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"If you ain't got it in you, you can't blow it out."
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

JAZZ TODAY: The Endless Well of Latin Jazz

Man, I've recently been listening to more Latin Jazz. It goes all the way back in jazz history, but 2013 was a great year for it.

Jellyroll Morton talked about “the Latin tinge” as an essential element of jazz as far back as the ‘20s—the influence of Afro-Cuban elements was actually part of jazz from the start, with syncopations and rhythmic components from beyond the US critical to an early understanding of swing. Dizzy Gillespie explicitly incorporated Cuban elements into modern jazz when he collaborated with percussionist Chano Pozo in the ‘40s. And Latin Jazz flowered in the ‘60s (and beyond) as it became an essential part of the life of Latinos in New York City—and as the music now known as Salsa grew into a popular form by fusing jazz and Latin forms into propulsive dance music.

This was another great year for Latin Jazz, and a couple of recent experiences have brought that truth home for me. Check out the column here: The Endless Well of Latin Jazz

The Best Jazz of 2013

2013 was another great year for jazz. The music keeps getting more diverse, more all-encompassing, more alive—even though its commercial appeal seems about as limited as it can be.

Who cares? The music is great art.

Here are the best releases of the year as compiled by me and my colleague John Garratt at PopMatters:

The Best Jazz of 2013