Jesse Varela

Jesse’s Contributions


December 2000    Albums

Tribute to the Masters
John Santos and Machete

In 1975 percussionist-bandleader- Latin music scholar John Santos was cited along with his friend Raul Rekow (Santana) for playing conga drums at Dolores Park in the San Francisco Mission District. It was part of an ordinance written by then supervisor and...


December 2000    Albums

Mardi Gras Mambo

Cubanismo mingles New Orleans brass bands with its Caribbean heritage. The links between Afro-Cubans and black Crescent City culture goes back to colonial times, but musically it wasn't until the turn of the last century that they met when colored municipal...


December 2000    Albums

Francisco Aguabella

A few years ago documentarian Les Blank profiled this legendary conga drummer in his film Sworn to Drum. A drum priest of Santeria, it highlighted Aguabella's spiritual connection and knowledge of Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythms that brought him to the attention...


December 2000    Albums

The Next Step
Jazz Tribe

Alto saxophonist Bobby Watson forged an artistic partnership with percussionist Ray Mantilla back in the 1980s as part of his band Space Station. Their landmark 1984 Hands of Fire (RED) album marked an exciting time in the jazz-Latin hybrid with its unparalleled...


December 2000    Albums

Live at the Village Vanguard
Chucho Valdes

After decades leading the Afro-Cuban jazz band Irakere, Chucho Valdes emerged as a solo performer, taking him to inspired musical heights. Since signing with Blue Note Records in 1993, the acclaimed Cuban pianist, composer, bandleader and educator has been...


November 2000    Albums

Live and in Clave
Bobby Sanabria Big Band

In the 1940s Machito & his Afro-Cubans, under the musical direction of Mario Bauza, gave the world "Tanga," the first real Latin jazz tune. It was a big band sound that, like bebop, drew from advanced harmonic concepts and hot rhythms, which inspired jazzers...


September 2000    Features

The Genres: Jesse “Chuy” Varela on Latin Jazz

“How can you call my music Latin jazz!” the late Mario Bauzá barked at me in an interview in the 1980s. I was a neophyte radio deejay in the San Francisco Bay area and had finally tracked down the godfather of what I considered to be Latin jazz, and here...


May 2000    Features

Tito Puente: El Rey Del Timbal!

Tito Puente’s life reads like a Horatio Alger story: The son of Puerto Rican immigrants who were naturalized under the Jones Act, which in 1917 (as a result of the Spanish American War) gave the island’s inhabitants citizenship, Puente lived a ghettoized...

  • Email E-mail
  • Share Share
  • Rss RSS
  • Report Report

About Jesse Varela