Recommended Recordings To Practice With

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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Thomas Altmann » Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:57 pm

Siete Leguas:

Monguito is nice! I just listened to a few passages. That's indeed a conjunto. I wasn't familiar with his music. Personally, I have never been really exited about the SAR productions, because the music is mostly so simple. But it's good and solid dance music, and, as you said, probably well-suited for playing timbales along.

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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Siete Leguas » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:27 am

Hey Faniatic and Thomas,

yes, Ramón Quián "Monguito El Único" is perhaps not among the top most famous singers, but he is definitely one of my all-time favourite Soneros. Glad that you guys like him too. His style of "inspiraciones" was very special (often repetitive, short, "simple" pregones). It seems to me that he must have especially looked up to Miguelito Cuní and Conjunto Chapottín (the same way that Papaíto seemed to have Abelardo Barroso and Cheo Marquetti as referents). Before those SAR recordings, he had worked with stars like Arsenio Rodríguez and Johnny Pacheco, as well as in some interesting productions with African and Afro-Antillean musicians, also very nice. I would love to find out more about him and his career, anyway.

Monguito's singing and those kind of recordings in general have something that moves me. I agree that it is rather simple music, but to me, the (apparent) simplicity, the repetitiveness and the subtle, tasteful variations is where lies the beauty of this music. I think that's also the reason I love other African-derived genres, including Hip-Hop and Techno.

Thomas Altmann wrote:The guataca: not quite the Cuban design, but works just fine. Flea market, 1.50 DM.


It has an excellent sound. I have been looking in Flea-Markets for a nice guataca for quite a while now, but the closest I found so far is an old rectangular brick trowel. With a triangle beater, the sound is nice but raw; so far I have been too lazy to scratch off all the little cement pieces stuck to it.


Thomas Altmann wrote: Conjunto music and Son Montuno are only the "home of clave" as far as band music (using European instruments of definite pitch) is concerned. Son is reported to have adopted clave from Rumba; but you can go further back to the Afro-Cuban musical traditions (Carabalí, Lucumí, Bantú etc.) and as far as Central- and West Africa itself. However, I speculate that clave as a spiritualized concept, as opposed to a physical instrument playing a concrete timeline rhythm, started with Rumba. In Son, I can almost hear how it took on shape during the Septeto period and started to reign with Arsenio's music and everything that came after.


I have heard a few times about clave being added to Son through Rumba/Abakua when Son reached the Western part of Cuba, sometimes pointing even personally to Ignacio Piñeiro as the main agent. But I guess it must have been more or less collective. And I suppose Rumba was at the time traveling to the East too, if not already there, right? When I listen to some "Duo Los Compadres" or "Trio Matamoros" records (also all-time favourites!), I too think I hear the early transition (or pure coexistence) from more clave-neutral oriental-style to more clave-oriented Son.
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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Siete Leguas » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:26 am

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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Thomas Altmann » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:53 am

Hi Siete Leguas,

I have heard a few times about clave being added to Son through Rumba/Abakua when Son reached the Western part of Cuba, sometimes pointing even personally to Ignacio Piñeiro as the main agent. But I guess it must have been more or less collective. And I suppose Rumba was at the time traveling to the East too, if not already there, right? When I listen to some "Duo Los Compadres" or "Trio Matamoros" records (also all-time favourites!), I too think I hear the early transition (or pure coexistence) from more clave-neutral oriental-style to more clave-oriented Son.


I'm sure that Ignacio Piñeiro was a central figure in this evolution. Apart from the Septeto Nacional, he was Abakuá, he was a member (or even leader) of coros de clave and wrote several guaguancó compositions that are classics and Latin standards now.

I've never heard about the Rumba having travelled to the Oriente, at least at that time (1890-1920). It could have happened, though. But the point is: Did it gain a foothold there? I've often been surprised about the obvious separation between the Western and the Eastern cultural zones, and how little permeability there was (traditionally). There was some exchange after the revolution, however, when the folklore ensembles intended to incorporate some of the "other" Cuban traditions, too.

Los Compadres were founded in 1947, according to Wikipedia - which places them right in the conjunto era.

I have a recording by the Trio Matamoros where they jump the clave in "Son de la loma".

As to the SAR productions, I would like to recommend one great record by Cuban flute player Don Gonzalo Fernández to Faniatic, called "Repicao!". It is based on a Charanga formate, and it has Nicky Marrero playing timbales. Check out the title tune in particular. While Amadito Valdés, himself one of the leading Cuban timbaleros, characterized the timbales as an awkward or renitent instrument, you cannot hear this in Nicky's playing. His sound, his touch and his timing are masterful. If you can get it, listen to the original LP. The CD reissue has been spoilt in the remastering process.

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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Siete Leguas » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:24 am

Hi Thomas,

Thomas Altmann wrote:I've never heard about the Rumba having travelled to the Oriente, at least at that time (1890-1920). It could have happened, though. But the point is: Did it gain a foothold there? I've often been surprised about the obvious separation between the Western and the Eastern cultural zones, and how little permeability there was (traditionally). There was some exchange after the revolution, however, when the folklore ensembles intended to incorporate some of the "other" Cuban traditions, too.

Thanks for clarifying that. I had just assumed that Rumba and other "Afro-Cuban" cultural elements (religions, comparsas...) would have set foot in big cities like Santiago de Cuba long before the revolution. But it makes sense as the flow of people was mostly in the other direction. Do you know how it is nowadays in, say, Santiago, in terms of Rumba or other cultural practices?

Thomas Altmann wrote:Los Compadres were founded in 1947, according to Wikipedia - which places them right in the conjunto era.

That's right. In the years of Sextetos/Septetos, the founding Duo were probably busy doing other things: Lorenzo Hierrezuelo still playing Vieja Trova with stars like María Teresa Vera, and Compay Segundo playing clarinet with Matamoros, tres on guarachas with Ñico Saquito or inventing new string instruments! :)

Salud!
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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Thomas Altmann » Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:57 am

Hi Siete Leguas,

briefly, as this is slowly becoming OT:

Cutumba is playing rumbas, for example. But I cannot tell you how popular rumba is in Santiago; probably more than 50 years ago, but probably not as much as in Havana or Matanzas. What I can tell you is that Milián Galí (in Santiago) started studying batá with Jesús Pérez from 1960 on. He also brought the first fundamento set (made by Chachá) to Santiago in 1989. Galí was the first. I can also tell you that today in Baracoa (about 120 km east of Santiago), nobody knows about toques batá. They don't even know what manteca de corojo looks like. But that's certainly different in Santiago. They make initiations there, everything. But the stronghold of these traditions remains in the west.

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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Siete Leguas » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:13 am

Thank you for the info, Thomas!

Back to the original topic, this record is another jewel that I discovered through an older thread on this forum: "Cachao y su Ritmo Caliente - Cuban Jam Sessions in Miniature".
Descarga style in short-track form. With timbales!

https://www.discogs.com/es/Cachao-Y-Su- ... se/5828963

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5pZGCH ... vE&index=1
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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Thomas Altmann » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:10 am

Cachao y su Ritmo Caliente - Cuban Jam Sessions in Miniature


That's the book.

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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby Thomas Altmann » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:51 am

... and once we are here, it seems we've been trying to avoid mentioning Tito Puente.

While almost everything by Tito and his great bands is worth listening, one record specifically had helped me getting into typical solo techniques, not only for timbales: "Puente in Percussion" (https://www.discogs.com/de/Tito-Puente- ... se/3964491). Again, this is no play-along for rhythm, but another record that every timbalero should have (and study).

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Re: Recommended Recordings To Practice With

Postby The_Faniatic » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:05 am

I hadn't checked on this thread in a while, but I was pleased to see some more nice recommendations from Siete and Thomas. Thank you! I enjoyed Monguito's tracks and will definitely try to find a copy of the "Puente in Percussion" album Thomas recommended.

I've been on a bit of a music acquisition spree lately and, as there was some discussion of rumba in the thread, I wanted to share this album I picked up that you might enjoy (La Rumba Soy Yo):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2mJqvE ... rwLssU0Frk

It's an interesting recording, which you may already be familiar with. Several of the cuts feature a full band with horns, others are just congas and vocals, but I found the music really mesmerizing.

Now here's a quick update on my timbale studies for anyone who might be interested. I subscribed to congachops.com, which features pre-recorded lessons with a young and very skilled timbalero, Marcos López. At the moment, I'm focusing on basic technique - getting consistent rimshots, trying to develop a smooth abanico, etc. Yesterday, I also picked up Changuito's book, "A Master's Approach To Timbales" and have just begun working through that. This book will definitely keep me busy for a long time! Among other things, are some great independence exercises where you play a bell pattern with one hand and syncopated figures with the other that are really fun and challenging.

Another cool resource I got my hands on is "Muy Caliente" which is a playalong recording featuring Orestes Vilató on timbales. It's designed for instrumentalists to practice soloing over latin grooves, but I'm using it more as a tool to try to learn Vilató's parts. It's nice because it features them demonstrating a variety of styles - guaracha, cha-cha-cha, songo, and more.

Thanks again to everyone for the encouragement. I will continue my studies and look forward to the day when I can find some other musicians to play this incredible music with.
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