Exploring Dominican Music & Jazz: Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Orchestra

by chipboaz on January 17, 2017

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If there’s one thing that could be classified as a missed opportunity in Latin jazz, it would certainly have to be the inclusion of Dominican music. Dance traditions from the Dominican Republic are extremely popular, so it makes sense that jazz musicians would explore the rhythmic possibilities. Afro Cuban music has certainly dominated Latin jazz, but traditions from other parts of the Caribbean and South America have found their way into a jazz context. We’ve got plenty of Latin jazz rooted in Brazilian music, Puerto Rican music, Peruvian music, and more; yet music from the Dominican Republic has been severely underrepresented. There are exceptions – most notably El Comandante by Mario Rivera – but these shining lights of Dominican influence in jazz are greatly outnumbered. This seems to be a field that needs to be explored, in greater depth – the potential Latin Jazz based upon Dominican music could be very exciting.

Fortunately there’s one artist that realizes the golden opportunity sitting at the crossroads of Dominican music and jazz, Socrates Garcia. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Socrates Garcia performed extensively throughout the Caribbean and South America as both a keyboardist and guitarist. He concurrently worked as a recording engineer, earning credits behind the board on a long list of albums. His 2016 release Back Home is an exciting blend of jazz harmony and improvisation sitting alongside merengue, bachata, and more. The big band context serves this music well, with thick orchestration emphasizing the harmony while reinforcing the rhythmic momentum of the music. This is smart and exciting music that shows us the power of Dominican music combined with jazz. Enjoy today’s video of the Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Ensemble performing live, demonstrating the potential in this combination.

Do you have a Latin Jazz video to share? E-mail a link to latinjazzcorner@gmail.com

Check out recent Latin Jazz videos:
Charlie Sepulveda, Perico Ortiz, And Eddie Feijoo Trading Trumpet Solos On The Brick Wall
The Essence Of The Song: Rosa Passos performing Jobim’s Você Vai Ver
Ralph Irizarry And Timbalaye Performing Piestos
Danilo Pérez Trio Plays Providencia
Music From Robby Ameen And The Days In The Night Band

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