Inaugurated in 1997 by the late great "King of Latin Music" Tito Puente, the Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival has hosted countless Latin Jazz artists of the highest caliber, advanced our multi-cultural diversity, generated tourism, improved the quality of life in Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley, and entertained thousands for eighteen years! It is considered by many as THE Latin Jazz Festival of Texas and one of the best in the country. Recognizing this achievement, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded the Festival a prestigious and generous grant for the eight year in a row!
This year's Festival is dedicated to the legacy of the late great jazz pianist HORACE SILVER (1928-2014) whose music, like that of many artists we've hosted, was influenced by the Afro-Cuban roots of Latin Jazz. In his particular case, it was the folk music he learned from a Cape Verdean father. He was instrumental in forming the sound of Hard-Bop in the fifties, Soul Jazz in the sixties and contributed to the evolution of Latin Jazz as we know it today. He created the iconic band, The Jazz Messengers with drummer Art Blakey and recorded his first album with Stan Getz.
His obituary in The Daily Telegraph summarised Silver as "one of the most exhilarating and influential forces in jazz over the last 65 years. His infectious Latin and hard-bop inflected tunes provided an alternative to the languorous "cool" epitomised by Miles Davis; yet, like Davis, many of his popular and memorable compositions have become "standards" in the post-war playbook."
Feel free to ask Mitch Frohman of the Bronx Horns, this year's festival headliner, who was Horace Silver. He'll most likely point out that he recorded an album named Silver in the Bronx, covering ten of Silver's songs and treating them with a good bit of Salsa.
Below is a classic video with an epic performance of my favorite Horace Silver composition, "Song for My Father". To further expound on his Afro-Cuban roots, this song has a Brazilian beat with a Cape Verdean melody. Hope you enjoy it.
May you rest in musical paradise, Horace!
Meanwhile, back in Brownsville: We're in for another treat this year. We have a truly fantastic lineup of musicians... local artists, regional performers and world class greats, many of them from New York. It is our great pleasure to share this wonderful music and many of the listening and dancing genres that it includes. Latin Jazz is beautiful, irresistable, grown so far beyond its roots, sophisticated, deeply African, happily Latin but now so American as well. It is the ultimate blend of our cultures, the music they'll remember us by. We are so proud to bring it to Brownsville. Please bring your friends and your family... most of it is free!
MORE INFORMATION SOON... WE'RE STILL WORKING ON IT!
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