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Trompeta: Chappott’n, Chocolate and the Afro-Cuban Trumpet Style by Rick Davies

Spanish-Caribbean musical studies are improved by this groundbreaking reading on Cuban trumpet playing. Shaping the latter conventions in decisive ways, horn men Felix Chappott’n and Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros become custom-made musicological petri dishes for the cultivation of the author’s doctoral dissertation. As such, its scholarly musicological analyses, identification and transcriptions of important solos and otherwise germane passages of technical and historical consequence make the book worth trotting through. Still, would-be readers challenged by the fact that the “second G4 moves through a G#4 on the last quarter beat of the measure to resolve on an A4 half note in m. 17″on a trumpet background section of the omni-interpreted “Bilongo” will be hoofed from the most important contributions of this work.

The social and historical placement of this book is not an unearthing of rarities amidst seldom-investigated musical fissures. It is, rather, a first in the organized documentation of basic data outlines for these trumpet styles, as well as those of their most historically pertinent duo of practitioners. Further sifting and sieving, however, are of the essence and admittedly so per Rick Davies himself. Future editions require serious bilingual editing, and its research sources and bibliographical materials are limited in both scope and nuance. There is no evidence, for example, of Davies having consulted scholars such as Fernando Ortiz, John Blacking or even A. M. Jones when dealing with African elements in Cuban trumpet styles, which is an important part of his theses. Trompeta, however, is the unrivaled source of information on Cuban trumpet playing and required reading for anyone dealing with Hispanic popular and jazz music.

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