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John Storm Roberts, The Latin Tinge: The Impact Of Latin Music on the United States Book

Review: Choice Cuts

by J.J. Rassler

Although the copyright on this book is 1979, this is still an invaluable source of musical history and pertinent, general information. As the title suggests, the book focuses on Latin music from its roots on through the Salsa movement of the '70's, and the ways American culture has been affected by it. From the tropical get-a-way bands of the '20's and '30's, to the roles Latin music has played in Broadway and Hollywood productions in the '40's, Roberts' style and wit mix an entertaining blend of fact and anecdotes. The sections dealing with general public awareness (?) via the movies are often quite amusing and at times appalling in their recounting of Hollywood's typical stereotype mentality.

Getting back to the grooves, there is wide coverage of the Cubop scene of the '40's and some great insight into Machito's orchestra. Continuing through the dance fads of the '50's on into the boogaloo scene of the '60's, this book serves as a tremendous who's who of Latin musicians. There is even a section on '60's Latin-influenced rock bands like Santana and even Tex/Mex sounds. Actually, it was quite refreshing to see the Tex/Mex scene included, discussed here for it's strong influence on Country music. The effort in whole is a substantial work that perhaps, for the first time, in book form, shows the significant effect of one musical culture on another. An essential primer for the afficionado.

The Latin Tinge: The Impact Of Latin Music on the United States

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