|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2008)|
|Music of Haiti|
|Media and performance|
|Nationalistic and patriotic songs|
|National anthem||La Dessalinienne|
|Music of Martinique|
|Nationalistic and patriotic songs|
|National anthem||La Marseillaise|
Mini-jazz Creole (mini-djaz) is a reduced meringue-compas music band of the mid 60s characterized by the rock bands formula of two guitars, one bass, drum-conga-cowbell, some use an alto sax or a full horn section, others use a keyboard, accordion or lead guitar. However, all these small jazz or bands had their guitars with sophisticated styles.
The Mini jazz movement started in the mid-1960s, small bands called mini-djaz (which grew out of Haiti’s light rock and roll yeye bands of the early 1960s) played kompa featuring paired electric guitars, electric bass, drumset and other percussion, often with a saxophone. This trend, launched by Shleu Shleu after 1965, came to include a number of groups from Port-au-Prince neighbourhoods, especially the suburb of Pétion-Ville. Tabou Combo, Les Difficiles, Les Loups Noirs, Frères DéJean, Les Fantaisistes de Carrefour, Bossa Combo and Les Ambassadeurs (among others) formed the core of this middle-class popular music movement.
Young Haitian musicians of these mini-jazz or small bands were critical in the technical improvement of the compas style. Although Raymond Guaspard (Nemours) started it, however, popular and talented guitar players such as Ricardo Tiplum (Les ambassadeurs), Robert Martineau (Les Difficiles/Gypsies/ -Scorpio/Topvice...), Dadou Pasket (Tabou combo/Magnum band...), Jean-Claude Jean (Tabou combo/Super star...), Claude Marcellin (Difficiles/DP Express/Zekle...), Police Nozile (Freres Dejean/Gypsies/DP Express...) and many more have created intricate, mostly rhythmic guitar styles that constitute a strong distinguishable feature of the meringue (compas or cadence).
In the mid-70's, When the sounds of Dominica cadence bands such as Grammacks, Exile One, and Les Aiglons from Guadeloupe started hitting the airwave, those of the mini-jazz bands that had relied on the guitars in Haiti and the French Antilles added a full-horn section. The prominent band Exile One was the first to introduce synthesizers to their music.
The Dominican band Exile One led by the talented Gordon Henderson introduced a full-horn section and synthesizers to their music that other young cadence or compas bands from Haiti (mini-jazz) and the French Antilles emulated in the 70s and 80's.
In Haiti, two of the most popular bands, Les Difficiles de Petion-ville became D.P Express and Les Gypsies became Scorpio Universel after adding a full horn section in addition to their new keyboard synthesizer.
In the mid 70s the mini-jazz went back to the big band formula with a horn section. However, meringue troubadour bands such as Coupe Cloue (Gesner Henry), Rodrigue Millien, Toto Necessite, Althiery Dorival by nature have always performed without a horn section. Other heavy meringue bands such as Orchestre Tropicana, Septan trional, Les Freres Dejean, Bossa Combo, Meridional, La ruche de Leogane, Panorama des Cayes, etc. have always used a horn section and keyboard.
Les Ambassadeurs, les legendaires, Ibo combo, Les Freres Dejean, Bossa combo were all full bands with keyboards and horn section. They were classified as mini-jazz because they were born in the same time but were all full bands from their creation.
The majestic Tabou combo started with a guitar-based and accordion format and later adapted to new technology like every other bands.
During 1975 -1986 the Meringue-compas reached its zenith. Artists from many countries were featuring compas hits. Among the most copied and played were Tabou combo and DP Express. This trend continues till now. For example many south American artists such as Wilfrido Vargas, Bonny Cepeda, Reggaeton stars Dady yankee, Don Omar, etc. The fugees, Carlos Santana, Cabo verde artists, etc. have all featured compas tunes. Music groups such as Djet-X, Skah Sha #1, Magnum band, Tabou Combo, Coupe Cloue, DP Express, Freres Dejean, Scorpio, Tropicana, Volo Volo, Bossa combo, System band, etc were all popular bands that dominated the music scene. The Caribbean and specifically the compas lands of Dominica and the French Antilles are ideal destinations for these bands. Large cities of North and south America are also good destinations. Africa received its share of compas through many countries. Today compas music is popular more than ever throughout the world with bands from the Caribbean, Africa, Cabo Verde, part of South and north America, etc.
After the American occupation of Haiti, bands were called jazz. So these small bands of the 60s were called mini-jazz.