Cover image for Music from Cuba : Mongo Santamaria, Chocolate Armenteros, and Cuban musicians in the United States
Music from Cuba : Mongo Santamaria, Chocolate Armenteros, and Cuban musicians in the United States
Gerard, Charley.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, CT : Praeger, 2001.
Physical Description:
xi, 155 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML394 .M86 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Studies of Latin American music often overlook its Cuban roots and the political policies that brought the musicians to the United States. This work rectifies that omission by examining the Afro-Cuban influence upon Latin American music and its various idioms. A brief history of Afro-Cuban musicians in the United States provides the background and context for the study. Influential pre-revolutionary Afro-Cuban immigrant musicians, such as Mongo SantamarIa, Jesus Caunedo, Charanga and Pup Legarreta, Juan Carlos Formell, and Alfredo Chocolate Armenteros, discuss both their music and their attitudes toward the political policies that led them to flee Cuba. Speaking from firsthand experience, founding figures of Latin music in the United States present unique insights into the Afro-Cuban experience within the Latin musical community.

Adding to the musicians' stories, Gerard provides a history of relations between Cubans, African Americans, and Puerto Ricans in the Latin music community. He also discusses the impact of the mass emigration in the 1980s that brought many more Cubans to the States. This multicultural approach to Latin American music will appeal to music and Latin American history scholars and to jazz and Latin music enthusiasts. An appendix includes album listings for the musicians interviewed.

Author Notes

CHARLEY GERARD is a saxophonist and composer. He is the author of Jazz in Black and White (Greenwood, 1998).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A useful addition to a growing list of books devoted to Latin music emanating from Cuba and Puerto Rico, Gerard's study focuses entirely on Cuban musicians living and working in the US. It parallels Ruth Glasser's work on Puerto Rican musicians, My Music Is My Flag (CH, Sep'95), and notes such significant works as Robin Moore's Nationalizing Blackness: Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana, 1920-1940 (CH, Jul'98) and Steven Loza's Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music (CH, Jan'00). Besides presenting a wealth of detail about individual musicians and songs, Gerard corrects misunderstandings regarding what is genuinely Cuban in Latin music, claiming that musicians of Puerto Rican descent muted the Cuban identity of music now called "Latin" or "salsa." Gerard discusses many musicians but concentrates on Mongo Santamaria and Chocolate Armenteros. Gerard's approach is semi-scholarly but primarily journalistic, with a focus on individuals rather than issues. In addition to discussing many individual tracks, he quotes at length from interviews. Including numbing detail about artists, albums, songs, and venues, helpful end matter, but no photographs and few musical examples, the book will be a great resource for enthusiasts but probably more than casual readers will want to know. More graphics and a CD of examples would have been useful. T. E. Miller Kent State University

Table of Contents

George Rivera and Charley GerardRichard Davies
Introductionp. ix
1 Stateside Cuban Musicp. 1
2 Afro-Cuban Musicians in the United Statesp. 11
3 The Cuban Revolutionp. 17
4 Mongo Santamaria in Cubap. 23
5 Santo and Santamaria in the United Statesp. 37
6 Santamaria Away from the Sourcep. 49
7 Jesus Caunedop. 61
8 Charanga and Pupi Legarretap. 65
9 The Trombone Man: A Cuban Jazz Musician in the United Statesp. 85
10 Juan-Carlos Formellp. 93
11 Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenterosp. 101
Appendix Album Titlesp. 127
Notesp. 133
Glossaryp. 145
Selected Bibliographyp. 149
Indexp. 151
About the Author and Contributorsp. 157