Sabin-Havana Jazz fest. Photo  Ira Sabin. Courtesy Ira Sabin / JazzTimes magazine.

 

Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.

In the words of New Orleans jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton, jazz was born with a “Spanish tinge.” In the 19th century, musical traditions from the Caribbean and the United States migrated and mixed, resulting in the emergence of complex new sounds. Percussionists assumed a dramatic new importance, novel instruments found their way into the jazz lexicon, and the African heritage of both Caribbean and American music became more pronounced.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Mario Bauzá, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Chano Pozo, and other musicians began to fuse jazz with Afro-Cuban music. The result was “a hybrid of hybrids,” according to Raúl Fernández, curator of Latin Jazz: La combinación perfecta and professor of social sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

In New York, the Palladium and Birdland showcased Puerto Rican, Cuban, Panamanian, and Dominican musicians. New Orleans and Los Angeles jazz audiences and musicians also welcomed these new Caribbean influences.

Meanwhile, the sounds of American jazz spread throughout the Caribbean. Latin Jazz celebrates this moveable mélange of musical styles and sounds. The bilingual (English/Spanish) exhibition explores the history, cultural context, musicians, places, instruments, and dance aesthetic behind the development of this musical genre. It features instruments (some owned by jazz greats), documents, reproductions of photographs, musical scores, programs, album covers, and other artifacts. Maps, audiovisual stations, vintage film footage, and oral history interviews enhance the exhibition's impact.

An 18-member advisory committee, drawn from the international jazz and Latin music community, contributed to the development of Latin Jazz. The exhibition, its accompanying educational materials, and website (www.jazzsmithsonian.org) are complemented by a book by Raúl Fernández (Chronicle Books, 2002) and a music CD (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2002).

Latin Jazz has been organized by SITES and America's Jazz Heritage, A Partnership of the Wallace Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.

Additional support has been provided by BET Jazz.

 

Contents 12 freestanding units, 20 wall-hung panels and text banners, instruments in 10 freestanding object cases, 2 audio units, video documentary, instructional video, video projector and screen, small percussion instruments for use in a hands-on activity room.
Supplemental

Companion book, educational website, music CD

Participation Fee

$18,000 for a 12-week booking period, plus prorated shipping

Square Feet 2,500-3,000 sq. feet (225-280 sq. meters)
Crates 37
Weight

6,700 kg (14,800 lb.)

Category History & Culture
Security High
Shipping

Prorated, SITES-designated carrier

SITES Contacts Michelle Torres-Carmona, 202.633.3143 (Schedule)
Deborah Macanic, 202.633.3101 (Content)
Tour Through August 2006

 

Dates   Host Institution Status
10/19/02 1/18/03 Arts & Industries Building, Washington, DC Booked
4/5/03 6/29/03 Flushing Town Hall, Flushing, NY Booked
7/19/03 10/12/03 James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA Booked
11/1/03 1/25/04 Longmont Museum, Longmont, CO Booked
2/14/04 5/31/04 Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, MI Booked
8/28/04 3/13/05 Chicago Historical Society, Chicago, IL Booked
4/2/05 6/26/05 Exploris, Raleigh, NC Booked
7/16/05 10/9/05 California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA Booked
2/11/06 5/7/06 Durham Western Heritage Museum, Omaha, NE Booked

Publications

Latin Jazz: The Perfect Combination/la combinacion perfecta by Raúl Fernández Foreword by Andy Gonzalez, Afterword by Al McKibbon, Preface by Robert Farris Thompson, Chroncile Books, 2002, soft back, $22.95

Author Raúl Fernández defines Latin jazz as the perfect combination of Latin rhythms and hot jazz phrasing. A companion to the SITES exhibition of the same title, Latin Jazz traces the music’s roots and routes, from the Caribbean to New Orleans and the clubs of New York City to its booming international popularity today. More than 100 rare photos from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s show musicians and audiences, along with dozens of album covers and posters. Stories told by greats, such as Mario Bauzá and Cal Tjader, and text in both English and Spanish make this book a fitting tribute to this exciting musical fusion.

Order this book



Press Releases and Features

10.9.02

Groundbreaking Exhibition on Latin Jazz Premieres at the Smithsonian

In the words of New Orleans jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton, jazz was born with a "Spanish tinge." A new bilingual traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian, “Latin Jazz: La Combinación Perfecta,” will premiere at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building on Thursday, Oct. 17, and remain on view until Jan. 19, 2003. After it leaves Washington, “Latin Jazz” begins a four-year, 11-city tour across the United States.
“Latin Jazz: La Combinación Perfecta” tells the story of the evolution of Latin jazz in the United States. The exhibition offers a concise look at Latin jazz, its history, major personalities and icons. The exhibition features maps, audio-visual stations, vintage film footage, oral history interviews, documents, photographs, musical scores, programs and album covers. Several instruments (some owned by jazz greats) – tres, claves, maracas, congas, bongos, güiros, tamboras, panderetas, horns, timbales, and a five-key flute – will enhance the exhibition's impact on visitors.

"Listen to it, and you can't help but move to the music. Read about it, and it opens doors to our diverse past. Latin jazz is American and world music. We're delighted to bring this long overdue exhibition to the public," said Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small.

In the late 19th century, musical traditions from the Caribbean and the United States migrated and mixed, resulting in the emergence of complex new sounds. By the late 1940s and early 1950s, musicians including Mario Bauza, Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo and Machito began to fuse jazz with Afro-Cuban music. The result was what “Latin Jazz” curator Raúl Fernández calls “a hybrid of hybrids.” Percussionists assumed a dramatic new importance, new instruments found their way into the jazz lexicon, and the African heritage of both Caribbean and American music became more pronounced.

In New York, social clubs, concert halls and dance venues brought together American, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Caribbean musicians. In other major U.S. cities jazz audiences and musicians also welcomed these new influences. On the West Coast many local musicians, along with East Coast musicians who had migrated west, adopted the new blend of music as their own. In San Francisco, the Beats wove the vocabulary and rhythms of Afro-Cubop into their own work. Meanwhile, the sounds of American jazz spread throughout the Caribbean.

An 18-member advisory committee, led by Fernández, professor of social sciences at the University of California, Irvine, and drawn from the international jazz and Latin music community, has been an important part of the planning process of this project. Members include music scholars and historians, musicians, record executives, producers and radio broadcasters.

“Latin jazz is one of the most complex and exciting musics of the planet,” said Fernández. “It combines Afro-Cuban and Caribbean rhythms with the harmonic approaches and styles of jazz. It’s the perfect combination.”

The exhibition is part of a four-component project, which also features accompanying educational materials, a book published by Chronicle Books, and a CD produced by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings containing some of the most essential Latin jazz recordings. On Oct. 17, the exhibition’s Web site will be launched. Visit www.smithsonianlatinjazz.org for more information.

“Latin Jazz: La Combinación Perfecta” was organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and America’s Jazz Heritage, a Partnership of the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and the Smithsonian Institution. Additional support has been provided by BET Jazz.

America's Jazz Heritage was established in 1992 by a major grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and culminates with the opening of “Latin Jazz: La Combinación Perfecta” in October. America’s Jazz Heritage provides pan-institutional support for endeavors focused on jazz through the National Museum of American History, Behring Center; The Smithsonian Associates; SITES; and several other divisions of the Smithsonian.

Each year, SITES shares the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside of Washington, D.C. One of the Smithsonian's four National Programs, SITES makes available a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown not only in museums but wherever people live, work and play, including libraries, science centers, historical societies, community centers, botanical gardens, schools and shopping malls. In 2002, SITES celebrates 50 years of connecting Americans to their shared cultural heritage.

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