Latin Jazz Method Books
Rebeca Mauleón-Santana, Sher Music Co., 1999 – The critically-acclaimed Salsa Guidebook for Piano and Ensemble creates the ultimate resource for the aspiring as well as the seasoned Afro-Caribbean pianist. The book explores the range and variety of the piano’s role in popular Afro-Caribbean music, from its early beginnings to the latest in contemporary styles, form the basis of modern-day Salsa and Latin Jazz, from the Cuban danzón and songo to the Puerto Rican bomba and Dominican merengue. Standard reference book for all Latin piano players.
Nelson Faria, Sher Music Co., 1995 – This is the classic guitar study for all Brazilian styles, with a variety of comping styles. Includes short transcriptions of guitar parts as recorded by Toninho Horta, Joao Bosco and Joao Gilberto.
Neff Irizarry, Sher Music Co., (From the Sher website) Traditional lines from the Tres, cuatro and requinto adapted to the guitar in the style of Arsenio Rodriguez, Yomo Toro, El Güero Gil, etc.
Piano adaptations and solutions for the guitar patterned after Bebo Valdes, Clare Fischer, Eddie Palmieri, etc.
Step-by-step instruction on how to play guajeos, montunos and other Afro-Cuban styles on guitar. Transcription and analysis of key guitarists, composers and arrangers such as George Benson, Chico O’Farrill, Clare Fischer, Stan Appelbaum, Cal Tjader and La Playa sextet
Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner, Manhattan Music/Warner Brothers Pub., 1994 — My favorite “Afro/Cuban” drum set book. Great information and nice applications to jazz and other styles as well. Not a beginner’s book, but not too much information either. CD included is great for examples, but not a “play along.” Good background info on each rhythm presented. Some traditional folkloric parts included as well.
Mark Walker, Berklee Press 2009 – Latin drumming great Mark Walker has put together a very wide ranging and comprehensive book of Latin drum set patterns. Not in depth on any, but great for “go to” patterns of many obscure Latin patterns. From Amazon: “It presents many learning opportunities and challenges, especially for drums and percussion. Learning grooves from Africa, Latin America, South America, and other regions will make you a more complete musician, and give you more ideas for creating your own sound and solos. You will learn to: * Incorporate world instruments into a standard drum kit * Coordinate stick, foot, hand techniques to enrich your palette of articulations * Play dozens of world grooves * Includes CD.
Bossa Nova and Samba, Henrique C. De Almeida, Carl Fischer Music, 2005 — This book offers the reader an in depth look at Bossa Nova and Samba rhythms including the cultural origins, applications and role in Brazilian society. Almeida clearly gives drummers the tools that they need to incorporate these styles and a myriad of their variants into their own drumset technique, adding a new scope to their sound while achieving and authentic Brazilian feel. CD1 – Examples CD1 – “Play Along” featuring the Brazilian Jazz Project. (From the Amazon.com review)
Douglas Auwarter, 1991 — A very practical and authentic drum set book that covers many Latin styles, both clave-based, Brazilian and Caribbean. All the patterns are authentic and clearly written out. This book also contains rhythm section parts for piano and bass. A thorough collection of parts with basic back ground on the styles. Great for drum set and rhythm section players.
DRUMS AND PERCUSSION:
David Garibaldi, Jesus Diaz and Michael Spiro, Alford’s Publications, 1999 — Great source of authentic Cuban percussion scores and styles. Also includes extensive scores of trio-percussion arrangements by the authors. The back of the book has advanced drum set patterns by David Garibaldi. CD of compositions included. More advanced and for students of Afro-Cuban music.
Michael Spiro, Sher Publications, 2006 — The most complete and comprehensive resource for serious conga players on the market. A lot of technique information, improvisation and vocabulary, clave concepts and exercises. Not a good resource of basic tumbao patterns and other basic patterns. This is for advanced and serious students. Highly recommended. Comes with CD.
CONGAS, TIMBALES and BONGO
Michael Spiro, Michael Coletti, Sher Music Co., 2016 — Another great product from Michael Spiro along with Michael Coletti. This transcription book provides conga and timbale transcriptions from the “masters,” such as Manny Oquendo, Tito Puente, Orestes Vilató, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, Armando Peraza and more. Play along tracks and etudes derived from the solos also provide excellent practicing tools.
Funkifying the Clave:
Afro-Cuban Grooves for Bass and Drums
Lincoln Goines, Robby Ameen, Manhattan Music Publications, 1993 — A book for Afro/Cuban bass and drums with specific parts, charts and styles. The level here is advanced. Comes with CD.
The Latin Bass Book
Oscar Stagnaro, Chuck Sher, Sher Music, 2005 — A very complete and well-written book on Afro-Cuban bass playing. Excellent examples and three CDs that have a solo tracked bass part on one channel so students can listen and play along. Outstanding book and highly recommended.
New Ways of Brazilian Drumming
Sergio Gomes, Advance Music (AV.13016) — A contemporary vision regarding Brazilian rhythms for drumset, including history and percussion scores for those rhythms, from the traditional patterns to the new concept of “Brazilian Claves.” More for the advanced drummer. The CD showcases all rhythms and several exercises, as well as play-along. Note: This book is not published in the USA, but is available on-line. Expect a long wait and make sure to specify the English language version.
Brazilian Music Workshop
Antonio Adolofo, Advance Music – Another great resource: This book basically gives the reader detailed, in depth and comprehensive information about about region-specific Brazilian musical styles. These include the more well known styles, but also many from the Northeast part of Brazil, including toada, afoxé, maracatu and frevo among others. It’s a comprehensive approach with rhythm/percussion patterns, rhythm section examples, listening references, great play-along examples on CD (with real musicians and wonderful tunes) and digital examples of many of the single examples. A great book to keep next to you for authentic, in depth and clear information on the wide world of Brazilian music. Highly recommended.(Note: Musical examples all written using 8th notes in 2/2 meter, a very non-Brazilian way to write music, but perhaps an editorial decision for easier comprehension).
The book is available on Amazon.
The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion and Drum Set
The Essence of Brazilian Percussion and Drum Set
Ed Uribe. Warner Bros — Extremely comprehensive books with great source material and exercises for rhythm section, percussion and drum set. These books are very complete, with a lot of background information. The CDs are good but have flaws in the tracking information. Highly recommended.
Rebeca Mauleon, Sher Music Co., 1995 — Comprehensive guidebook to Cuban based music with rhythm, piano, bass and some ensemble examples. Lots of history and background information included. No drum set information given.
Brazilian Music Workshop
Antonio Adolfo. Advance Music Co., 1993 — A great book for understanding and playing Brazilian music for all instrumentalists. Good examples and explanation of rhythmic phrasing, rhythmic exercises and comprehensive look at Brazilian music styles.
Birger Suslbruck, Den Rytmiske Aftenskoles Florag, 1982 — Highly recommended (though now slightly dated), this resource book is still the benchmark for basic information about instruments and rhythms of Latin America (including Brazil). Includes scores and breaks and lots of illustrations for learning parts. The video is excellent. No drum set. (cassettes and video tape)
Afro-Brazilian Percussion Guide
Kirk Brundage. Alfred Publications, 201 — A very comprehensive and nicely formatted book about the folkloric, Afro-Brazilian traditions found mostly in the Bahia region. This music is closely related to Afro-Cuban Santeria as they share many of the same West African roots. Includes drum scores, songs, typical arrangements and fantastic history and list of resources. Highly recommended. No CD.
Inside the Brazilian Rhythms Section
Nelson Faria and Cliff Korman, Sher Music Co., 2001 — A very authentic book that gives good but advanced information on piano, guitar, bass and drums parts, all with play-along tracking on the CD. The tunes are very good and the musicians are outstanding, but the material is advanced. Not for young players. Good resource for understanding basic RS concepts in Brazilian music.
Muy Caliente! – Afro-Cuban Play-Along
Rebeca Mauleon, Socar Stagnaro, Oertes Vilato. Sher Music, 2005 — A collection of Afro-Cuban based rhythm scores that focus on short, 8 – 32 bar grooves. Good for examples of specific Afro-Cuban styles with CD of examples. Great players playing authentic parts.
The Latin Real Book
Sher Publications, 1997 — A very thorough “Real Book” of Latin/jazz standards, with versions for C, B flat and E flat instruments, as well as many vocals. Very well done, but a lot of information crammed into each page, which can be confusing. Good additional material and references included. Includes Cuban, Brazilian, Salsa and contemporary Latin/jazz tunes.
The New Easy Latin Real Book
Sher Publications, 2012, This series of books (C, Bb, Eb, Bass Clef) contains entry level and intermediate level lead sheets with horn and R.S. information provided. Some contemporary and classic Latin jazz tunes from Cuba, Brazil and Caribbean traditions. https://www.shermusic.com/9780991077397.php
Michael Spiro’s website for distributing a wealth of knowledge on the art of playing congas and the Afro Cuban musical tradition. The site has numerous video examples and instruction on all manner of topics. Definitely designed for the serious student, but full of invaluable information and step by step instruction on technique and specific rhythms. Subscription required.
A companion site to the above website, this one focuses on Brazilian drumming and music, with Michael Spiro and renowned Brazilian Master drummer Jorge Alabê. Many of the styles covered are Afro-Brazilian rhythms and again, designed with the serious student in mind. Invaluable and hard to find information with over 75 dvd quality videos. Subscription required.
Latin Music Recordings & Instruments Websites
An Iowa-based full service instrumental and music equipment store. West Music is a long standing full service store and on line services with extensive outreach and educational component.
The official site of the Latin Percussion instruments. LP is the oldest and most well-known provider of Latin percussion instruments. The company has expanded to include Brazilian and Caribbean instruments, but Cuban instruments (congas, bongos, timbales) are their specialty.
Introduction To The Conga Drum
Sher Music, 2008 — This instructional DVD is for beginners, or anyone needing a solid foundation in good conga drum technique. Introduction To The Conga Drum is a comprehensive DVD designed to show beginning conga drummers all the basics of how to play the drum correctly. Divided into three parts, the DVD covers fundamental technique as well as applications to Afro-Cuban rhythms.
Giovanni Hidalgo: In the Tradition DVD
Alfred’s Publications — For a look at conga drumming at a masterful and virtuosic level, any DVD by Gionvanni Hildalgo will be an eye opener. Plenty of instructional material here, but recommended more as an example of conga playing from one of the great masters of the instrument.
Latin Jazz Grooves:
Featuring Victor Mendoza, Berklee Workshop
Hal Leonard Publications — A good basic primer to Cuban-based Latin styles, including exercises to help build awareness and understanding of clave. Additional materials from a companion website are excellent clave-based phrase studies.
Influential Latin Jazz Arrangers
Mossman is one of the best-known and most prolific Latin-jazz arrangers in the field today. Mossman charts are always authentic, well written and usually challenging. Michael has worked closely with Hal Leonard Publications to upgrade Latin charts to make them both educational and authentic.
Hal Leonard Publications, Milwaukee, WI. — www.halleonard.com
Dr. Washut has a long history of good writing in all styles, with his Latin charts getting more and more authentic with his own development as a musician and writer. Washut is a personal friend of the author and one of the editors of this book. He publishes through:
Walrus Music Publishers, San Luis Obispo, CA — www.walrusmusic.com
Sierra Music Publications, Liberty Lake, WA — www.sierramusicstore.com
UNC Jazz Press, Greeley, CO — uncjazzpress.com
Kendor Music, Delevan, NY — www.kendormusic.com
CL Barnhouse, Oskaloosa, IA — www.barnhouse.com
Wallace is a trombonist from the West Coast, now teaching at the IU Jacobs School of Music who has had years of playing and writing experience in the Latin-jazz genre. He has written very authentic and interesting arrangements, including some for vocalists. He publishes through:
3 -2 Music Publications, Fresno, CA — www.3-2music.com
Hernandez is a New York composer and musician who has worked extensively in movies, TV and in many well known Latin bands. His arrangements can be found at:
3 -2 Music Publications, Fresno, CA — www.3-2music.com
Mendoza is a multi-Grammy Award winner and one of the most versatile and prolific composer-arranger- conductors in the industry today. His arrangements can be found at:
3 -2 Music Publications, Fresno, CA — www.3-2music.com
Taylor is a well-known and prolific jazz arranger who has also produced a large body of Latin-jazz arrangements. His publications can be purchased through:
eJazz Lines Publications — www.ejazzlines.com
Sweeney has studied composition at Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University and has gone on to teach and work at Hal Leonard Publications. Much of his music is suitable for younger jazz bands at level 3 or 4. His charts are sold through:
Jazz Lines Publications — www.ejazzlines.com
Hal Leonard Publications, Milwaukee, WI — www.halleonard.com
Arturo O’Farrill is the son of legendary Afro-Cuban jazz artist Chico O’Farrill. He now directs the band that preserved much of his father’s music, Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. Both his charts and the ones written by his father will often reflect the classic Mambo sound of the early Latin-jazz era.
More info and publications through the website: www.arturoofarrill.com
Jules Rowell is a San Francisco based trombone player, composer and arranger. He has published numerous Latin jazz arrangements. Jules has also performed with such artists as Eddie Palmieri, Francisco Aguabella, Woody Shaw and Tom Harrell and has contributed Latin jazz arrangments to a variety of ensemble types.
More info here: https://julesrowell.com/bio.html
Steve Shanley (Coe College) has been developing authentic Latin charts for high school and middle school ensembles, filling a void where approachable and functional charts for young players are still musical but have authentic roots. You can find his publications here: https://www.steveshanleymusic.com/
Popular Latin Jazz Music Publishers
Three Two Publishing is the most comprehensive publishing house that is dedicated specifically to Latin music. Many publishers listed above (Wallace, Mossman, Sheller) have charts available here, as do many others. There have been problems with consistency and accuracy in scores and parts in the past, but Three Two has worked to solve those problems with some success. Since there are many arrangers that publish here, accuracy and completeness of the scores/parts can depend on who the arranger is. The customer service is excellent and any problems are addressed and followed up on. No other publisher has this much variety and volume of Latin charts.
A long-established publishing house that offers jazz band and combo charts that can be searched by “Latin” but not by style. Many charts from the arrangers listed above (including Mossman and Taylor), are available here. Hall Leonard also publishes the “Essential Elements for Jazz” series that include information regarding playing and programming Latin music for school jazz ensembles.
Functioning as something of a clearinghouse for all things jazz (published music, DVDs, etc.), eJazzLines is a comprehensive site that employs editing and quality controls to ensure excellence. Many of the arrangers listed above (Washut, Sweeny, Mossman) can be found here. Purchased charts are sent as real copies on quality paper that is 50% recycled. The website is very searchable, and Latin charts are already organized under “Afro Cuban,” Bossa Nova,” “Mambo,” “Salsa” etc., so style confusion issues can be avoided.
Although not a publisher of big band charts, Sher deserves mention here for their many publications dealing with Latin music. Rebeca Mauleón-Santana’s 101 Montunos book, Michael Spiro’s The Conga Drummer’s Guidebook and other publications dealing with Latin Music like the Latin Real Book and the Real Easy Latin Real Book, make this publishing house an important resource for understanding, learning and performing Latin music and Latin jazz.