Paul Austerlitz – Dr. Merengue (2019)

Paul Austerlitz - Dr. Merengue (2019)
Artist: Paul Austerlitz
Album: Dr. Merengue
Label: Round Whirled Records
Year Of Release: 2019
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

01. Homenaje a Nico Lora
02. Los Saxofones
03. Santiago
04. Pri-Pri Electronico
05. Con el Alma
06. Merengue de Atabales
07. La Empaliza
08. Naak Owt
09. Merengaga
10. Two Kan
11. The Afro-Dominican Jazz Suite


Dr. Paul Austerlitz is Coordinator of Jazz and Professor of Music and Africana Studies at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, Gettysburg College. He combines his creative work as a musician with ethnomusicological research on Afro-Caribbean music. Austerlitz is especially active in blending the music of the Dominican Republic and Haiti with jazz.

Palos or atabales drumming is the most widely-diffused expression of Dominican music, and for this reason, the eminent folklorist Fradique Lizardo suggested that it should replace merengue as a national symbol. This musical form is closely associated with Afro-Dominican religious organizations, and the resilience of these highly African-derived traditions amount to a musically-articulated counter-narrative of negritude in a country whose public discourse remains largely Eurocentric. Mario Rivera, Toné Vicioso and others have experimented with blending palos with jazz. Interestingly, rural musicians also have a long history of blending this form of sacred drumming with secular music, creating merengue-tinged palos variants such as gerapega (in the South) and merengue de atabales (in the East). My offering adapts a field recording I made in 1991, appearing on the Rounder Records CD mentioned above. The deeply African aesthetics of this genre blend easily with the Afro-inspired jazz of John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner. Note master bassist Esar Simo’s inspired solo here.

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