This magnet-like urban genre was born in New York City within the end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties following to the inevitable meeting and fusion among some Afro-American rhythmical elements drew from R&B (rhythm and blues) and soul and other components arrived from the latin musical sphere as son montuno and mambo. This musical phenomenon was created by the new American generations living in some towns of the “Big Apple”: Afro-Americans, Puerto Ricans by now became “newyoricans” as well as some Cuban and Dominican young musicians who used a lot of instruments including piano, trumpets, trombones,

bass guitar, double bass, saxophone and also conga, bongó, guiro, timbales; they introduced english language (newyorkese slang included) in the tunes’ coral structure. In this scenery, during those years in which this genre known as “boogaloo” or “latin boogaloo”, “bugalú”, “latin R&B”, “shing-a-ling” was reigning in all the American music charts, a lot of emergent musicians delighted the scene with an interesting series of compositions as “I Like It Like That” (Pete Rodriguez-1966), “Micaela”(Pete Rodriguez-1967), “Boogaloo Blues”(Johnny Colón-1967), “Use It Before You Loose It”(Bobby Valentin-1968). In the meantime some popular artists of the Latin-Newyorkese panorama joined in with many tunes linked to this rhythm as the exhilarating “Bang Bang”(Joe Cuba Sextet-1966), “Panama's Boogaloo”(Charlie Palmieri-1968), “Hit the Bongo”(Tito Puente-1970). These masterpieces interpreted in boogaloo’s key gave this popular genre a high value in the quality of the sound and so placing the bases for the naissance of that “socio-musical” phenomenon that all the world would have known with the denomination of “Salsa”.

Latin Boogaloo

This fascinating genre originated in the forties through the mutual contribution of different and popular representatives of latin american music and various celebrities belonging to jazz panorama of that period; they launched the introduction of afro-cuban musical fragments inside jazz sequences and/or the execution of afro-cuban pieces using instruments merely linked to jazz world and some percussive instruments arising from afro-cuban culture as bongo and conga. In this historical circumstance, a variety of musical masterpieces were created showing the concept and the essence of “latin jazz”: among them there are “Cubano Be Cubano Bop”(1947) as well as “Manteca”(1947) performed by the mythical Dizzy Gillespie, George Russell, Chano Pozo, Machito and others. In the end, “Tanga”(1951) composed by the extraordinary Mario Bauza and skillfully executed by Machito & His Afro Cubans’ orchestra.

Latin Jazz

This musical genre marked out by a great sense of rhythm arose in the eastern side of Cuba about the end of the nineteenth century as derived from Cuban Son. The historical “Son Montuno” born in Santiago, spread in Havana and Matanzas around 1909 where its original rhythm was subjected to great changes due to the first contacts with rumba. This historical rhythm represents the perfect mix between the pleasing and mystical European and African melodies: from this strong union pours out a new language typical of Cuba whose success consists in the special intensity of the execution, in the perfect demonstration of talent and harmony as well as in those capacities of improvisation that artists of this musical genre succeed in their performances. In this perspective the Cuban musician Arsenio Rodriguez defined, introduced and developed a musical style in which his special combination showed a perfect “montuno" (dialogue between soloist and choral voices), a superb use of the conga and the bell together with a precious accentuation of “Tres” (a guitar with three strings ) and of trumpets. At a later stage the strengthened rhythmic formulation of “Son Montuno” was enriched by the contributions of the famous director Benny Moré who spiced this genre with new and fascinating elements derived from bolero, guaracha and mambo. Nowadays it is possible to assist at an infinity of fusions and uses of “Son” as well as “Son Montuno” nearby and inside the different musical sequences of jazz, hip-hop and Latin-pop: among these, we can include the excellent compositions of bands as Orishas (537 C.U.B.A) and Yerba Buena (Guajira I love U 2 Much).


This harmonious and nostalgic genre has its roots in the rhythmical sequences of bolero, bolero son, son cubano, cha cha cha and merengue very popular in the thirties, the forties and the fifties in caribbean area of hispanic central america: starting form the sixties, some Dominican unforgettable musicians as José Manuel Calderón, Inocencio Cruz and Rafael Encarnación drawing inspiration from these sounds, created and elaborated a new musical expression typically Dominican. In this progression, Bachata (term originally used in Cuba and thereafter in Porto Rico to define a joyous situation in Spanish language) was born around 1962 with the compositions “Borracho de Amor”(inebriated by love) and “Condena”(condemnation), sublimely interpreted by José Manuel Calderon, who is considered the father of this genre: it took on “bongó” execution from Son Cubano, substituted Bolero’s “maracas” with the “güira”(a dominican percussion instrument) but inserting in Bolero those typical rhythmical alternations of guitars as played by trios of that period. In fact, at the beginning “Bachata” was called “Bolerito de guitarra”(small guitar’s bolero). The melancholic and sad character of the Bachata’s melodies of that period led to the definition of the genre as “musica del amargue” (bitterness’ music) and relegated to the poorest classes of Dominican Republic. This condition was later modified through the inspiration of some great composers of that period as Luis Segura with “Pena Por Ti”(1982) as well as the support and the exclusive diffusion by the station “Radio Guarachita”. In this scenario, over the years an extraordinary composers and high level musicians as Mélida Rodríguez, Leonardo Paniagua, Victor Victor, Luis Dias joined in and above all that, the world famous Juan Luis Guerra who around 1990 led this genre behind Dominican Republic thanks to the success of his album “Bachata Rosa”. Nowadays “Bachata” married a series of variations in its beats and in its vocal contents; these have provided the genre with a major relation and association with other styles as Tango, Blues as well as Jazz.




The unforgettable “Pachanga” receives officially the denomination of musical genre around 1959, the year in which the cuban musician Eduardo Davidson together with the “Orquesta Sublime” created the tune “La Pachanga” as a fusion between “son montuno” and “merengue” achieving an instant success in the Havana’s ballrooms. In the later years the success of this new genre crossed the cuban borders and extended all over the caribbean area reaching soon the United States. “Pachanga” ’s diffusion was accompanied by the debut of a great selection of cuban and foreign bands: they inserted inside this musical variety some innovative rhythmical sections. Among these legendary groups and orchestras famous in latin-american panorama with the denomination of “Charangas” there were José Fajardo Y Sus Estrellas with his pieces “Alegre Pachanga”(1963) and “Vamonos Pal Uno”(1975), the evergreen Ray Barretto and his Charanga Moderna of which we can remember the fantastic execution “Jazz Pachanga”(1961) in which the traditional pachanga’s sonorities merge some rhythms of afro-american jazz and the piece “Mas Pachanga”(1963) in which the genre is represented in its original structure.

Other noteworthy sonorous combinations appeared between 1960 and 1962 in long playing “Pachanga Con Cha Cha Cha” and “Randy Carlos Et Son Orchestre” of Randy Carlos in which it is perceivable the rhythmical alternation between the “Cha Cha Cha” and the “Pachanga” genre in the piece “Cha Cha Cha Con Pachanga” and/or “Cha Cha Con Pachanga”.

This popular musical genre was officially born in the sixties in N.Y. City(USA) as a result of the fusion among some afro cuban rhythms as son montuno, rumba, guaracha, guajira, guaguancó, mambo, cha cha cha and pachanga and other different musical elements belonging to North America as twist, jazz, blues, soul, bee bop and boogaloo. Salsa as musical genre is characterized by the use of the “clave de son”, the classic key 3/2 as well as a long series of percussion instruments of afro cuban origins as bongó, conga, timbale, cencerro, güiro and maracas whose sonorities are wisely linked with some instruments of european origins as double bass, piano and/or grand piano, trombones, trumpets, saxophone, flute and violin. This rhythmical mixture is perceivable in some legendary pieces as “Descarga Fania” and “Ponte Duro” performed in person by Fania All Stars nel 1971 at the Cheetah Club of New York.

This fascinating but melancholic genre saw the light in the spanish region of Andalusia around the end of the XVIII century, where the original rhythm of Guajira Flamenca became popular. In the later years the rhythmical bases of the Guajira Flamenca reached the caribbean area in central America inspiring especially the oriental part of Cuba, so around the end of the XIX century these sounds were mixed with those existing in the Cuban land. The result of this fusion was named “Guajira”. In the course of time, the cuban “Guajira” received a lot of variations in its melodic harmonic and rhythmical structure even if its poetical and tenth structured songs kept intact, being based on “vida campesina” that is peasants’ life stories as well as love stories. Thereafter the inevitable evolution of the musical genres existing in Cuba in those years, generated the fusion between this rhythm and “Son” and from this mix “Guajira-Son” saw the light. Other historical contributions in favor of “Guajira” arrived in the thirties thanks to the immortal guitarist and composer Guillermo Portabales, the creator of the famous “Guajira De Salón”: this combination of elements belonging to “Bolero”, “Son” and “Guaracha” gave “Guajira” genre in its entirety a most pleasing and elegant perception. The encounter of these musical distinctive traits with other social and rhythmical but more modern realities offered a long group of musicians different musical ideas to be mixed with the immortal “Guajira”: among them there are: the pianist Luis Varona with the tune “Ven Pa’ La Loma”(1957), Ray Barretto with “Rareza En Guajira”(1966) as well as Johnny Ventura Y Su Combo with “Guajira Con Soul”(1968).

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[Bolero - Maurice Ravel (1928)]