Latin Grooves

In the early 20th century, Latin rhythms met with American jazz to create an entirely new groove.

Our feature this April on the development of Latin jazz brings to light the value of collaborations between musicians from different worlds, and the free exchange of artistic ideas. A few key composers and bandleaders were responsible for the spread of Latin jazz, including Machito, Xavier Cugat, and Dizzy Gillespie, as well as Antonio Carlos Jobim and João and Astrud Gilberto.

Cugat is one of the first bandleaders credited for bringing Cuban rhythms to America. The video below provides an example of the use of the Cuban rumba in his music. The song begins with a clave:

After the emergence of Latin jazz in the 1930s and ’40s came bossa nova, the cool, smooth style from Brazil. “The Girl from Ipanema,” performed by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz, became one of the most popular songs in the genre.