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Question about playing Latin Jazz style?


Superboy

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I've never been able to figure out how to play that latin jazz style, where the piano player plays left and right hand synchronized notes, but not just the same notes on different octaves...the notes seem to be some interval off to create that latin harmony. Can anyone briefly describe the details of this technique? Are they just thirds or something? I can't really tell. Thanks.
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Could you be more specific, maybe quoting a song you have in mind? Usually, in many latin songs, the piano has almost a percussive function, i.e. the pianist plays chords with both hands, keeping the rhytm like a percussive instrument would do (think of a conga player). If you are referring to uptempo beats like salsa, you could check the "Salsa guidebook" by Rebecca Mauleon; she also recorded a CD that is sold like a "Band in a Box" add-on.
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There were also some good articles in Keyboard back in the 1980s that went into this. I think the guy was called Sonny Bravo..

 

I've never been able to play authentic latin piano.. I usually just try and ape it by playing unison arpeggios on II-V-Is... would love to get more into it..

 

Slightly OT - Theres a track by Hadley Caliman called "That Latin Thing" from his 1976 LP Projecting on Catalyst, which has this lovely latin piano section (played by Hotep Cecil Barnard) that I've been trying to figure out for ages.. its a big dance track on the London jazz dance scene as it goes from a bop type of swing to this latin break every so many bars.. Must get that form down! ;-)

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Well, I don't know how "authentic" my playing is (probably not very), but I play Latin-style jazz and no percussionists have thrown me tomatoes or nasty looks yet, so here are my thoughts for what they're worth:

 

I assume you are talking about montunos? Sometimes it is octaves, but the same note played 3 or 4 octaves thick. Other times there is a style where I play the same rhythmic arpeggio in both hands, but different notes within the chord.

 

Anyway, I do recommend Rebeca Mauleon's 101 Montunos for that stuff. But then, there's also the more Brazilian component of Latin Jazz; and, the Latin Jazz based on the son clave or rhumba clave but not graced by Montunos. All I know about learning that stuff is listening to different artists and playing with people who know these styles.

 

Among my favorite players to learn from are Eddie Palmieri (esp. with Cal Tjader) and Chucho Valdes ... there are many others, but I seem to come back to those two.

 

I don't know if this helps, but if you can be more specific as Dreamer says, then we (or someone who knows) can be more specific in answering.

 

Cheers,

 

gg

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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If i get you right I would believe you're talking about something similar to Armando Rumba by C. Corea. He plays "syncronized" in octaves, and in other intervals. In this style of playin he's just following the chords of the tune to play the melody or to improvise.
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For basic understanding of the keyboard mode of playing in latin music or latin jazz all references of books and perhaps(?) those recordings mentioned may help.

 

There are so many variants depending on the harmonic structure of which the playing will be applied. Those structures of I IV V is Cuban tradition as is in minor mode. There is an old school and a modern school as to these variants.

 

Fingering is another issue: can be bottom-up or up-bottom (fingering 1 3 5 bot-up or 1 5 3 up-bot) this contributes to the particular so called flavor given of the keyboard player. I personnaly have not seen in any of the published methods mentioning of latin jazz keyboard to have the advanced fingering or counter rhythmics that playing the keyboards is suppose to be or of how certain players do apply them.

 

All references are just the basics and is good enough to get you by in playing. The most important thing is to follow the rule of the Clave and stick to it. Don't worry about the way others may sound of playing.

 

I've heard recordings that give credit to the reputation of the keyboard player and the playing

in the recording,their clave was off. They made their buck and got the credit, and the listener (non musician) didn't even notice.

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I think the Flavour that Superboy is hearing is as Orangefunk said just playing about with a scale melody or chordaly with the interval of a third(most commonly minor) separated by an octave or two octaves.

Effective in Jazz as well as Latin styles.

 

Check out stuff by Hilton Ruiz a master of mixing Jazz Blues and Latin.

I are an *******(CENSORED) too.
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I think you guys are understanding what I'm talking about. But a couple of you wanted me to be more specific, so here it is. I've been listening to Poncho Sanchez recently, and his piano player is the style that I am trying to learn, although it seems to be universal to all latin jazz that I hear. Specifically, I was just listening to Poncho Sanchez' "Outa Sight" album. On all of the latin tracks (ie, not the One Mint Julep and other stuff), the piano style I am talking about is pretty clear.

 

-geekgurl-

you mentioned something called "montunos". I will research that and see if that is indeed what I'm talking about. But either way, it sounds pretty close. If you don't mind, I'd love to hear more of what you have to say about it

 

-lluis garcia-

You said something about "Clave". Honestly, that term is foreign to me and I don't know what you're talking about, but I also would very much appreciate some more description about it. You seem to know a lot about it any way, so if you could just point me in the right direction, I'll be on my way.

 

-Bopbeeper-

I'll check out your suggestion and see if that's it. Thanks.

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-lluis garcia-

You said something about "Clave". Honestly, that term is foreign to me and I don't know what you're talking about, but I also would very much appreciate some more description about it. You seem to know a lot about it any way, so if you could just point me in the right direction, I'll be on my way.

 

-Bopbeeper-

I'll check out your suggestion and see if that's it. Thanks.

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-lluis garcia-

You said something about "Clave". Honestly, that term is foreign to me and I don't know what you're talking about, but I also would very much appreciate some more description about it. You seem to know a lot about it any way, so if you could just point me in the right direction, I'll be on my way.

 

-Bopbeeper-

I'll check out your suggestion and see if that's it. Thanks.

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-lluis garcia-

You said something about "Clave". Honestly, that term is foreign to me and I don't know what you're talking about, but I also would very much appreciate some more description about it. You seem to know a lot about it any way, so if you could just point me in the right direction, I'll be on my way.

 

-Bopbeeper-

I'll check out your suggestion and see if that's it. Thanks.

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-lluis garcia-

You said something about "Clave". Honestly, that term is foreign to me and I don't know what you're talking about, but I also would very much appreciate some more description about it. You seem to know a lot about it any way, so if you could just point me in the right direction, I'll be on my way.

 

-Bopbeeper-

I'll check out your suggestion and see if that's it. Thanks.

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-lluis garcia-

You said something about "Clave". Honestly, that term is foreign to me and I don't know what you're talking about, but I also would very much appreciate some more description about it. You seem to know a lot about it any way, so if you could just point me in the right direction, I'll be on my way.

 

-Bopbeeper-

I'll check out your suggestion and see if that's it. Thanks.

 

Review the clave topic in Rebecca's book and try to buy or rent the film on DvD called "Calle 54" and in the features (called side B) there is the only master class on clave by the masters themselves. Remember to set the language subtitles. Then your set for the adventure.

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Hi Superboy,

 

I will echo lluis here (and reiterate others) by recommending either of Rebeca Mauleon's books (101 Montunos and/or Salsa Guidebook) to learn more about both the concepts of montunos and clave. I couldn't say anymore on the subject, and definitely not any better, than she could.

 

She's a master, I'm a student. :)

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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A quick and dirty answer to your question, at least when comping on piano: a common device is to play the chord notes in the bass, and a diatonic third up from the chord note in the treble, a couple octaves up.

 

So for example, if you're playing over the chords G and F major, in the bass you might play some line like G, B, D, F, F, A, C. Then in the right hand it's pretty common to play the harmony up a third or fourth, so that would be, B, D, G, A, A, C, F. And often in addition you'd play the third of the chord at the same time in the RH, so that would be B, B-D, B-G, A, A, A-C, A-F to fill out the harmony a bit.

 

That device you'll hear endlessly in all kinds of latin music, including salsa where you're harmonizing a montuno. Give it a try, for any chord pattern, it's fun.

 

That's when comping . . . soloing is a different story, though you can start by building from (harmonized) montunos.

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Most of the tracks on Out Of Sight by Poncho Sanchez are in a bluesy Latin jazz funk style. "One Mint Julep" is sort of like Watermelon Man. Out Of Sight is like James Brown. Hitch It To The Horse is like Tower Of Power.

There are very few montunos on that album, although El Shing-A-Ling is salsa.

 

The Mark Levine book has a chapter on salsa piano. Learn a few of those "montunos" and you will be on your way. One of the most important things is to get used to playing on the lop sided bass patterns salsa uses (it's on beat 4 not 1) Try to learn to play the montunos in the right hand and the bass in the left hand at the same time. Don't worry too much about the clave.

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