Raul A. Fernandez has written a fine book about the development of Afro-Cuban Rhythms and Latin jazz. His prose sparkles with insights and accurate data. If you are new to this material, you will discover it is a priceless work for reference; if you are wanting something unusual in scope, this book will also attract you as a reader! The scholarship is solid and the book is entertaining to read. The notes are superb.
In addition to the preface, there are eight chapters, afterword, notes, and index. Chapter topics cover such diverse items as the salsa concept, ontology of the son, the aesthetics of sabor, magic mixture, drumming in Cuba, among others. Each chapter is insightful. The son is a form of dance and music, and is also a perfect blend of Spanish and African elements.
There are references in this book to numerous musical figures such as Frank Sinatra, George Shearing, Tito Puente, and Carlos Santana. In addition, there are accurate musical biographies of performers Cachao Lopez, Mongo Santamar?a, Armando Peraza, Patato Valdes, Francisco Aguabella, Candido Camero, Chocolate Armenteros, and Celia Cruz. The importance of Celia Cruz and her insightful songs is detailed and makes for enjoyable reading as it discusses her contributions. The biographical information on Chocolate Armenteros is a pure reading delight, and adds further to other material on important performers.
The author exams how the lives of Cuban musicians have contributed to and helped shape jazz and American popular music. The photographs are an added bonus. There is a photo of Mongo Santamaria in performance, among others; each photo is excellent and compliments the text.
The forms of dance and music are given, and explained. Havana and Ernest Hemingway are mentioned. References to Cal Tjader are given.
Raul A. Fernandez is Professor of Social Sciences at the University of California in Irvine, California. A well-respected author, he has also written Latin Jazz: The Perfect Combination, published in 2002.
This reference book is highly recommended. The material covered is excellent. Enjoyable!