Loza, Steven (Joseph)
LOZA, Steven (Joseph)
CAREER: University of Chile, School of Music, 1989; Kanda University of International Studies, Japan, 1996-97; University of California, Los Angeles, associate professor, then professor of ethnomusicology; UCLA Latin American Center, associate director, research, and director of music department. Latin jazz performer and producer; member, Grammy Awards National Screening Committee.
MEMBER: Latin Academy for Recording Artists.
Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1993.
(Editor) Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology 10: Musical Aesthetics and Multiculturalism in Los Angeles, UCLA Ethnomusicology Publications (Los Angeles, CA), 1994.
Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1999.
Author's work has been translated into Spanish.
SIDELIGHTS: In his academic career, Steven Loza has specialized in ethnomusicology, particularly the music of Latin America and its increasing popularity in the United States. Both as a university professor and as a member of the Grammy Awards National Screening Committee, Loza has had plenty of opportunity to witness the influence of Latin American rhythms on U.S. music culture, particularly in Los Angeles.
In 1993 Loza published Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles. According to Raul Fernandez, writing in American Quarterly, "The reader who seeks to learn only about mariachi standards and rancheras will also discover the history of a delicious mixture of swing, bop, danzones, huapangos, boleros, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, mambo, tango" In short, this is the musical history of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of Mexican-American musicians. Loza explores the complex effects of tradition and assimilation, and rural and urban settlement patterns, on the music of Mexican Angelenos. "This contextual analysis will certainly become one of the most cited models of urban ethnomusicology," wrote Kazadi wa Mukuna in Choice.
"When 'Barrio Rhythm' jumps to life," wrote Lynell George in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "it's through the voices of those who bore witness." These voices include those of Lalo Guerrero, whose "Indian" features and heavy accent marked him as a Mexican singer, and barred him from crossing over into Anglo acceptance, and Andy Russell—born Andrés Rábago—who passed both physically and vocally into the musical mainstream. Their stories and their music "communicate more about the city we live in than any sunbleached Beach Boy harmony," according to George.
From the lives of the diverse singers and groups that shaped Chicano music in Los Angeles, Loza turns to the story of one towering musical legend in Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music. Drawing on numerous interviews with band members, collaborators, and music journalists, Loza brings out "El Rey's" (the King's) tremendous impact as a drummer and bandleader, while exploring the social and cultural forces that shaped him and his music. Clearly a fan, "Loza seems principally concerned with ensuring that Puente 'ranks with the Ellingtons and Beethovens,'" wrote G. Averill in Choice. As "the first major book on this master musician in English, Loza fleshes out the man behind the drum set," wrote Eugene Holley, Jr. in Hispanic. As Holley put it, he "goes beyond the public image of the ageless, white-haired percussion legend and reveals a tender and tough survivor," describing Puentes's early life in Harlem, his mentors such as Tito Rodriguez, and his Juilliard training, as well as including the recollections of friends and associates. While this background is a vital part, Puente's impact on American and Afro-Cuban music are also explored in full, as is his ability to span both the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking worlds. According to Holley, Puentes's successful mission to give percussion a leading voice in popular band music "is all documented in Loza's important book."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Quarterly, September, 1994, Raul Fernandez, "Notes from East L.A.," pp. 441-447.
Choice, February, 1994, Kazadi wa Mukuna, review of Barrio Rhythm, p. 946; January, 2000, G. Averill, review of Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music, p. 946.
Hispanic, December, 1999, Eugene Holley, Jr., "Five Decades of the King," p. 80.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 26, 1993, Lynell George, "The Music Moves the Streets," p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, June, 1999, review of Tito Puente, p. 69.
Daily Bruin,http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/ (September 27, 1999), Teron Hide, "Not Just South of the Border."
University of Illinois Press Web site,http://www.press.uillinois.edu/ (February 14, 2002), review of Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music.*