The Caribbean Jazz Project: Music beyond borders
Willis, Jesse Brumage
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Over the course of fifteen years and nine albums, the Caribbean Jazz Project (CJP) united the musical traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean with jazz. It is the aim of this research project to highlight the unique and progressive nature of the CJP. Through an examination of the band’s varied personnel and playing style, this study exhibits how the music of the CJP is representative of both the diversity and unity that exists within Latin jazz. This document provides the reader a brief historical outline of bandleader Dave Samuels’ musical career leading to the creation of the CJP. It also examines the revolving personnel of the CJP through three distinctive creative periods and discusses how these changes led to shifts in stylistic focus that became part of the band’s inimitable identity. Furthermore, this study showcases how the CJP’s music can be used as a mechanism for drumset players and percussionists to better understand the rhythmic roots of Latin jazz, which stem from the African influenced musical traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean.