Originally Posted by jazzsnob
Phil- A lot of young(and talented no doubt, but misguided) drummers these days seem to memorize as many fancy sounding afro-cuban indepenence excercises as they can, and tons of kids have learned left foot clave for no reason other than"it's hard and impressive. " But none of these kids feel right. Any suggested listening and play-along material as far as getting the time feel and the attitude right? I know that my samba, bossa and mambo feels all need work and I don't have a lot of good records with those rhythms on them. The main album I play along to for this stuff is Cal Tjader's "Monterey Concerts" and it has some amazing bell playing from Willie Bobo, but that's about it. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated.
Hi Jazzsnob. Yes you are right. As long as they are messing around with Latin, it’s cool I guess. It’s a huge jump from playing a few patterns and learning a few beats with left foot clave, to actually getting to the point where you’re able to function in the music. Let alone solo over the clave. Part of the problem is that the way people are taught to play this music is generally flawed. There is also the problem that many of the players of this music dont understand the "western" players needs. There are many books and videos that show u patterns. But patterns alone will never get you to where you need to go. To really develop a proper feel and vocabulary especially in Afro-Cuban music, you have to get into the world of African music. The African language, an extremely deep and generally mysterious world is what’s missing in almost every Western drummers vocabulary that I hear. For the Western drummer this is a particularly difficult problem, since there is a great lack of teachers that show you how to do this. Now … I don’t want to turn this into a self promotion, but I have not seen any method that shows Drumset players how to obtain this beautiful feel, other than Efrain Toro’s and my own. Sorry, I hate to say that because it does sound like self-promotion, but it’s true. No amount of independence exercises are going to give you the phrasing necessary to sound authentic and play in clave. Beats and patterns are never ending, and also do not provide the tools to develop the necessary language. I finally realized this myself when certain key people finally took interest in my genuine struggle to learn and hipped me to this fact. I am myself a westernized player so I’m very aware of the struggle.
What I am going to do is post the central theory of my RTS method for you here in the hopes that people might really get a chance to learn the concepts that changed my life in Latin drumming. You can also go to myspace site, or my website and watch a clip from my DVD called RTS- The secret language.
Here is the RTS clip
Also I created a youtube site...http://www.youtube.com/philmaturanodrums
where there are lots of clips from my DVD. Hope you enjoy and i hope it was helpful....and thank you for asking.
Another issue is listening to music. The first thing i suggest to everyone is to start listening to BATA music. Also to get every recording by Muñequitos de Matanza. Of course...the problem is, without a method for absorbing this vocabulary...you will be sitting there for years wondering..."what the heck are those guys playing?' hahaha...that happened to me as well so ...You have to know "how to listen" and "what to listen for"
Many warm regards
PS Attached to this post is the RTS theory written out. In PDF form. It is from an article i wrote for Drummer magazine in the UK. You can also find more extensive info on that in my book "latin soloing for the drumset"