Ricky Ricardo Ain’t Real – An Afro-Cuban Jazz Primer – Part 1

As we celebrate Afro Cuban Jazz, in Charlotte, later this month. We are looking at some of the genre’s innovators and pioneers, in the first of three blog posts.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. So let’s show love to one of the most vibrant of jazz styles – Afro-Cuban. Some have called it “Latin Jazz”. However, the originators of the style, such as Mario Bauzá, usually bristled at the generic and watered-down sound of that term.

Another thing that caused many Cuban musicians anguish was the fact that Desi Arnaz, the Cuban born actor and conguero was the face and voice of their music, outside of the island, for many years. This was due, of course, to I Love Lucy, the iconic TV show that Arnaz starred in, throughout the 1950’s, with his then-wife Lucille Ball. Arnaz’s character, Ricky Ricardo, was also a Cuban conguero and the version of Cuban music that he played had been heavily watered down, to make it palatable for a mass audience. The general take on Arnaz, from his fellow Cuban musicians was that he was competent on his instrument, but above all, he was a thief and a sellout. Or, in today’s lingo, a cultural appropriator. Arnaz, a white Cuban, from a wealthy family, had taken the Afro-Cuban ritualistic styles that he had observed in his youth; brought them into his music, without attribution and then sanded off the rough edges. In fact, Arnaz/Ricardo’s signature song “Babalú” was based on music that came from an Afro Cuban religious ritual, in worship of the Santerían deity “Babalú Ayé”, a spirit associated with disease and healing; which has its own origins in the West African Yoruba religion. This is about as far away from Lucy, Fred and Ethel as you can get. Ricky Ricardo ain’t real, people. Everything that we will talk of, from this point forward, is.

Cachao

So, let’s pay homage to some of the musicians who are the true masters of the genre. We’ll start with a listing of some who were the real influencers and pioneers of Afro-Cuban jazz styles. I’m holding this list to fifteen names, (divided into three posts) with a great deal of difficulty. Yes, I understand the list will be far from comprehensive and that I will leave out many remarkable contributors. But my main objective is to provide a starting point for those who want to learn more, about Afro-Cuban music. All the musicians and groups here are Cubano, with one obvious exception.

Our first five names, in alphabetical order

  • Mario Bauzá (1911 – 1993)– Considered one of the fathers of the Afro-Cuban Jazz Style, he was a trumpeter, arranger, composer and bandleader.  Bauzá was the first to explore fusing jazz arranging techniques with authentic Afro-Cuban rhythms on a consistent basis. While a trumpet player with Chick Webb, Bauzá first met Dizzy Gillespie and he also recommended Ella Fitzgerald to Webb, helping to give Ella her start. His composition “Tanga” is considered one of the first great tunes of the jazz and Cuban mixture known as “Cubop”
  • Buena Vista Social Club (1996 – present) – Originally a popular black club in the pre-Castro, segregated Havana, the name came to represent an ensemble of veteran Cuban musicians, who had been organized by American guitarist Ry Cooder, to revive interest in the music of pre-revolutionary Cuba, in 1996. The album that the group recorded under that name, became wildly successful, as did an accompanying documentary, reviving the late-in-life careers of the musicians, many of whom had retired or had been forgotten.  Among the groups’ members were Compay Segundo, Rubén González, Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo.
  • Cachao (1918 – 2008) – The nickname of bassist Israel López Valdés, by which he was widely known. He is recognized as the co-creator of the Mambo. He was also considered a master of the Cuban style jam session, known as descargas. Cachao is considered to be one of the greatest bassists of all time, in any genre.
  • Celia Cruz (1925 – 2003)– The most popular Latin vocalist of the 20th century and an unequivocal musical legend. Defecting to the U.S. during the Cuban revolution, Ms. Cruz became an unstoppable force in a genre dominated by men. She earned twenty-three Gold albums during her career; there is a high school in the Bronx named after her and she has been honored with a U.S. Postage Stamp.
  • Dizzy Gillespie (1917 – 1993) – The only non-Cuban on this list, Diz is here as the bridge between Afro-Cuban music and straight-ahead jazz. He met Mario Bauzá, when both were playing trumpet in Chick Webb’s band; the two became lifelong friends. Bauzá introduced Gillespie to a young conguero named Chano Pozo. Diz was floored by Pozo musical ideas and immediately invited Pozo to join his band. Gillespie, Pozo and Bauzá worked on this stylistic fusion that they called “Cubop”, honing it in NY clubs such as the Palladium and the Apollo Theater. “Manteca” and “Tin-Tin Deo”, which Diz co-wrote with Chano, are considered Afro-Cuban jazz classics.

In Part II of this series, we will define the major categories within the Afro-Cuban Jazz style and identify five more innovators, who you should be familiar with.

In or near Charlotte and want to hear some great Afro-Cuban Jazz, live? Then join us in Jazz Arts Charlotte’s THE JAZZ ROOM, on Friday and Saturday, April 26 & 27; as Johnny Conga and Orlando Fiol, will setting the stage on FIRE, with the authentic sounds of Cuba. For tickets and info, visit the Jazz Arts Charlotte Website www.thejazzarts.com.

Hasta la próxima, el jazz continúa …

Portrait of Johnny Hodges, Pt. II (Podcast #19-001)

A look at some of the outside projects done by Johnny Hodges during his second tenure with the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Continue reading


“I don’t suppose there is anybody in the business who can do more with a melody than Johnny Hodges.”

Wild Bill Davis


hodges strayhorn

Johnny Hodges and Billy Strayhorn




The recordings heard on this podcast episode:



 

hodges verve mosaicStraight Back (CD: “The Complete Verve Johnny Hodges Small Group Sessions 1956-61” Mosaic MD6-200)

Recorded 7 April 1959, New York City

Harold “Shorty” Baker – trumpet; Quentin Jackson, John Sanders – trombone; Johnny Hodges, Jimmy Hamilton, Ben Webster – reeds; Jimmy Jones – piano; Les Spann – guitar; Ray Brown – bass; Jo Jones – drums.


oliver nelsonEchoes of Harlem/ Black, Brown and Beautiful (CD: Oliver Nelson “Black, Brown and Beautiful” )

Recorded 17/19 March 1970, New York City

Ernie Royal, Snooky Young, Marvin Stamm, Randy Brecker – trumpets; Al Grey, Garnett Brown, Quentin Jackson, Thomas Mitchell – trombones; Johnny Hodges, Danny Bank, Frank Wess, Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion, Joe Farrell, Bob Ashton – reeds; Hank Jones – piano; Ron Carter – bass; Grady Tate – drums.


hodges buenos airesWanderlust (CD: Johnny Hodges “Buenos Aires Blues” Lone Hill Jazz ‎– LHJ10373)

Recorded 26 May 1963, New York City

Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Lalo Schifrin – piano; Barry Galbraith – guitar; George Duvivier – bass; Dave Baker – drums.


hodges jazz mastersSquatty Roo (CD: “Johnny Hodges, Verve Jazz Masters 35” Verve 314 521 857-2)

Recorded 20 February 1959, New York City

Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Dizzy Gillespie – trumpet; Junior Mance – piano; Les Spann – guitar; Sam Jones – bass; Lex Humphries – drums.


hodges jazz mastersBack Beat (CD: “Johnny Hodges, Verve Jazz Masters 35” Verve 314 521 857-2)

Recorded 17 November 1959, Los Angeles

Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Gerry Mulligan – baritone sax; Claude Williamson – piano; Buddy Clark – bass; Mel Lewis – drums.


welk

In a Sentimental Mood (CD: “Johnny Hodges with Lawrence Welk’s Orchestra” Ranwood Records 8246)

Recorded 21 December 1965, Los Angeles

Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Lawrence Welk orchestra – musicians uncredited.


hodges davis con saxRabbit Out of the Hat (CD: “Con Soul & Sax/Wild Bill is the Boss” Lone Hill Jazz LHJ10283)

Recorded 17 January 1966, New York City

Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Lawrence Brown – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton – clarinet; Wild Bill Davis – organ; Billy Butler – guitar; Bob Bushnell – bass; Joe Marshall – drums.


hodges mess of bluesStolen Sweets (CD: “Mess of Blues” Lone Hill Jazz LHJ10285)

Recorded 3/4 September 1963, New York City

Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Wild Bill Davis – organ; Kenny Burrell – guitar; Osie Johnson – drums.


hodges jazz mastersDon’t Sleep in The Subway (CD: “Johnny Hodges, Verve Jazz Masters 35” Verve 314 521 857-2)

Recorded 17, 18, 21 August 1967, Los Angeles

Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Ernie Royal, Snooky Young – trumpet; Bill Berry – trumpet, vibraphone; Tony Studd – bass trombone; Jerome Richardson, Frank Wess – flute, clarinet, alto sax; Jimmy Hamilton – clarinet, tenor sax; Danny Bank – baritone sax, clarinet; Hank Jones – piano; Everett Barksdale – guitar; Milt Hinton – bass; Grady Tate – drums; Jimmy Jones – arranger, conductor


mercerBroadway Babe (CD: Mercer Ellington “Stepping Into Swing Society” Fresh Sound Records FSR-CD 531)

Recorded 20 July 1958, New York City

Cat Anderson, Harold “Shorty” Baker, Clark Terry – trumpet; Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson, John Sanders – trombone; Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Jimmy Hamilton, Ben Webster, Harry Carney – reeds; Jimmy Jones – piano; Skeeter Best – guitar; Wendell Marshall -bass; Joe Marshall – drums.


hodges the orchestraThe Gal From Joe’s/ Your Love Has Faded (CD: “Johnny Hodges, soloist, Billy Strayhorn and The Orchestra” Verve 314 557 543-2)

Recorded 11/12 December 1961, New York City

Cat Anderson, Harold “Shorty” Baker, Ed Mullens, Bill Berry – trumpets; Lawrence Brown, Quentin Jackson, Chuck Connors – trombones; Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Jimmy Hamilton, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Billy Strayhorn – piano; Jimmy Jones – piano; Aaron Bell – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.


hines once upon a timeOnce Upon a Time (CD: Earl Hines “Once Upon a Time” Impulse! A-9108)

Recorded 10/11 January 1966, New York City

Cat Anderson, Clark Terry, Ray Nance, Bill Berry – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper – trombone; Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope – alto sax; Paul Gonsalves, Harold Ashby – tenor sax; Earl “Fatha” Hines – piano; Aaron Bell -bass; Elvin Jones – drums.

 


— Our closing music —-

0000120517

It’s Something You Ought To Know (Paul Gonsalves – “Ellingtonia Moods and Blues,” RCA Victor / RCA63562)

Recorded 29 February 1960, New York City

Paul Gonsalves- tenor sax; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Ray Nance – cornet; Mitchell “Booty” Wood – trombone; Jimmy Jones – piano; Al Hall – bass; Oliver Jackson – drums.

Sittin’ In (Podcast #18-004)

Over a half century, Ellington crossed paths with many illustrious musicians….
Continue reading

150925170055-05-frank-sinatra-restricted-super-169

Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra


count and duke

Count Basie and Duke Ellington


dizzy and duke

Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie


tommy dorsey and duke

Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey


colemanhawkinsci_05-29-12

Coleman Hawkins and Duke Ellington


duke and trane

John Coltrane and Duke Ellington



The recordings heard on this podcast episode:



mosaic

St. Louis Blues (CD: “The Complete 1932-1940 Brunswick, Columbia and Master Recordings of Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra” Mosiac Records #248)

Recorded 11 February 1932, New York City

Arthur Whetsel, Cootie Williams, Freddie Jenkins – trumpet; Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – banjo; Wellman Braud – bass; Sonny Greer – drums; Bing Crosby – vocal.


bbbcd

Tonight I Shall Sleep (With A Smile On My Face) (CD: “Black, Brown, and Beige” RCA Victor 6641-2-RB)

Recorded 14 May 1945, New York City

Shelton Hemphill,  Rex Stewart, Taft Jordan, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance – trumpet; Tommy Dorsey, Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Claude Jones – trombones; Jimmy Hamilton, Otto Hardwicke, Johnny Hodges, Al Sears, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Bob Haggart – bass; Sonny Greer – drums


centennial

The Minor Goes Muggin’ (CD: “Highlights from the Duke Ellington Centennial Edition (1927-1973)” RCA Victor 09026636722)

Recorded 14 May 1945, New York City

Duke Ellington – piano; Charlie Shavers, George Seaberg, Mickey Mangano, Gerald Goff – trumpet; Tommy Dorsey, Karl DeKarske, Dick Noel, Tex Satterwhite – trombone; Joseph Parkty, Gus Bivona, Sid Cooper, Vido Musso, Babe Fresk, Bruce Branson – reeds; Bob Bain – guitar; Bob Haggart – bass; Buddy Rich – drums; Sy Oliver – arranger.


jazz party

Hello, Little Girl (CD: “Jazz Party” Columbia CK 40712)

Recorded 19 February 1959, New York City

Dizzy Gillespie, Cat Anderson, Harold Baker, Clark Terry, Ray Nance – trumpet; Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson, John Sanders – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, ussell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Jimmy Jones – piano; Jimmy Woode – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums; Jimmy Rushing – vocal.


trane

Angelica (CD: “Duke Ellington & John Coltrane” MCA MCAD-39103)

Recorded 26 September 1962, New York City

John Coltrane – tenor sax; Duke Ellington – piano; Jimmy Garrison – bass; Elvin Jones – drums.


hawkins impules

Ray Charles’ Place (CD: “Duke Ellington meets Coleman Hawkins” Impulse! IMPD-162)

Recorded 18 August 1962, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Ray Nance – trumpet; Lawrence Brown – trombone; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Coleman Hawkins – tenor sax; Harry Carney – baritone sax; Duke Ellington – piano; Aaron Bell – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.


money jungle

Money Jungle (CD: “Money Jungle” Blue Note 7243 5 38227 2 9)

Recorded 17 September 1962, New York City

Duke Ellington – piano; Charles Mingus – bass; Max Roach – drums.


sinatra

I Like The Sunrise (CD: “Francis A. & Edward K.” Reprise Records ‎ 1024-2)

Recorded 12 December 1967, Seattle

Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Herbie Jones, Mercer Ellington – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Jeff Castleman – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums; Frank Sinatra – vocal.


first time cd

Battle Royal (CD: “First Time” Columbia CK 65571)

Willie Cook, Edward Mullens, Cat Anderson, Andres Merenguito, Thad Jones, Sonny Cohn, Snooky Young, Lennie Johnson, Ray Nance – trumpet; Louis Blackburn, Lawrence Brown, Juan Tizol, Henry Coker, Quentin Jackson, Benny Powell – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Marshal Royal, Johnny Hodges, Frank Wess(, Paul Gonsalves, Frank Foster, Budd Johnson, Harry Carney, Charlie Fowlkes – reeds; Duke Ellington, Count Basie – piano; Freddy Green – guitar; Aaron Bell – bass; Sonny Payne, Sam Woodyard – drums.

Soloists: Ellington, Basie, Wess, Hodges, Nance, Carney, Foster, Hamilton, Foster, Ellington & Basie, Brown, Gonsalves, Anderson, Woodyard, Payne.

Ellington & 100 years of Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie (Podcast #17-013)

Celebrating the 100th birth anniversaries of Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie through their connections with Duke Ellington. Continue reading

“I always like the bop, and I am proud to say that the fabulous, flamboyant John Birks Gillespie worked in our band once, for four weeks. Diz played with us at the Capitol Theatre in 1944, when we had the gorgeous Lena Horne on the bill. Of course, I’d known him for quite a while before that, because I was an avid visitor on Fifty-second Street.”

–  Duke Ellington, Music Is My Mistress


 

monk and diz.jpg

Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival. (Photo by Jim Marshall)


diz and duke

Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie




 

DIZZY

Dizzy Gillespie at Disneyland, 1984. Autographed in 1985. (Photo by Steve Bowie.)



The recordings heard on this podcast episode:



happy BD

Happy Birthday To You (CD: “Happy Birthday, Duke! The Birthday Sessions, Volume  3” Laser Light 15 785)

Recorded 30 April !953, Portland, Oregon

Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry, Ray Nance – trumpet; Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson, Juan Tizol – trombone ; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Rick Henderson, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Wendell Marshall – bass; Butch Ballard – drums.


 DG

Caravan (CD: “Dee Gee Days The Savoy Sessions” Savoy ZD70517)

Recorded 25 October 1951 in New York City

Dizzy Gillespie – trumpet; Stuff Smith – violin; Bill Graham – baritone sax; Milt Jackson – piano; Percy Heath – bass; Al Jones – drums; unknown – percussion.


 

jazz party

U.M.M.G./Hello, Little Girl (CD: “Jazz Party” Columbia CK-40712)

Recorded 19 February 1959 in New York City

Cat Anderson, Harold Baker, Clark Terry, Ray Nance – trumpet; Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson, John Sanders – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Jimmy Woode – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums, Jimmy Rushing – vocal.


 

Monk

Caravan (CD: “Thelonious Monk plays Duke Ellington”  Universal
0546796)

Recorded 21 July 1955, Hackensack, New Jersey

Thelonious Monk – piano; Oscar Pettiford -bass; Kenny Clarke – drums.


 

blanton webster

Sentimental Lady (CD: “The Blanton-Webster Band” Bluebird RCA 5659-2-RB35)

Recorded 28 July 1942 in Chicago

Wallace Jones, Rex Stewart, Ray Nance – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Chauncy Haughton, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Ben Webster, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Junior Raglin – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.


 

Thelonious_Monk_-_straight,_no_chaser

I Didn’t Know About You (CD: “Straight, No Chaser” Columbia/Legacy CK 64886)

Recorded 1966 in New York City

Charlie Rouse – tenor sax; Thelonious Monk – piano; Larry Gales – bass; Ben Riley – drums.


 

volume 3

Monk’s Dream (CD: “The Private Collection, Volume 3” Saja 91043-2)

Recorded 13 September 1962 in New York City

Cootie Williams, Bill Berry, Roy Burrowes, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Aaron Bell – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.


 

Monk’s Dream/Frere Monk (LP: Gambit Records Ga 69299)

Recorded 8 July 1962, Newport, Rhode Island

Bill Berry, Roy Burrowes, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Gene Hull, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Thelonious Monk – piano; Aaron Bell – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.


 

0000120517

It’s Something You Ought To Know (Paul Gonsalves – “Ellingtonia Moods and Blues,” RCA Victor / RCA63562)

Recorded 29 February 1960, New York City

Paul Gonsalves- tenor sax; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Ray Nance – cornet; Mitchell “Booty” Wood – trombone; Jimmy Jones – piano; Al Hall – bass; Oliver Jackson – drums.