S. Duncan Reid

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[Cross-posted from New Books in JazzS. Duncan Reid has written a meticulously researched and detailed account of the performances and recording career of Bay Area-born and small group Latin-jazz innovator and vibraphonist Cal Tjader. Tjader’s high-energy yet lyrical and melodic playing introduced new demographics of jazz listeners to the soulful sound of Latin jazz for four decades beginning in the 1940s and ending with Tjader’s untimely death at the age of 56 in 1982.

In Cal Tjader: The Life and Recordings of the Man Who Revolutionized Latin Jazz (McFarland, 2013), Reid details Tjader’s uncanny ability to soak up ever-evolving stylistic and percussive nuances – and discusses his collaborations with and influences on other Latin jazz innovators such as Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, Poncho Sanchez, Vince Guaraldi, Michael Wolff and many, many more.

Reid recounts how Mario Bauza, Machito, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, and Stan Kenton, among others, had influenced the Latin jazz scene in the 1940s with their exciting big band/orchestral sound – and that the majority of influential jazz critics were “west of the Mississippi.”

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