However you rate Sydney as a racial melting pot it has nothing on New York. There the fire under the pot was hot enough to fuse the styles of music brought by hordes of migrants from scores of countries. A major source was Puerto Rico, from where an astounding 600,000 people poured into New York between 1950 and 1960 alone. Of course they brought their music with them, but they also encountered other Latin American idioms as well as the jazz and funk emanating from nearby African-American neighbourhoods.
The upshot was that by the 1970s the strict Latin dance forms were being blurred within the vague, all-embracing term “salsa”, in which Cuban son music was often a key ingredient. This superbly compiled double-album provides an overview of New York’s hybrid Latin scene in that decade, when jazzy horn solos and funky bass lines happily cohabited with bongos, congas and timbales. Such pivotal artists as Eddie Palmieri are represented, as are lesser known groups like Ocho, which consisted entirely of African-Americans playing Latin music.