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PBS's 'Great Performances' explores the roots of Latin jazz

Pablo Gil, Sheila E. and Tony Succar.
Photo by Leigh Kelly
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Pablo Gil, Sheila E. and Tony Succar.

Two Latin music documentaries premiere on the PBS series "Great Performances" this month, starting Friday, July 9, with Gloria Estefan presenting "Sangre Yoruba," which focuses on Brazilian music. On Friday, July 16, it's "The Roots of Latin Jazz" hosted by Sheila E. and featuring Tony Succar's Raices Jazz Orchestra.

Both programs will be available on KCTS 9, pbs.org/gperf, and the PBS Video app. 

"Great Performances: Roots of Latin Jazz" takes viewers on a musical journey from Cuba to Miami and Africa to Brazil exploring the roots of Latin jazz. The film features Raíces Jazz Orchestra, led by Latin Grammy-winning producer/musician Tony Succar and producer/educator Dr. Pablo Gil. It is inspired by their love of big band jazz and their passion to celebrate its Latin roots. The documentary is a special co-presentation of "Great Performances" and Latino Public Broadcasting’s "Voces."

Featuring musicians from all over the world, "Roots of Latin Jazz" tells the complex story of Latinx history and culture through the exuberant rhythms and infectious beats of the diverse genre of Latin jazz. Showcasing original compositions and arrangements of jazz standards, such as “Eye of the Hurricane” by Herbie Hancock and “Mas que Nada” by Jorge Ben, the film includes Grammy-winning artists Richard Bona (Cameroon) and Anaadi (Brazil), among others.

Listen for selections from the Raíces Jazz Orchestra album on Saturday's Jazz Caliente!

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