One of my favorite sources for information about Latin Jazz is the Yahoo! Latin Jazz listserv.
It was created back in 1999, and has since grown to over 1,500 subscribers. I joined eight years ago, and I read the daily digest of posts as I would the morning paper. It has become an invaluable resource for journalism and just plain fun.
But the most valuable part of the group is the insider's perspective on the music. It counts an impressive list of subscribers: artists from around the globe, radio programmers, music historians, journalists and fans.
Just today, someone posted an announcement of the death of recording engineer Irv Greenbaum. Who was he? Timbalero Ralph Irrizary explains:
Irv was one of the engineers at La Tierra Sound Studio where I recorded such records with people like Pupi Legarretta, Ray Barretto, Adalberto Santiago and many more. With all the chaos in the booth always going on he always had this calming effect and never had a bad thing to say to anyone. He had the ability to make these very difficult splices on 2' tape with a razor blade that always came out perfect. If there was ever someone directly responsible for all of the magic created in the 70's that has now been named the "Fania era" it's definitely Irv Greenbaum. RIP Irv. My condolences to his wife and family.
A few other favorite features:
- Want to know who was on an uncredited Latin big band album from the 1950's? Send an inquiry: chances are percussionists Jose Madera or John 'Dandy' Rodriguez know. They've been on the scene since the early '60s, and their fathers were major players in New York during the '40s and the '50s.
- Are you an independent musician struggling to get your music played on the radio or Internet? There are scores of Latin jazz and salsa programmers who are looking for new artists to play and interview for their shows around the world. Yes, I did say world.
- The debates. Oh man, there are some strong opinions about musicians, bands and even history. Reading these exchanges is like witnessing a friendly back and forth at a favorite watering hole or coffee shop.
Sometimes the Yahoo! Latin Jazz list reminds me of an airport where musicians see each other in passing and spend a few minutes catching up on life on the road, each other's projects or even just updates on family. But this is the hippest airport you'll ever be in.
To subscribe, visit the site, or send an e-mail to: latinjazz-subscribe [at] yahoogroups (dot) com. And you can access the entire archive with a Yahoo! ID.