2021 Fall

Classes are now free of charge with your UMASC Membership.


Afro Cuban Jazz

Instructor: Frank Johnson

Tuesdays • 8 classes • 9/28-11/16 • 1:00-3:00 PM

Class size 5-50 students
43 seats remaining
Location: Zoom

Beginning with Machito and his Afro Cubans in the 1940s and Dizzy Gillespie’s embrace of Afro Cuban rhythms in the bebop era, Latin rhythms have played an important role in jazz. The combination of Afro Cuban polyrhythms and improvisation has produced an exciting danceable music that continues to flourish. We will trace the origins of Afro Cuban jazz; the emergence of giants from the 1950s (Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriquez); influential families (O’Farrill and Valdes); the talented instrumentalists who showcased piano, percussion, trombone and trumpet; and the bandleaders and groups that drive the music today.

We will cast a wide net to include Eddie Palmieri, Hilton Ruiz, Poncho Sanchez, Cubanismo, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Rebeca Mauleon, Alfredo Rodriquez, Cal Tjader, Paquito D’Rivera, and many more. The class is designed to provide a survey of Afro Cuban jazz and to get you on your feet and ready to dance.


Frank Johnson has a lifelong passion and interest in African-American music: jazz, blues, rhythm & blues, soul, and Afro-Latin. He has a collection of over 4,000 albums covering these genres. In addition, he has a personal library of over 250 books on African-American musical styles, musicians and cultural influences.