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Latin jazz

Latin jazz is the general term given to music that combines rhythms from African and Latin American countries with jazz harmonies from the United States.

The two main categories of Latin Jazz are Brazilian and Afro-Cuban.

To a jazz musician, a piece of music is often called "Latin" if it has straight 8th-notes instead of the swinging 8th notes common in most jazz music. A lot of jazz musicians who know a lot about the history of American jazz may be quite unfamiliar with the history or traditions of Latin Jazz, though they probably know a few dozen of the most famous pieces.

Latin jazz music, like most types of jazz music, can be played in small or large groups. Small groups, or combos, often use the Be-bop format made popular in the 1950's in America, where the musicians play a standard melody, many of the musicians play an improvised solo, and then everyone plays the melody again. In Latin jazz bands, percussion solos are much more common, and they are more structured than in swing bands, where drum solos are rare and often more freeform.

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