This book explores the complexity of Cuban dance music and the webs that connect it, musically and historically, to other Caribbean music, to salsa, and to Latin Jazz. Establishing a scholarly foundation for the study of this music, Raul A. Fernandez introduces a set of terms, definitions, and empirical information that allow for a broader, more informed discussion. He presents fascinating musical biographies of prominent performers Cachao López, Mongo Santamaría, Armando Peraza, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Cándido Camero, Chocolate Armenteros, and Celia Cruz. Based on interviews that the author conducted over a nine-year period, these profiles provide in-depth assessments of the musicians’ substantial contributions to both Afro-Cuban music and Latin Jazz. In addition, Fernandez examines the links between Cuban music and other Caribbean musics; analyzes the musical and poetic foundations of the Cuban son form; addresses the salsa phenomenon; and develops the aesthetic construct of sabor, central to Cuban music.
Copub: Center for Black Music Research
PART I. Popular Music: Worksong of the Caribbean
1. The Salsa Concept
2. Ontology of the Son
3. The Aesthetics of Sabor
PART II. On the Road to Latin Jazz
4. Magic Mixture
5. Drumming in Cuban
6. Lords of the Tambor
7. Chocolate Dreams
8. The Taste of ¡Azúcar!
Raul A. Fernandez is Professor of Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He is the coauthor off One Hundred Years of Chicano History: Empire, Nations and Migration (2003), and author of Latin Jazz: The Perfect Combination (2002), and The U.S.-Mexico Border: A Politico-Economic Profile (1977).
“If any scholar ever takes the challenge to come up with a better description of Cuba’s mainstream musical creativity, he should hold Raul Fernandez’s book in one hand and lift the other hand to heaven, praying for a third of the inspiration shown by Fernandez. This short, extremely pleasant, and easy-to-read book will enrich your bookshelf in much the same way as Cuban music does the world.”—Journal Of Folklore Research
"From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz
is an illuminating and remarkable study. This book is written with unparalleled authority and expertise, a true gem of a work."—Danilo Lozano, Flutist, Record producer, Whittier College Professor
"As curator of the Smithsonian exhibit 'Latin Jazz: La Combinación Perfecta (Perfect Combination)' and author of its accompanying book, Dr. Raul Fernandez has helped fill a void recognizing the Latino contribution to the American musical idiom of jazz. Now he further expands on that theme by exploring the lives of unsung Cuban musicians who helped shaped not only jazz but also American popular music. Dr. Fernandez is a treasure of musical scholarship that affirms that the Latino involvement in shaping and playing the popular music of the United States is more than just a footnote."—Jesse "Chuy" Varela, Contributing writer, San Francisco Chronicle, Jazz Times, and Latin Beat Magazine