Mario Bauzá & the creation of Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz.
Born in Havana, Cuba in 1911, Mario Bauzá was a heavily gifted musician from an early age. At the tender age of 9, he was already skilled clarinetist, playing for the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra. By 14 he’d garnered himself a spot under Cuban pianist and bandleader Antonio Mariá Romeu.
In 1930 and at the age of 19, Bauzá traded Havana for New York City and switched his instrumental focus from clarinet to trumpet. For a brief period Bauzá would find his niche in the newly blossoming musical style Big band, working under American jazz bandleader Chick Webb.
Whilst working with Webb, Bauzá went to discover a then unknown Ella Fitzgerald and befriend eventual Jazz titan Dizzy Gillespie. After his stint with Webb, Bauzá worked for another Jazz legend, Cab Calloway. As a member of Calloway’s band Bauzá helped a then unknown Gillespie earn a spot in Calloway’s roster, launching the career of one of jazz’s biggest icons. Gillespie was known for fusing American jazz, which grew out of African American communities in the 1900s, with Afro-Cuban sounds.
Bauzá’s greatest attribution to music, however, was his inadvertent creation of Afro-Cuban or Latin Jazz. Forming his own band called “The Afro-Cubans”, Bauza would fuse traditional Latin Rhythms with jazz harmonies , improvisation, and clave - a rhythmic pattern with roots in Sub-Saharan African music traditions.
"Tanga" the first song officially thought of or considered to be Afro-Cuban jazz, was originally considered a descarga - or simply ‘Cuban music’- with jazz elements. Bauzá's creation eventually grew, becoming very popular and earning Latin jazz a permanent spot in the jazz landscape.
I’ve featured the amazing work of Kehinde Wiley for Contemporary Art Week here previously. PBS has created a documentary about some of his works and creative process, and although it premiered on Sept. 5th, I’m sure you can check your local listings to see if it will be re-aired.
Known for his vibrant, larger-than-life reinterpretations of classical portraits featuring young African American men, New York-based visual artist Kehinde Wiley has turned the practice of portraiture on its head—and in the process, has taken the art world by storm.
Wiley recently embarked on an exciting new project: a series of classical portraits of African-American women—something he’s never done before. The film, KEHINDE WILEY: AN ECONOMY OF GRACE, documents the project as it unfolds, tracking Wiley’s process from concept to canvas, and coming to know the women whom he selects to paint.
"It’s a long story but God had led us right along." Shout out to my brother, Josh Furey, for doing the audio work and finessing the titles. Shout out to my younger physical, Fifth, for coming to Jamaica and holding the camera real nasty/ getting caught up in the most rugged places putting cameras in Rastas faces… This is for my family and no one’s excluded.
Illustris Simulation of the Universe
Video Credit: Illustris Collaboration, NASA, PRACE, XSEDE, MIT, Harvard CfA
How did we get here? Click play, sit back, and watch. A new computer simulation of the evolution of the universe — the largest and most sophisticated yet produced — provides new insight into how galaxies formed and new perspectives into humanity’s place in the universe.
Howard U. Professor, Greg Carr, reacts to “New Black” phenomenon.
Scenes from 1963 March on Washington. The march was documented by James Blue and restored by the US National Archives. The *entire film can be seen on the US National Archives Youtube Channel.
*The audio from 23:13 to 29:44 in this film has been redacted due to a copyright restriction by Dr. King’s family