Thursday, December 16, 2021

Afro-Cuban basics

Here's another back to basics sheet; a survival kit for playing Afro-Cuban music, or generic "Latin Jazz".  

It's a simple modular approach with three patterns for the right hand, three for the left hand, and three for the right foot.  If you can play each of these patterns with each of the others you'll be able to get through a lot of material on your average gig.

This is also a nice way to construct a simple arrangement.  When it comes time to head to a different part of a tune just change one element.  I feel that less experienced players often try to do too much.  The groove is the most important thing here, so keep it simple.  For example, let's say you're playing cascara together with clave, and the first bombo pattern.  When that next section comes up try keeping your right hand and right foot the same, but switching to one of the conga grooves with the left hand.  Often times one change like that does more than we realize and can really lift the tune without have to do much else.

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