CofC’s music department hosted the Charleston Latin Jazz Collective on Monday night as part of their “2nd Monday Series,” a music sequence expected to run into next year.
For those unfamiliar with the genre, Latin jazz sounds like looking fifty years ahead into a climate-changed world– one where there is no gulf to divide New Orleans from Cuba. Cool jazz has no choice but to be warmed by spicy, southern influence.
The itch of tarantism makes sense. The son, mambo, rumba, and cumbia all inspired the rhythms of Latin jazz, which evolved in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was then that musicians including Mario Bauza, Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo, and Machito began to fuse jazz with Afro-Cuban music, according to the National Museum of American History.
Essentially, Latin Jazz is a hybrid of hybrids, making colorful Charleston it’s match made in music heaven.
Within minutes of its 7:30 p.m. start, the Collective had the Simon’s Recital Hall audience clapping and nodding to the beat. Johnny Mandel’s 1966 “A Time for Love” cover slowed all the excitement to a lull towards the end of the show. The chart captivated the eyes and ears of the estimated 200 fans in attendance.
Latin-inspired congas, drums and guitar flanked the left of the stage. The jazzier trumpet, piano, baritone saxophone, and flute occupied the right. Vocalists Gino Castillo and Ron Wiltrout, unified the two halves through their vocals.
Faculty members, alumni and professionals living in the area compose the Charleston Latin Jazz Collective. Most of the members originate in-state, but most members have international experience: Cuba, Denmark, Germany, Ecuador and Switzerland to name a few.
The songs performed Monday were high-energy, full-bodied works of pure, hybrid magic. The sounds of two worlds colliding marinade surprisingly well, leaving the listener unsure whether to embrace the speed of the drums or the slow swing of the trumpet. Either way, it’s sure to make you want to dance.
Catch the next “2nd Monday” guest, Charleston Music Fest, February 11.