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From roots to fusion Illustration: Pepe Menéndez. Illustration: Pepe Menéndez.

From Roots to Fusion — Episode 1

This story has two previous moments.

The first begins in Italy, where for years the Englishman John Harden lived and taught as an English teacher. One day, a student of his asked him to help him prepare a presentation on jazz. John used all his years as an inveterate music lover and formed a tight synthesis of the most North American of musical genres.

The second moment happens in Cuba, where Harden has lived for many years. On a certain occasion, a goddaughter of his who was studying piano asked him for help with information on North American jazz, and John was able to verify the scarcity of didactic material on the subject that music students in Cuba have. So he decided to write an essay in order to serve as a first approach to students and anyone else interested in knowing a little more about the origins of jazz and, particularly, the feeling that characterizes it. To translate it into Spanish, he decided to rely on his friend Omar Pérez, an outstanding Cuban poet, translator and great connoisseur of music.

John decided to focus the essay on the contributions of the African-American community, whose members were the creators of the foundations of jazz and have led most of its revolutions. That is the premise of From Roots to Fusion, a work that traces the development of the genre from its African roots to the period of fusion in the 1970s.

This text was kept for years, until John approached Magazine AM:PM with the proposal to disclose it in some way. We understood that the best way to bring potential audiences closer to material like this would be through a podcast. Thus was born the idea of doing a show with the same name, From roots to fusion, which covers the history of African-American jazz accompanied by the sounds of essential and representative pieces of each historical moment of the genre. The podcast will feature a single season made up of 12 episodes of between 20 and 50 minutes each. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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