Bittersweet salsa: Living in between jazz and Latin music communities

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Denson, Louise
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Jane Davidson et al

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2011
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Perth, WA

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This presentation will feature an original composition which reflects my involvement with jazz and Afro-Cuban music. It will serve as a springboard for an examination of my experiences playing in latin dance orchestras in Montreal in the 1990s, and the enduring effect this has had on my musical identity. Using personal memory as a primary data source and an autoethnographic method, I seek to understand my experience within the context of the jazz and latin music communities in which I lived and worked. While many jazz musicians worked in salsa and merengue orchestras, these were usually regarded as "money gigs" and as separate from jazz, the musicians' main area of interest. There was also a clear social divide between the two communities. My involvement with the latin community went far beyond playing a few money gigs as I learned to speak Spanish, musically directed a number of bands and projects, and counted several of my band mates among my close friends. Afro-Cuban music is a key influence in my music today. But straddling these two professional and personal worlds was sometimes uncomfortable and often confusing as I experienced variously both inclusion and isolation.

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Power of Music Abstracts

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Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified

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