SHOW | HIDE "MAMBO JAZZ / DESCARGA" DESCRIPTION...
Mambo is an important Afro-Cuban rhythm that became a worldwide fad in the 1950s. Its origin is somewhat contentious, inventors usually cited including Orestes "Macho" López (1908-1991, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger) and his older brother, bassist Israel "Cachao" López (1918-2008); Antonio Arcaño (flautist and bandleader, 1911-1994); and Arsenio Rodríguez (1911-1970) and Pérez Prado (1916-1989). Various authorities regard Orestes López's danzón "Mambo" (1938), composed while a member of Arcaño y sus Maravillas, as the earliest example of the rhythm. Mambo became a national dance craze in the USA in the '50s until supplanted by the cha cha chá, but the mambo had more influence on Latin music in the long run. The most successful mambo bands included those of Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez, Noro Morales, Beny Moré and Prado. Descarga (which literally means "discharge") or Latin jam tends to retain Cuban vocal and musical structures but feature more jazz-style soloing than typical salsa. The earliest pieces that could be described as descarga were recorded in New York in the '40s. The first descarga cubana to be recorded is understood to be "Con Poco Coco" for the 10" LP Cubano '52 on Norman Granz's Clef Records performed by "Andre's All Stars", a group of five Cubans and one Haitian musician including pianist Bebo Valdés, trumpeter Alejandro "El Negro" Vivar and tenor player Gustavo Más. Panart Records recorded a series of five Cuban Jam Session albums with some of Cuba's best musicians between '56 and '64 directed by Julio Gutiérrez (1918-1990), Niño Rivera (1918-1996), Cachao and José Fajardo (1919-2001), mixing Cuban idioms with extended soloing in a loose format. The Panart Cuban Jam Session's had a profound effect on the Latin scene in New York, inspiring descarga recordings by the Alegre All-Stars, Tico All Stars and others. - John Child