What is Latin Blues?

    The whole world has the blues! Sharing similar structure and minor tonalities with its American sibling, it has a decidedly more percussive nature and because of its preference to swing rather than shuffle, is marked by its sultrier, more elegant nature. It is also known for it's distinctive afrocentric grooves peppered with latin flavors. *This owes as much to the diaspora of slavery as for its birth when American GI's cross polinated Jazz/blues most notably yet not exclusively with Cuba, Brazil, and Spain. Note the striking visual and audio similarity New Orlean's has during Mardi Gras with Cuba, Brazil, and even Spain during their festivities. Even the food is spicier.
  People often forget that Chuck Berry known to some as the grandfather of rock showcased the 2/3 clave time of the cha cha. And during the 60's in its boisterous height in N.Y. the amalgamation of  Latin, R&B and Rock & Roll was known as The Watusi, The Boogaloo and the Shing-a-ling  but, it also made a huge splash in jazz circles in Bossa Nova and as Wrecking Crew member Carol Kaye said, Samba, to a lesser extent. L.A. studio giants The Wrecking Crew exploited their knowledgeable of this burgeoning new idiom to great extent.
 Notables include Santana, The Animals, Peter Green, Cal Tjader, Poncho Sanchez, Ronnie Earl and Grant Green. A more modern exponent who leans heavily on this idiom is latin pop superstar Juanes. In a similar fashion, I choose soul as a common denominator to make my music more approachable. 
  A great introduction is Mongo Santamaria's Watermelon Man. Suggestion: better listened to at night with your significant other, a glass of cognac and a roaring fire. Enjoy!  

*For further reference read:
"Cuba Be Cuba Bop"
"White Man's blues"

1 comment