Reimagining Panama’s Musical and Cultural Narratives of Jazz: Panamanian Suite narrates the complex relationship between Panama and the United States by tracing the paths of their music, tracking the development of jazz in Panama from the mid-nineteenth century to the modern day through three movements: pre-jazz, jazz, and global jazz. As a vital port of Caribbean migration in the twentieth century, Panama played an essential role in the emergence and shaping of jazz and other cultural forms, many of which influenced culture on the mainland United States. Patricia Zarate de Perez explores new narratives of jazz from a Pan-Afro-Latin American perspective, beginning with an examination of music that contributed to a Panamanian imaginary which justified the expansion of imperial territories beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. This Panamanian imaginary and the white supremacy embedded within it also served as a basis for the erasure of the contributions of Panamanians throughout jazz history, but not without resistance—modern Panamanian artists and cultural leaders continue to enact redressing actions even now. This book documents a history of jazz in Panama, naming its principal characters and culminating with the development of Global Jazz, a twenty-first century imaginary centered on the next generation of musicians and their place in jazz history.
Patricia Zarate de Perez teaches at the Berklee Global Jazz Institute and is professor in the Music Therapy Department at Berklee College of Music.
Part I: First Movement: Pre-Jazz—The Birth of Imaginaries
Chapter 1: Creating Imaginary Panama Through Music
Chapter 2: The Music of the Panama Canal
Part II: Second Movement: Jazz—Erasing Contributions
Chapter 3: Panamanians in Jazz
Chapter 4: Tambo Jazz and the Golden Era of Jazz in Panama
Part III: Third Movement: Global Jazz—Redressing Actions
Chapter 5: Panama’s Redressing Actions
Chapter 6: Global Jazz
A fascinating tour through the presence of Panama in international musical compositions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—and then the presence and impact of Panamanian musicians in the making of global jazz itself. If your mental map of the origins of jazz does not include the isthmus of Panama and its emigrants, it turns out, you’ve been missing a central part of the plot.
Patricia Zarate de Perez has written a much-needed treatise, capturing today’s artists in the pursuit of unlimited inspirational paths of discovery. She describes in almost cinematic fashion the roadblocks and resistances which arise during artistic endeavors. She presents to the reader a plethora of instances where an artist might fall apart when confronted with unknown factors or unrehearsed material or a path never trodden. It is at these moments that the artist can discover the meaning of faith which is to fear nothing.
There are few reports and very poor information about the artistic-musical background of Panama and Latin America. That is why it was a true joy to receive this extraordinary work by Patricia Zarate de Perez, Reimagining Panama's Musical and Cultural Narratives of Jazz: Panamanian Suite, describing in detail the background and the complex relationship between Panama, the United States and Jazz. Instructive, objective and rich in information, this is a necessary and truly exceptional book.
Patricia Zarate de Perez has given us a unique, powerful, historically thorough, and artistically delivered document. This book will be required reading for any serious student of the history of the Americas, Panama’s rich contributions to jazz history, and much more!