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)

Tracklist:
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

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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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