Latin Jazz

Jazz music community with review and forums

The Latin Jazz genre at JMA is a catch all genre for jazz bands that use Latin rhythms, but do not fit our Bossa Nova or Afro Cuban genres. Many of the bands listed here mix rhythms from Brazil, Cuba, Central America and Africa in ways that are not always easy to categorize or define.

latin jazz top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

ASTOR PIAZZOLLA Tango: Zero Hour / Nuevo Tango: Hora Zero Album Cover Tango: Zero Hour / Nuevo Tango: Hora Zero
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA
5.00 | 3 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Geraes Album Cover Geraes
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.75 | 4 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Minas Album Cover Minas
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.62 | 4 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Milton Nascimento & Som Imaginario ‎: Milagre Dos Peixes (Gravado Ao Vivo) Album Cover Milton Nascimento & Som Imaginario ‎: Milagre Dos Peixes (Gravado Ao Vivo)
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.75 | 2 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Courage Album Cover Courage
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.75 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Cal Tjader-Stan Getz Sextet Album Cover Cal Tjader-Stan Getz Sextet
CAL TJADER
4.50 | 2 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Miltons Album Cover Miltons
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Amazonas Album Cover Amazonas
CAL TJADER
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER La Onda Va Bien Album Cover La Onda Va Bien
CAL TJADER
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Cuban Fantasy Album Cover Cuban Fantasy
CAL TJADER
4.50 | 2 ratings
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GATO BARBIERI Chapter Four: Alive in New York Album Cover Chapter Four: Alive in New York
GATO BARBIERI
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Cal Tjader's Latin Concert Album Cover Cal Tjader's Latin Concert
CAL TJADER
4.45 | 2 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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latin jazz Music Reviews

RICARDO PEIXOTO Scary Beautiful

Album · 2019 · Latin Jazz
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js
I don’t know if it is just coincidence, but lately I have received several new CDs that mix Brazilian jazz with contemporary classical composition. If this is a ‘new thing’, its really working well as borne out in the latest album I was sent along these lines, Ricardo Peixoto’s “Scary Beautiful”. Ricardo is an acoustic guitarist who has worked with some top names including, Flora Purim, Bud Shank, Dom Um Romao, Arturo Sandoval and many more. “Scary Beautiful” is his third album and it finds him presenting ten original compositions, each with its own unique sound and flavor. No two tracks on here feature the same backing musicians as Ricardo moves from large ensembles to intimate duets and everything in between. The many guests on here include some well known artists such as Paul McCandless, John Santos and Marcos Silva.

Album opener “Circles” recalls early Oregon, so its no surprise to find that group’s McCandless on soprano sax. “Morro de Paixao” is a lively samba that will remind many of the celebratory nature of much Brazilian music. This track also features a horn section whose rhythmic accents recall a salsa band or even the Earth Wind and Fire horns. Title track, “Scary Beautiful” shows Ricardo’s compositional side with interlocking minimalist rhythms that build momentum throughout the piece. “Pixinguina” features a chamber woodwind ensemble and more contemporary composition. The relatively short “Nereids” is one of the more striking tracks with its floating wordless vocals from Claudia Villela that create a movie soundtrack like atmosphere. Although each of the cuts on "Scary Beautiful" feature a different sound, the whole album flows together nicely like a Brazilian contemporary tone poem.

TAIGUARA Canções De Amor E Liberdade

Album · 1983 · Latin Jazz
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GKAZZ
There is a reason why I have a great admiration for Taiguara. The past albums are great, and he is a superb musician, but its in his last two works that his political voice gain more sound and reverberation.

"Canções de Amor e Liberdade" (Songs of Love and Freedom), is the kind of album that shows an ageing musician dealing with themes new and old, in a new way. He gave attention both to more traditional tecniques as to a great bit of improvisation and experimentation. The whole album is filled with a communist reading of brazilian and latinamerican reality, as Taiguara were, by 1983, already in touch with Karl Marx and Lenin works, besides becoming a comrade of the communist leader Luiz Carlos Prestes.

The interesting is that his music is not "affected" by his politics: its accesible yet bold; popular yet scholar. As great music should be.

TAIGUARA Imyra, Tayra, Ipy - Taiguara

Album · 1976 · Latin Jazz
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GKAZZ
Contextualization is necessary: ​​in the late sixties, Taiguara was seen as one of the biggest names in Brazilian popular music. He have won festivals, their albums sold well, their songs were reproduced constantly in the radios. Over time, Taiguara was fond of singing more freely, allowing himself to make small comments about the military dictatorship and the dreams of a new society - all in metaphors and innuendos. In 1971, in the album "Carne e Osso", there was a song dedicated to Cuba. The Brazilian censorship never left Taiguara rest for then on. In the following years, more than 60 songs would be prohibited, censored, or prevented from being reproduced in radio and concerts. His shows were constantly attacked by police forces. Taiguara decided to go on exile. In England, he records an album with Michel Legrand and the London Symphonic Orchestra. The album is banned from being released in England by the Brazilian government - today the original tapes have not yet been found. In 1975 he was allowed to return to Brazil and record a new album.

How? How to express his indigenous roots, his displeasure with censorship and dictatorship and his dream for another society without censorship attacking him? "Imyra, Tayra Ipy" is born.

With Wagner Tiso, Hermeto Pascoal and more than 80 musicians, "Imyra, Tayra Ipy" becomes a lavish album, absurdly complex, with thematic and concept from start to finish. The arrival in Brazil, his feeling of belonging to a land whose birds do not sing anymore; its indigenous, African and Spanish roots sung, while more than 3 musicians solo at the same time. "Imyra, Tayra Ipy" is a landmark of both the artist and Brazilian music. Albums like this were not usually recorded in Brazil: by technical and financial condition to gather all the attributes. "Imyra, Tayra Ipy" grandeur comes, often in the album, in its ability to completely subvert brazilian songs and themes in something completly different. One of the best example is his reading of "Aquarela do Brasil" in the track "Aquarela de um país na lua".

The result? Three days later, the Brazilian police collected the album form the shelves of the stores and destroyed the copies. Taiguara went into exile in Europe and Africa and would record again only almost ten years later.

But no matter, the song has come to us, we have the opportunity to see an artist who used the music to take revenge on a system, whith strings, drums and highly dreamy lyrics.

The Taiguara of the following decades would be extremely bold and would definitely drop the metaphors to reach his political ideas in a direct form.

ROGER DAVIDSON Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer For Tomorrow)

Live album · 2017 · Latin Jazz
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kev rowland
Frenchman Roger Davidson (piano) and his trio of Eduardo Belos (bass) and Adriano Santos (drums), have been joined on this release by Hendrik Meurkens who provides two quite different musical embellishments by providing harmonica and vibraphone. Recorded live at the Zinc Bar in NYC last year, this collection of twelve new songs shows Roger combining his love of both jazz and Brazilian music, in a way that is both fresh and interesting. When someone has been so involved in these cultures for as many years as Roger, it perhaps isn’t surprising that the joining together of the two is seamless and faultless. He has a deft touch on the piano, and given that he has studied both orchestral and choral conducting it is also of no great shock that the arrangements are perfect for the occasion.

This is music that is living and breathing, each musician providing the others with the room they need to provide support to the main theme or to solo and improvise, whatever is right for the moment. It is laid back and reflective, music to get lost inside of, but even though the tempo may be often languid and the notes and chords meandering gently through the sun-kissed meadow, it is always something to be immersed in and never something that is boring. Beautiful and delicate, a joy from start to finish with South American inflections and tones that set this style of jazz apart.

SOCRATES GARCIA Back Home

Album · 2016 · Latin Jazz
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js
Socrates Garcia is the Director of Music Technology at the University of Northern Colorado, and a long time participant in the music industry as a composer, arranger, keyboardist and guitarist. Despite a lengthy and successful career, Garcia has released only a couple of albums; a fusion album in 2005 called “Suenos”, and this year’s Latin big band extravaganza, “Back Home”. For someone who does not put out many records, Garcia certainly decided to aim high on “Back Home”. Ambitious to say the least, this CD seeks to incorporate rhythms from Garcia’s native Dominican Republic into massive big band charts that include a multi-movement three part suite. Big bands that utilize Afro-Cuban rhythms are somewhat common, but big bands working with Dominican forms are far less common. The Cuban influence can be felt here, especially in the montuno style figures in the piano and horn charts, but the base rhythms are mostly based on Dominican styles, such as the steady thump of the merengue, and the more syncopated bachata.

It’s a stellar band that Garcia has assembled here, with many of the musicians, particularly the percussionists, hailing from the Dominican Republic. Garcia’s complex arrangements tend to dominate the proceedings, but there is still room for some hot solos. One of the best solos appears on the opening track on which pianist Manuel Tejada unleashes a jaggedy Eddie Palmieri influenced assault on the ivories. Unfortunately this is Tejada’s only lengthy solo, it would have been nice to hear more from him. Other hot spots include Brad Goode’s screaming trumpet on “Bachata for Two”, Goode is definitely comfortable in the upper registers, and Wil Swindler’s high speed turn on the soprano sax on the album closer. Another album highlight happens on “Homage to Tavito”, on which classic bebop horn arrangements dance on top of a driving merengue beat, a fusion that really clicks.

Much of this album represents Garcia’s attempts to recollect musical fragments based on childhood memories of Dominican culture. “Back Home” presents a long journey and a lifetime labor of love for Garcia, and the amount of work he put into the arrangements reflects that respect and devotion. The icing on the cake is the sound and production, this album sparkles like a big shiny new automobile, everything is crystal clear and larger than life.

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