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Musicians from Puerto Rico played a substantial role in the development of jazz during the early years of the twentieth century, before and during the years surrounding the Harlem Renaissance. These jazz pioneers, including instrumentalists, composers, and vocalists, were products of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States and contributed to the early history of this uniquely American genre.
In this study, author Basilio Serrano provides a detailed look at the lives of these men and women and their contributions to the development of jazz and Latin jazz. Serrano explores how the music of Puerto Rico helped to shape them and offers a comprehensive review of the bands in which they played, studying specialists in a variety of instruments as well as band leaders and composers. This group included notable figures such as Fernando Arbello, the Bayron sisters, the Rivera family, Louis King Garcia, Joe Loco, Juan and Paco Tizol, Augusto and Willie Rodriguez, Augusto Coen, and Cesar Concepcion.
Covering a period from 1900 to 1939, Puerto Rican Pioneers in Jazz, 1900-1939 presents the stories of early Puerto Rican jazz musicians whose contributions to the genre have previously been overlooked.