Jazz 100
Latin Jazz
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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Afro-Cuban
Kenny Dorham
1955 [Blue Note]


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An all-too-often overlooked album in the Latin Jazz pantheon, this is quite simply a very influential pointer to what was to come. Essentially a hard bop record with some Afro-Cuban trimmings - the credits include Art Blakey, J.J. Johnson, Horace Silver and Hank Mobley… with authenticity courtesy of Carlos 'Patato' Valdes and his congas.





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Dance Mania
Tito Puente
1958 [RCA]


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This early-stereo effort from lovable maestro Puente features some of the most irresistible Latin rhythms ever put to vinyl. The album follows the previous year's Top Percussion, which many claim is the superior item. Either fits the bill nicely, with Dance Mania containing a popular selection of mambo, cha cha cha, salsa and bolero rhythms.





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Jazz Samba
Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd
1962 [Verve]


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For most, Latin jazz had lost its appeal by the early-60s. A tour of South America by guitarist Charlie Byrd, however, brought the bossa nova style to the attention of ultra-cool tenor Stan Getz. The combination of West Coast cool and samba rhythms would prove a winner and Latin jazz was back in business. A pivotal record.





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Getz/Gilberto
Stan Getz & João Gilberto
1963 [Verve]


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Cool tenor Stan Getz added a touch of authenticity to the Latino mix with the inclusion of Brazil's Gilberto-Jobim bossa nova team on this easygoing record. The album went on to become an even bigger hit than the previous year's Jazz Samba. Contains café-staple 'The Girl From Ipanema' and an intentionally off-key version of 'Desafinado'.





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Soul Sauce
Cal Tjader
1964 [Verve]


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Soul Sauce is typical of vibraphonist Tjader's popular blend of Latin jazz and West Coast cool. 'Guachi Guaro' (Soul Sauce) is a Verve compilations staple, while 'Afro Blue' is probably the penultimate example of the "mambo without a migraine" mantra. Guitarist Kenny Burrell and percussionist Willie Bobo are the standouts in support.





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Wave
Antonio Carlos Jobim
1967 [A&M Records]


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After Stan Getz brought laidback Brazilian samba into the mainstream, a wave of records like this one became café staples. Aside from Jobim's melodically rhythmic acoustic guitar, the other main contributor here is arranger Claus Ogerman. The only complaint is the short playing time, but there is a pretty good anthology getting around if this irks.





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Acid
Ray Barretto
1968 [Fania]


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R&B meets Latin jazz in this tongue-in-cheek swipe at flower power, LSD, hippies… and the late-60s in general. Born in New York of Puerto Rican heritage, Barretto cruises through a set of catchy originals that sound so familiar, yet not quite the same. A classic 'gotcha' that should have been found out by the big conga smile on the album cover.





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Stone Flower
Antonio Carlos Jobim
1970 [Epic/CTI]


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With a host of topnotch jazz musicians in support, this is certainly the one Jobim album all aficionados should have. Although bossa nova records had long-since lost their popular appeal, Stone Flower is one of the sub-genre's certifiable classics. A simply beautiful record, expertly produced by Creed Taylor and engineered by Rudy Van Gelder.


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