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.

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

ROY HARGROVE Roy Hargrove's Crisol : Habana Album Cover Roy Hargrove's Crisol : Habana
ROY HARGROVE
4.83 | 3 ratings
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ASTOR PIAZZOLLA Tango: Zero Hour / Nuevo Tango: Hora Zero Album Cover Tango: Zero Hour / Nuevo Tango: Hora Zero
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA
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 Geraes Album Cover Geraes
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.40 | 5 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Minas Album Cover Minas
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.33 | 6 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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CAL TJADER Cuban Fantasy Album Cover Cuban Fantasy
CAL TJADER
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Amazonas Album Cover Amazonas
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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JORGE PARDO 10 De Paco (with Chano Domínguez) Album Cover 10 De Paco (with Chano Domínguez)
JORGE PARDO
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 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

AMARO FREITAS Rasif (aka Amaro Freitas)

Album · 2018 · Latin Jazz
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Rexorcist
It's nice to see that the music community still has an appreciation for jazz, otherwise I wouldn't have found out about Brazilian jazz musician Amaro Freitas. Although his first album is barely more than a standard bop bit, his second album shows a lot of improvement in the spirit and composition departments.

Most of these songs are pretty active and fairly spiritual, but no matter how many emotions the album's tracks each take, there's never a break in the flow of the album. This is largely due to the leadership of Freitas on piano. However, the slower tracks do drag on a litt,e which means he clearly has the edge in energy. Although a couple of these songs feel incomplete, as if they're building up to something which is never realized for lack of a second half, most of these songs get their jobs done.

This is the album where Freitas is really developing his style. It's got moods, atmospheres and surprises. its songs don't reach stellar heights, but they're fun enough to check out.

AMARO FREITAS Sangue Negro

Album · 2016 · Latin Jazz
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Rexorcist
I've been checking out a lot of artists who are quite new to me so I can keep up with the best new albums of 2024, and I've been using the RYM charts to help me with that. People seem to really like the new Amaro Freitas, so since he only has four albums out, I'm gonna get through all of them today.

Now my first impressions when I saw that this album had elements of various Brazilian genres, I thought to myself, "Cool. This oughta be fun." Um, not really. It's a decnt jazz album it its own right, but the Brazilian aspects of this album are faint to the point of being almost completely drowned out by the standard post-bop behavior. This album sounds like a standard jazz album you'd get from 1959. Sure, there are some quirky compositions here, but there's not a lot of personality. Hopefully the other albums are better.

GAEA SCHELL In Your Own Sweet Way

Album · 2023 · Latin Jazz
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js
Gaea Schell is a pianist, flautist and occasional vocalist who has performed with Nancy King, Richie Cole, Marcus Shelby, Albert “Tootie” Heath and many others as she globe trots from the US to Italy, Cuba and Mexico. Her latest album, “In Your Own Sweet Way”, features Gaea working with a small group that includes Jordan Samuels on guitar, John Witala on bass, Greg Wyser-Pratte on drums, Carlos Caro on percussion and Marco Diaz guesting on trumpet and percussion on one track. Schell counts Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Eliane Elias as pianistic influences, and the expected post bop language is there, but Gaea has some unique phrasing up her sleeve as some of her melodic improv statements tend to stretch beyond the standard form to create some ear grabbing quirky surprises. Schell does play both flute and piano on here, but she does not double track herself, she is either playing one instrument or the other.

About two thirds of “Sweet Way” falls into the Latin jazz category, including album opener, “Cava dell’Isola”, which sports a montuno that sounds a lot like WAR’s classic, “Spill the Wine”. Gaea’s approach to Cuban style piano is not real strict as she often floats above the precise rhythms. On “El Picacho”, guest pianist Marco Diaz plays the montuno in the more exact Cuban traditions, and Schell responds with the declamatory flute style common in Afro-Cuban jazz. Elsewhere on this album there are several relaxed Latin ballads and soft Bossa style numbers. All of the Latin tracks are Schell originals.

We also get a couple of swingin post bop tracks, including “Sweet and Lovely” and “Perplexity” , and Gaea gives us two vocal numbers as well. Schell has a ‘cool’ vocal delivery as she sings original lyrics that she wrote for her boyfriend on the album’s title track. All of these tracks are good, but there is one hidden gem that might slip by you, that is her almost neo-classical composition, “Danza Nocturna de Flores”, this one really shows Schell’s writing skills and makes it apparent that maybe she should try some work in this direction.

DEBBIE SPRING Tocamos

Album · 2023 · Latin Jazz
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js
Thirty three long years separate Debbie Spring’s first album as a leader and her second one, the recently released “Tocamos”. So what has she been up to over the past couple decades? Well, apparently very busy with several pop and country artists, performing classical music with two orchestras, backing up the Miami Sound Machine and touring with Shakira. Debbie plays the viola, an unusual choice for a jazz musician, but it’s the fact that she is one of the few first call viola players that leads to so much work for her. The viola’s range is usually lower than the violin, but Debbie added a fifth string to her axe so she can get up into violin range. Debbie has a sort of old school ‘gypsy jazz’ sound with a lot of sliding into pitches common with players like Stephane Grappelli and the young Jean Luc Ponty before he went more techno. Debbie cites Jean Luc as a major influence and it shows.

“Tocamos” is a Spanish word that means ”we play”, and that is a theme for this album, people coming together and ignoring their cultural differences so they can play music together. There are many Latin styles present here, plus a little fusion and swing as well. Checking out some various tracks, “Summer” is a relaxed swing groove and it is the track on which Debbie channels the sound of the young Jean Luc. “Bossa Minha” is a bossa nova of course, and features guest guitarist Phil Fest. Title track “Tocamos”, mixes a Brazilian opening section with a piano driven Cuban montuno in the middle section. “Tango Y Mas” is a tango (of course … again) and features Howard Levy on harmonica replacing the expected tango accordion. Possibly the most interesting track though is “Senegal”, a percussion driven jam in 5/4 time that draws from Senegal’s musical culture.

DIANE SCHUUR Diane Schuur Featuring Caribbean Jazz Project : Schuur Fire

Album · 2005 · Latin Jazz
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Matti P
The American singer and pianist DIANE SCHUUR (b. 1953) *sure* sounds as uplifting and charming as she looks. Blind from the birth, she took her first steps as a musician at the age of three, and when she was ten she debuted on stage at the local Holday Inn. I'm not familiar with her earliest albums from 1985 onwards; Schuur Fire was the other of the two newer albums I borrowed from library years ago, and I was immediately charmed by her. Here she's accompanied by The Caribbean Jazz Project led by vibes player Dave Samuels. A perfect match!

'Lover, Come Back to Me' (composed by Oscar Hammerstein II) shows straight away the merry and dance-inviting Latin groove at its best, and Diane demonstrates her flexible vocal skills that IMHO are fully comparable to the great Ella Fitzgerald. James Taylor's 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight' turns into a jazz ballad with natural ease. Diane Schuur is known for her habit of picking songs from pop music. Don Gibson's country ballad 'I Can't Stop Loving You' was given a charming samba treatment, and the Latin dance version of Stevie Wonder's 'As' works brilliantly.

The song I was originally most gladly surprised by, comes -- of all bands -- from Duran Duran. My relationship with that band is more or less limited to digging Rio (1982) at my early teens -- and why not still --, but 'Ordinary World' happens to be my fave of the few further DD songs I remember. I may actually prefer the original for the mood, but Schuur's jazzy uptempo version has its own charm.

This well produced album is very easy to enjoy if you're at all into vocal jazz and Latin jazz. If you're looking for music to make you happy and carefree, try this.

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Artists with Latin Jazz release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
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Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
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Blue Train Hard Bop
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My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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