Latin Jazz Education

Latin Jazz Lectures and Concert, 2018

The John Santos Quintet, featuring spoken word artist Rico Pabon, presented performances before the full secondary-school student bodies at Healdsburg High School, Healdsburg Junior High and Geyserville High School. The lecture portion by Santos describes the roots of Latin Jazz, highlighting the significant roles played by Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian and Mexican Caribbean music on the development Latin Jazz.

To engage the students and to improve their ability to appreciate the music, Santos will describe various styles of jazz, each of which will be demonstrated live by himself and/or members of his Quintet. The Quintet’s performances of various Latin Jazz music, including highly popular Salsa, will energize the students and create an experience will truly enjoy. The addition of spoken word by Rico Pabon, engages the students and demonstrates to them that spoken word can be part of jazz and Latin music. Santos’ presentation and music will resonate with Latino students, enhancing respect for their cultural roots and its music among themselves and their classmates.

Recognizing that many of the Latin American families in our community are of Mexican descent, Santos will mention in his narrative the significant role of music from Mexico and how it has played a significant role in the development of Latin Jazz.

An important benefit to the community of the youth learning about the roots of Latin Jazz could be summarized by Santos’s statement that,  “The greatest asset of this music is that it is truly a hybrid with influences that connect all of us.“

Santos summarized the respect and the pride which he and his group bring to Latin Jazz when he stated: “Today’s interpreters of Latin Jazz are of all ages and colors. We are honored to consider ourselves part of a musical movement which owes its existence to generations of pioneers and innovators who dedicated their lives to the preservation and development of creative forms of cultural expression. We strive to uphold their legacy.”

The excitement of nationally acclaimed musicians of diverse ethnic backgrounds in the schools, playing music with varied Latin origins and influences, encourages students to appreciate the invaluable influence of multi-ethnic contributions to the jazz art form and to open a broader perception of their place in the world.

John Santos (Performer): Five-time Grammy-nominated percussionist and US Artists Fontanals Fellow, Santos is among the world’s foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music. The San Francisco native is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music. Santos is a prolific performer, composer, teacher, writer, radio programmer and producer whose career has spanned more than 35 years. He has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Max Roach and Eddie Palmieri, among many others.