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Puerto Rican musicians of the Harlem Renaissance

Author(s): Basilio Serrano

Journal: Centro Journal
ISSN 1538-6279

Volume: XIX;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 94;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: music | jazz | Harlem Renaissance | Puerto Rican musicians | Puerto Rican migration | New York

This article focuses on the contributions of Puerto Rican musicians to the African-American bands and orchestras that were active during the Harlem Renaissance. The essay provides biographical sketches of the musicians who were instrumentalists and composers of the leading orchestras of the period, including those led by Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Noble Sissle, James Reese Europe, Leon Abbey, Don Redman, Luckey Roberts, Claude Hopkins, among others. Biographical sketches are provided for the following Puerto Rican musicians: Rafael Escudero, Carmelo Jari, Rafael Hernández, Rafael Duchesne, Ramón Usera, Francisco Tizol, Gregorio Félix, Fernando Arbello, and Ram Ramírez. Brief references are made to a number of additional musicians who were also participants during the important cultural surge that is best known as the Harlem Renaissance. Background information on the early Puerto Rican diaspora is also included with brief references to the migrations to New Orleans, Hawaii, Washington, and New York City. The purpose of the essay is to develop a more complete picture of the Puerto Rican experience in jazz. The essay provides information that helps explain why the contemporary music of Puerto Ricans, in the States and the homeland, was influenced by the music of the African American community

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