Jazzing Up Your Latin Music Playlist

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for some new music to add to your Latin playlist? Check out these five artists who are sure to spice things up!

The Different Types of Latin Jazz

Latin jazz is a genre of music that combines aspects of both Latin American and African-American music. It is a style of music that is often very rhythmic and can be very exciting to listen to. There are many different types of Latin jazz, so let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones.


Cuban jazz is often the first type of Latin jazz that comes to mind. It’s characterized by a strong Afro-Cuban influence, with the rhythms of Cuban popular music, such as son and rumba, played on jazz instruments. Afro-Cuban jazz first gained popularity in the 1940s with musicians such as Pupi Campo and Mario Bauzá. In the 1950s, Cuban bassist Israel “Cachao” López became a pioneer of the genre with his descargas, or Cuban jam sessions. You can hear Cuban influences in the music of contemporary artists such as Poncho Sanchez and Arturo Sandoval.


Brazilian jazz or bossa nova, is a type of Latin jazz that originated and developed in Brazil during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Brazilian jazz is rhythmic and features bossa nova rhythms. This type of Latin jazz sometimes also includes influences from African music.


Afro-Cuban jazz is a type of Latin jazz that combines Afro-Cuban rhythms with the sounds of jazz. This type of music first became popular in the 1940s, when Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo collaborated with American trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Afro-Cuban jazz often features percussion instruments such as bongos, congas, and timbales. The rhythms of these instruments are usually syncopated, meaning they emphasize the off-beats or weak beats in a measure.

Where to Find the Best Latin Jazz

When it comes to Latin Jazz, there are so many great options out there. You can find some of the best Latin Jazz online and in record stores. There are also many great Latin Jazz festivals that you can attend.


If you’re looking for the best Latin jazz, you might want to start by looking online. There are a number of great websites that offer streaming Latin jazz music, and many of them are completely free. You can also find a number of radio stations that specialize in Latin jazz, which can be a great way to discover new artists and sounds.

Of course, if you’re willing to pay for your music, there are also a number of great online stores that sell Latin jazz recordings. Amazon and iTunes are two of the most popular, but there are also many smaller shops that can be worth checking out. You might even be able to find some good deals on used CDs if you’re willing to do a little bit of digging.

In addition to streaming and buying music online, there are also a number ofLatin jazz festivals held around the world each year. These can be a great way to see some of your favorite artists live, and they’re often held in some of the most beautiful locations. If you’re lucky enough to live near one of these festivals, definitely make an effort to check it out.

Local Record Stores

Checking out your local record store is a great way to find Latin jazz recordings. Many stores have knowledgeable employees who can guide you to the best recordings in their stock. In addition, most stores will have listening stations where you can sample recordings before you buy them.

Some of the best Latin jazz recordings are available on import, so your local store may need to special order them for you. But it’s usually worth the wait to get your hands on these hard-to-find gems.

Here are a few recommended Latin jazz recordings that are worth tracking down:

– “Bach in Havana” by Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (2005)
– “The Offering” by Eddie Palmieri (2006)
– “Ritmo!” by Paquito D’Rivera (2007)


There are many Latin Jazz Festivals that take place around the world. Here are some of the best:

-The Havana Jazz Festival is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world. Held every year in Cuba, it attracts some of the biggest names in Latin Jazz, as well as many up-and-coming artists.

-The Heineken Jazz Fest Puerto Rico is another great option for those looking to get their Latin Jazz fix. Held annually in San Juan, it features a wide range of artists from across the globe.

-Jazz Latino in Mexico is another excellent choice, with a lineup that always features some of the best Latin Jazz performers around.

-Lastly, the Berklee Beantown Latin Jazz Festival is a great option for those in the Boston area. It takes place every year and showcases a mix of established and up-and-coming talent.

The Best Latin Jazz Albums

There’s something about Latin jazz that just makes you want to get up and dance. The combination of the lively rhythms and the soulful melodies is irresistible. If you’re looking to add some Latin flavor to your jazz collection, here are some of the best Latin jazz albums.

“The Mambo Kings” Soundtrack

If you’re looking to add some Latin flavor to your jazz playlist, look no further than the soundtrack to “The Mambo Kings.” The 1992 film tells the story of two Cuban brothers who migrate to the United States in the 1950s and start a band. The soundtrack features classic songs like “Beautiful Maria of My Soul” and “Besame Mucho,” as well as original compositions by Argentinean composer and bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla.

“Latin Jazz Suite” by Dizzy Gillespie

Latin jazz is a musical genre that combines elements of both Latin American and jazz music. It gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, and Cal Tjader incorporating Latin American rhythms and percussion into their music.

One of the most famous Latin jazz albums is “Latin Jazz Suite” by Dizzy Gillespie. The album was recorded in 1956 and features Gillespie on trumpet, alongside a band that includes giants such as Machito, Mario Bauza, and Chano Pozo. The album is a perfect example of how Latin rhythms can be integrated into jazz to create something new and exciting.

“Bele Bele en La Habana” by Chucho Valdés

Recorded in Cuba and released in 1991, Bele Bele en La Habana is a classic Latin jazz album by Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés. The album features Valdés’ Afro-Cuban jazz group, Irakere, and includes some of the band’s most well-known tunes like “Bele Bele en La Habana” and “Mambo Irakere”. Valdés is a master pianist and his playing on this album is simply stunning. If you’re looking for a Latin jazz album that will make your toes tap, this is it!

Similar Posts