The Musical Dimension

April 22, 2007 - 4:00 pm

Chris Washburne, Musician; Columbia University

Chico Alvarez Peraza, Writer, Producer and Host of the Radio Show, Musician, Vocalist and Bandleader; New World Gallery

Mauricio Font, Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies

Latin music has long had an influence on the United States. In the words of New Orleans jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton, jazz was born with a “Spanish tinge.” Since the early 19th century, musical traditions from the Caribbean and the United States migrated and mixed, resulting in the emergence of complex new sounds. This seminar will explore the early roots of Latin music in the United States as well as music’s evolution as the relationships between Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States continue to change. Panelists will pay attention to Latin jazz. Latin jazz is one of the most exciting combinations in musical history. It was born of a fusion of Afro-Cuban music with jazz. Since the 1940s, it has integrated diverse musical styles from Latin America, to reach today a truly Pan-American projection. Panelists will discuss the trajectory and dimensions of Latin jazz, paying attention to the central role of New York in its evolution.

Noted professor and musician Chris Washburne has performed with a great many of the big names in the Latin music scene in New York and the United States: Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, Mark Anthony, Gloria Stefan, Ruben Blades, Chico O’Farrill, Candido, Bobby Sanabria, and many others. He earned a Bachelors of Music in classical trombone performance at the University of Wisconsin, a Masters degree at the New England Conservatory, and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. In 1993 he received a Mellon Fellowship to travel to and explore the rich musical traditions of Cuba. His dissertation, “New York Salsa” will soon appear as a book.