By Ed Sorrentino
Have you ever found yourself with headphones on, listening to music, and all of a sudden your feet start involuntarily tapping? Most times you’re probably not even aware you’re doing it, but folks around you see your feet moving and wonder what catchy tune you’re listening to that inspired your feet to keep the beat. Often times when we listen to music with a strong beat and multiple percussion instruments, our bodies respond in a percussive way, such as tapping your toes or your fingers. It’s universal. Clearly, Gloria Estaphan’s not the only one who loves to hear percussion!
As a percussionist, I find this listener engagement very exciting. It delights me to see my audience engage in such an organic way. One of the most rhythmic music I enjoy playing is Latin jazz. This music usually features at least two percussionists who play an assortment of Latin percussion instruments, such as congas, bongos, shakers, or claves. Playing Latin jazz is challenging, yet rewarding, and requires knowledge of multiple and specific music styles.
With this type of jazz, the musicians play traditional jazz songs, but add Latin rhythms to them. Familiar artists who are considered masters of Latin jazz include Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Dizzy Gillespie, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz and Elaine Elias to name a few. Some of the rhythms are traditional and some are contemporary, but all add a certain flair to the music. Most Latin rhythms, such as bossa nova, songo, samba, bolero and merengue, are widely recognized as styles of dance. These types of songs put a smile on your face and pull you on your feet to dance.
It’s this type of fun, instrument-rich music that South Shore Conservatory’s Jazz/Rock/Pop (JRP) department presents at An Evening of Latin Jazz on May 11. This concert is part of the 2017/2018 season of SSC’s Jazz/Rock/Pop Series. Audiences will hear SSC faculty members Carlos Sulbarán on bass, Jimmy Craven on keyboard, Emily Browder Melville on vocals, Trevor Kellum on sax, and Jesse Stiglich on drums. We’ve also invited special guest Latin percussionist Anita Quinto of Venezuela to join in the fun. Anita is an amazing percussionist. In fact, when she was attending Berklee College of Music, she was the first recipient of the Tito Puente Percussion Achievement Award.
This diversely talented ensemble will bring a very strong energy to An Evening of Latin Jazz, and will feature an unforgettable night of body moving, toe tapping, innovatively improvised music. Audiences will leave purely energized.
In partnership with the Hingham Historical Society, South Shore Conservatory’s Jazz/Rock/Pop Series presents An Evening of Latin Jazz on Friday, May 11, 6:30 pm, at the Hingham Heritage Museum at Old Derby, 34 Main Street, Hingham. Tickets may be purchased at https://sscmusic.org/jrpseries/.
For more information about SSC programs and performances, visit sscmusic.org or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.
Percussionist Ed Sorrentino is the co-chair of SSC’s Jazz/Rock/Pop Department.