the
orchestra. Bauza introduced him to Chano Pozo who had recently arrived in New York from his native Cuba. Chano had become famous in his birthplace of Havana as a dancer and master percussionist and was the most sought after Rumbero.
The addition of Chano Pozo’s conga drum to Dizzy’s rhythm section created the birth of Afro-Cuban Jazz and what would become known as Cu-Bop. He debuted at Dizzy’s high profile Carnegie Hall concert on September 29, 1947 and was featured on George Russell’s Cubana Be-Cubana Bop. He also collaborated with Dizzy on several of the early Cubop pieces including Tin Tin Deo and Manteca.
Their collaboration was short-lived though as Pozo was shot and killed in a bar in Harlem in December of 1948.
In the meantime Cu-Bop was established and others started to experiment with the style. Dizzy continued his fascination with Cuban music which he explored throughout his entire
During his final years he recorded four albums as a leader which cemented his legacy as one of the true giants of latin jazz.
September 22, 2021- Today's Topic: Mario Bauza
Along with Machito, Mario Bauza was one of the founding fathers of latin jazz. He was featured prominently yesterday during our feature on Machito but today we focus specifically
on Mario Bauza. He was born in Havana in 1911 and was a child prodigy on the clarinet and bass clarinet. So much so that he was featured with the Havana Symphony at the age of 11.
He first came to the United States in 1926 and stayed in Harlem where he was exposed to American jazz for the first time. It had a major effect on him and he vowed to become a jazz
musician in the future. When he returned to Havana he mastered the alto saxophone with the idea of one day returning to New York.
His opportunity came in an unexpected way. Don Azpiazu’s Havana Casino Orchestra had taken New York by storm with their hit tune The Peanut Vendor. Azpiazu needed a trumpet
player for a recording session but they had all returned to Cuba. Bauza bought a trumpet and taught himself to play it in two weeks and made the session. He stayed in New York and joined Chick Webb as lead trumpet and Music Director in 1933.
During this time he was instrumental in discovering Ella Fitzgerald and bringing her into the band. In 1938 he joined the trumpet section of Cab Calloway’s band which later included a young
Dizzy Gillespie. Dizzy’s exposure to Cuban music through his friendship with Bauza would eventually lead to the creation of Afro-Cuban Jazz.
After Cab Calloway, Bauza teamed up with Machito and the Afro-Cubans and became the band’s musical director. His composition Tanga was recorded in 1942 and is one of the earliest
examples of latin jazz. His use of in-clave and the development of the 3-2 2-3 approach was groundbreaking and highly influential.
He stayed with Machito until 1976 then fell into relative obscurity. He had never really gotten the recognition he deserved but that all changed in 1979 when there were several celebrations
that recognized his contributions. It kicked off a career revival that lasted the rest of his life.
During his final years he recorded four albums as a leader which cemented his legacy as one of the true giants of latin jazz.
September 21, 2021- Today's Topic: Machito
Machito was one of the significant founding fathers of Latin Jazz and one of the most influential. He was born Francisco Raul Gutierrez Grillo in 1909 and raised in Havana Cuba.
He came to New York in 1937 and began recording with a variety of bands most notably the orchestra of Xavier Cugat. In 1940 he formed his own group Machito and the Afro-Cubans. His music director was Mario Bauza and together they were one of the first to combine cuban rhythms in a big band setting.
In 1942 the Afro-Cubans recorded the Mario Bauza composition Tanga which is considered the first latin jazz song based in-clave. The early success of Machito and the Afro-Cubans inspired a number of American bandleaders including Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Kenton who would both begin incorporating Afro-Cuban rhythms into their music.For over twenty years, starting in the mid-forties, Machito and the Afro-Cubans played every summer at the Concord Hotel in the Catskills.
When they weren’t in the Catskills they were one of the featured attractions at New York’s Palladium Ballroom. In addition to being so influential to other musicians, Machito and the band were responsible for many latin jazz “firsts.” The first important Descarga, which means Cuban Jam Session, happened at a Machito rehearsal in 1943. They were the first to establish the bongos, congas and timbales as the standard percussion unit for Afro-Cuban music.
Machito’s arrangers including Mario Bauza and Chico O’ Farrill established many arranging techniques that would be copied by others including Bauza’s 3-2 2-3 clave concept.
Many of the legendary latin percussionists worked with Machito including Luis Miranda, Chano Pozo, Carlos Vidal, Ubaldo Nieto, Jose Mangual, Armando Pereza, Chino Pozo, Candido,
Patato Valdes and Machito’s son Mario Grillo.
Machito passed away in 1984 but Mario, known as Machito Jr, continues to carry his father’s legacy forward.
In 1985, New York mayor Ed Koch named the intersection of East 111th Street and Third Avenue "Machito Square."
September 20, 2021- Today's Topic: Jelly Roll Morton and the Birth of Latin Jazz in New Orleans
The influence of Afro-Latin rhythms to jazz has been there right from the very beginning in the birthplace of jazz itself, New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans was a melting pot of many different cultures including French, Spanish, Creole, African, European and the Caribbeans. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, musical traditions from those cultures mixed which resulted in the emergence of a variety of new sounds with an emphasis on new and complex rhythms.
The African heritage of both Caribbean and American music became more pronounced and influenced the music that would evolve into jazz. Jelly Roll Morton, early pioneer and self proclaimed inventor of jazz, explained how he was influenced by the Spanish culture that was such a prominent aspect of the New Orleans of his youth. He referred to it as “the Spanish tinge.”
KSDS celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month by shining a light on those artists that made an impact on Jazz. Join us every weekday to hear special audio vignettes that focuses on Hispanic and Latinx’s notable legends, events and venues. Click on our Blog to read the daily vignettes. That’s every weekday, Monday Through Friday, only on KSDS, Jazz88.3.
The San Diego Symphony presents Pat Metheny in concert. The twenty-time Grammy Award winner is back with an all new world Tour: Pat Metheny: Side-Eye, on stage at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, Thursday, September 30th. Hear Pat Metheny with James Francies and Joe Dyson live. For tickets and info go to www.theshell.org.
This whole weekend, Bird Takes Flight! KSDS is celebrating the birthday of the one and only, Charlie “Bird” Parker. We honor this musical pioneer chronologically by playing his music, offering one-of-a-kind commentary, and airing an exclusive one-on-one discussion with Alto Legend, Charles McPherson (repeat will air Tonight approximately 'Round Midnight). Please take advantage of the wonderful ‘thank you’ gift that any Charlie Parker fan would want (4-CD boxset). Donate Now ($125 and above) and receive a Charlie Parker box set and help KSDS stay financially afloat.
Pat Launer's Center Stage
Support Jazz 88.3
while you shop at
Listen to Jazz 88.3 with our FREE