What Have We Done So Far
Latin Music Plugs In (downbeat column)
In a Latin music industry stuck somewhere between nostalgia, crossover dreams, and Spanish language versions of Anglo pop formulas, Latin electronica, in its many guises, has come to many as a welcome (and often oh-so-smooth) shock. Yet those who caught the loungey neo-bossa of Bebel Gilberto and the late Suba, the startling fusions of the Nortec Collective or the chill-out grooves of Jose Padilla might have glimpsed only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
About Jazz and Flamenco (downbeat column)
Madrid. In the short history of the flamenco-jazz fusion, jazz musicians have seemed more interested in flamenco than their counterparts in jazz. A flurry of new releases suggests this might be changing.
"In principle jazz and flamenco have nothing to do with each other," says Jose Manuel Gamboa, a critic, and author of Guia Libre del Flamenco (Free Guide to Flamenco, SGAE, 2001) and himself a working flamenco musician. "They are created in different but similar environments, and the musical contacts are circumstantial. Both share an improvisational aspect and flamenco and some jazz are both modal musics."
Small Latin (Label) Masterpieces (downbeat column)
The Latin music industry in the United States being what it is, some of the best Latin music on record in this country in the late 1970s was released by a small label run by a non-Latino, non-musician who started it as little more than a promotional operation, out of his house, for his brand of percussion instruments.
But the recordings -- featuring artists such as Tito Puente, Carlos “Patato” Valdes, Jose Mangual, Jorge Dalto, Luis “Perico” Ortiz and Alfredo de la Fe -- were a critical success and a financial failure.