September 20, 2021- Today's Topic: Jelly Roll Morton and the Birth of Latin Jazz in New Orleans
The influence of Afro-Latin rhythms to jazz has been there right from the very beginning in the birthplace of jazz itself, New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans was a melting pot of many different cultures including French, Spanish, Creole, African, European and the Caribbeans. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, musical traditions from those cultures mixed which resulted in the emergence of a variety of new sounds with an emphasis on new and complex rhythms.
The African heritage of both Caribbean and American music became more pronounced and influenced the music that would evolve into jazz. Jelly Roll Morton, early pioneer and self proclaimed inventor of jazz, explained how he was influenced by the Spanish culture that was such a prominent aspect of the New Orleans of his youth. He referred to it as “the Spanish tinge.”