Friday, August 3, 2018

Transcribe Damnit!

The words "Latin Feel" are familiar to most drummers. Pretty much every gig has at least a few tunes where I am asked "Let's play______(fill in the blank with a standard) but Latin...OK?" The thoughtful musician will want to respond" OK, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, Bossa, Samba, Pachanga....?!!!!!" But that thoughtful musician would probably not be asked to come back...Besides, I am so NOT going to get into the mind-numbingly diverse elements and rich musical traditions that we are being asked to represent on our instruments. (Actually, I will at some point....) Suffice to say I think it best to follow sage wisdom and shut-up and play. But make sure to play some kind of cascara on the cymbal bell, some kind of clave with a cross-stick and some kind of bombo.

Anyway, I have a go-to pattern when I am asked to play "Latin" on a gig. I learned this one by listening to Elvin Jones' playing. Here is a transcription of the basic feel he plays on the tune Mr. Night.

Now, like I said, this is the basic pattern. There are all kinds of variations such as....

These are great starting points for playing a "Latin Feel". For those interested in learning more about what this term really refers to, check out Rebeca MauleĆ³n's publications. The Sala Guidebook is like a Bible for any student of this musical tradition.

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