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Cuban Jazz

Beginning with "Peanut Vendor," the 1930 hit by Don Azpiazu & His Havana Casino Orchestra, Cuban music proved a sympathetic collaborator with American jazz. (Of course, Jelly Roll Morton had made explicit the "Spanish tinge" in jazz years earlier.) The first nearly equal fusion of jazz and Cuban players occurred in the mid-'40s , when Mario Bauza introduced bop wunderkind Dizzy Gillespie to Cuban master percussionist Chano Pozo. Cubans and Americans began collaborating intensely -- Charlie Parker and Buddy Rich recorded with Machito, while Chico O'Farrill arranged for Stan Kenton as well as Benny Goodman. Some of the most interesting Cuban jazz records were made during the 1950s and '60s, including those by Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, and Tito Puente. By the '70s, Cuba finally had its own great jazz band, Irakere, with excellent musicians including Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, and Chucho Valdes. During the late '90s, the Buena Vista Social Club spurred a renewed interest in Cuban music.