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Jazz Caliente: Bird's birthday, the return of the Rumba Kings, and the art of the descarga

CD cover Charlie Parker The Latin Bird
High Definition Jazz CD re-issue
CD cover Charlie Parker The Latin Bird

Jazz Caliente this week starts with a Latin jazz tribute to the musical genius and innovator, Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, on what would have been his 100th birthday.  We'll also get up to date on what's happening with Northwest favorites The Rumba Kings, and sample new music from the Bay Area's resident expert on rhythm, John Santos.

Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, one of the architects of bebop, had wide-ranging musical interests. He studied classical and folk music, and recorded with Machito and His Afro Cubans in 1950. This Afro Cuban Suite, written by the Cuban maestro Chico O'Farrill, also included tenor saxophonist Flip Phillips, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, and drummer Buddy Rich.

The Rumba Kings have been keeping busy in quarantine, making videos and preparing for their next big show at The Triple Door in June 2021.  They recently released the single "Dance with Me," featuring Natalis Ruby on vocals.

Percussion master John Santos is passionate about Latin jazz.  He's a well-respected performer and educator based in the Bay Area, and when he gets into the recording studio with his hand-picked sextet, magic happens. We'll hear "Tichín" from his latest album, The Art of the Descarga, on Saturday's Jazz Caliente.  From that same album, this is "Plena Vida."  

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5 p.m.  The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.