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Dr. Rick Davies Writes Book on Latin American Music

Afro-Cuban music evolved into one of the great musical traditions of the 20th century, and Dr. Rick Davies, assistant professor of music at Plattsburgh State University of New York, has written a book on the subject.

Trompeta: Chappottín, Chocolate, and the Afro-Cuban Trumpet Style (Scarecrow Press , 2003) is a comprehensive history of mainstream Cuban music, examining the music of all its eras from the perspective of two seminal trumpet players: Félix Chappottín and Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros. One or the other was present at almost every significant turning point in the stylistic development of Cuban music. Armenteros was a special guest at the 27th Annual Jazz Festival at Plattsburgh State April 3-5.

"My interest in the subject stems from my career as a professional trombonist on the New York City salsa scene," said Davies. "During my time in New York, I performed with many of the top salsa and Afro-Cuban musicians in the world over a 20-year period. Because of these connections, I decided to make Afro-Cuban music the focus of my research interests."

Davies' book provides an overview of the entire Afro-Cuban genre and its development as well as an in-depth examination of both Chappottín's and Armenteros' performance styles.

His book also examines historic recordings, including the collected Sexteto Habenero recordings from the late 1920s, two recordings by the Rodriquez ensemble, and "Camina y predne el fogon."

"It is exciting to have the book out," said Davies. "There is a feeling of accomplishment that after several years of intense research and writing, there is finally a product that I can hold in my hand.

"Although it's the first book I've had published, I have been involved in scores of recording projects over the years. So in a way, I'm an old hand at putting out creative projects. However, nothing I've ever done has taken the enormous amount of time and energy that this book did," said Davies.

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