William Cepeda Afrorican Jazz, My Roots & Beyond

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Groupo Afro Boricua
(Blue Jackel)
by Sarah Zupko
PopMatters Editor & Publisher


My mouth dropped when I heard these releases. Sporting a perfect melding of Afro-Caribbean music, Latin jazz, and African rhythms, this duo of releases by the incomparable Puerto Rican trombonist William Cepeda is at the head of the 1999 world music class.

William Cepeda Afrorican Jazz is Cepeda’s jazz band that plays the hot Latin rhythms favored by Tito Puente and be-bop influenced by Cepeda’s stint in Dizzy Gillespie’s band, as well as embracing the call-and-response patterns of West African music.

Groupo Afro Boricua is one of the world’s premiere exponents of the Puerto Rican music forms, the Bomba (call-and-response singing mixed with intricate drumming and colorful dancing) and the Plena (Puerto Rican street music played on drums, accordions, and harmonicas). It’s going to take something short of a miracle for me to change my mind that Bombazo is the best world music album of the year.

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