We all know that the music styles that emerged in the last two centuries in the “New Worlds”, America: North and South, were heavily influenced by African music and culture.

In this environment where African, European and American indigenous populations were forced to coexist, a universe of extremely interesting new musical genres emerged with wonderfully widespread diversity.

As in the North of the continent the Africans were denied to use their big variety of drums, the music that developed in the southern part of the continent was considerably richer in it’s rhythmic creativity.

So in the North we have the Ragtime music as an early form of African/European blend, leading to all the Jazz styles like Swing, Bebop, Hardbop, Cool Jazz, Free Jazz and Fusion Jazz and to popular styles like Rhythm and Blues, Rock´n´Roll, Gospel, Funk, HipHop and Rap.

But in the Southern part, (Latin America) we have more dominantly the influence of African Rhythms as well as Spanish and Portuguese music, leading to the existence of Choro, Bossa Nova, Samba, Frevo, Lambada and all other substyles that make up the universe of MPB, Musica Popular Brasileira and in the Spanish speaking countries to Salsa, Bolero, Son, Mambo, Merengue, Tango, Charanga, just to name a few as there are 23 countries involved.


1. Trio da Paz – 30


Trio da Paz is a Brazilian jazz group formed in 1986 that consists of Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass and Duduka da Fonseca on drums.

All the three of them are highly professional virtuosos on their instruments and their concerts are like fireworks of inspiration and musicality.

Since 1992 they have recorded 7 albums in this formation and also others accompanying artists like the late Herbie Mann on flute, George Garzone on saxophone, Kenny Barron on piano and Joe Locke on vibraphone. All of these 3 musicians are highly active and play also in other formations and settings. The album “30” is the mort recent one from the year 2016.

2. Sergio Mendes – Timeless


This remake of the very well known evergreen “Mas Que Nada” can be found on Sergio Mendes’ album “Timeless”, released in 2006 incorporating rap sounds to Brazilian music.

Sergio Mendes is a superior icon in Brazilian music since many decades, as he was born in 1941. This musician has the format of Quincy Jones for the music of his home country and also internationally, as he brought out more than 55 albums that extended the boundaries of his own musical heritage incorporating jazz, funk, rap and other influences.

Sergio himself is an extremely versatile piano player, equally at home in the music of Brazil as well as many other styles including the complicated idiom of bebop jazz.

His extraordinary creativity also makes him a wonderful arranger and composer and his wife Gracinha Leporace is his featured singer since the 70s.

His famous release, “Timeless” features besides The Black Eyed Peas: Erykah Badu, Black Thought, Jill Scott, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, India, Arie, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Q-Tip, Stevie Wonder and Pharoahe Monch.

3. Peter Fessler – Quality Time


Peter Fessler, born in 1959, is a German singer but his main roots are in US-American Jazz and in MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira).

As a singer his main idol is Al Jearreau, but he is also a prolific guitar player with deep roots in the Brazilian tradition from players like Luiz Bonfa and Romero Lubambo.

His third and fourth qualities are being also a great composer and improvisor, improvising sometimes simultaneously on scat (a vocal improvisation language in jazz) and guitar, by combining very rhythmic vocal phrases with the same rhythm in the chords he plays to accompany himself. An extremely exciting effect.

Since 1991 he released 18 albums on his own with international artists and also on one album with a BigBand. He was awarded with the ECHO-Jazz prize in 2014 for his album “Quality Time” as best national jazz singer.

4. Nestor Torres – Nouveau Latino


Néstor Torres is a jazz flautist born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in 1957. He took flute lessons at age 12 and began formal studies at the Escuela Libre de Música, eventually attending Puerto Rico’s Inter-American University.

At 18, he moved to New York with his family. Torres went on to study both jazz and classical music. He personifies the Latin American flute player in a highly sophisticated version as his sound and technique are absolutely flawless and in his albums he wonderfully combines smooth jazz with the sounds and styles of his heritage.

He has since 1981 released 15 albums on his own and also played as a sideman in various settings on his friends’ albums. Most remarkable of these collaborations is his participation in the „Master Sessions“ recording by the famous Cuban bass player Israel López Valdes, better known as “Cachao”.

5. Cachao – The Master Sessions, Vol 1 & 2


Cuban legend Israel López Valdes (September 14, 1918 – March 22, 2008), better known as „Cachao“ was a Cuban double bassist and composer. He is considered one of the most influential charanga bassists of all-time, the co-creator of the mambo and a master of the descarga (improvised Cuban jam sessions). He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and won several Grammy Awards from the 1990s. He is ranked number 24 on Bass Player magazine’s list of “The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time“.

His albums „The Master Sessions“ Vol 1 and 2 are packed with highly authentic cuban music played by the very best of cuban musicians out there.

6. Irakere – Misa Negra


Irakere is a Cuban band founded by pianist Chucho Valdés (son of Bebo Valdés) in 1973. They won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Recording in 1980 with their album „Irakere”. Irakere was a seminal musical laboratory, where historic innovations in both Afro-Cuban jazz and Cuban popular dance music were created.

The group used a wide array of percussion instruments like batá, abakuá and arará drums, chequerés, erikundis, maracas, claves, cencerros, bongó, tumbadoras (congas), and güiro. Famous artists like saxophonist Paquito d´Rivera and the trumpet player Arturo Sandoval emerged from Irakere.

The album “Misa Negra” describes a black mass in highly virtuosic arranging and extremely powerful playing, that shows that this band is made up of Cuban’s highest calibre musicians.

Photo credits: Google images




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