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2: Beyond Salsa Percussion: Calixto Oviedo - Drums & Timbales: Basic Rhythms Paperback – November 25, 2010
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About the Author
Kevin Moore is the author of the acclaimed 9-volume series "Beyond Salsa Piano" and the 3-volume series "The Tomás Cruz Conga Method" and also the editor of the world's largest Cuban music website, www.timba.com. He produced, co-wrote, and played on the salsa CD "Salsa Gitana", available at latinpulsemusic.com. The CD reached the semi-final level in the 1998 Grammy Award process. The author has also written several "online books" on various aspects of Cuban music, available for free as a public service on www.timba.com.
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The book contains a very detailed introduction that explains in general all the material covered in volume 3 and which also explains the rich notation system used since Timba (modern Cuban salsa) drumming uses an assortment of bells and woodblocks, along with the timbales and the drumkit. The introduction is followed by seven chapters dedicated to a specific "gear" or section typical to the structure of Timba music (e.g. verse, chorus, breakdown). Each chapter is full of notated exercises. Finally the author gives us an appendix which covers some of the multimedia aspects that make Mr. Moore's projects so rewarding.
WHAT DOES THIS BOOK TEACH?: Beyond Salsa Percussion Volume 3 teaches drummers ideas and variations for what can be played during the most common structural sections, "gears", of a typical Timba song. Each "gear" is carefully explained and beyond the many notated exercises per chapter, the author provides the reader with important historical and musical context which, as musicians know, is important for a deeper understanding of the style and the feel. So in theory, a drummer purchasing this book will, after some diligent practice and immersion in the style, have the ability to sit with any salsa band and play something appropriate for the head of a tune ("Marcha Abajo"), the chorus ("Marcha Arriba"), the "Mambo" section (when the horns are at their most active), the different breakdowns: "Muela", "Presion", and "Masacote" (which like funk breakdowns each have a particular richness and flavor distinct from other parts of a song), and finally the epic "Bomba" section which is the wildly exciting percussive explosion that makes dancers really get moving. All of these "gear" changes are covered in detail with abundant notated exercises and variations.
WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR?: Although this book demands previous experience with Afro-Cuban/Salsa rhythms, it has plenty of study material for intermediate skill levels and more than enough brain teasers for advanced veterans. If you're a beginner then I suggest you look into "Beyond Salsa Percussion Volume 2, and Volume 1 (when it's released), before you delve into this one. This book serves as either a very valuable addition to other method books, or as a stand alone complete course on salsa drumming.
WHAT'S NOVEL AND NEW?: First, this book literally goes beyond traditional "salsa percussion" and captures some of the innovations that Cuban drummers have made since the 1990's. Second, this book is, as previously stated, based on the drumming and experience of Calixto Oviedo. It captures in words and notation what this wonderful musician plays, when he plays it, and why. Finally, by itself the book is enough, but combined with the multimedia resources that the book recommends like the companion video of Calixto playing (sold seperately), the audio tracks (sold seperately), Timba.com (the best FREE Cuban music resource on the web), and the Transcribe! program, the learning experience is greatly enhanced. The author's goal appears to be that you can read and see what is being played, hear it, and then with Transcribe! slow it all down and loop it. Then after all that you can go to timba.com and learn more about the music itself.
The book is awesome, that's my personal opinion as a drummer and fan of Cuban music. It's the book I wish I had 10 years ago when I first started playing salsa on the drums. However, unlike other instructional material out there this book does not include video or audio with the text. These must be purchased separately although in all fairness the audio and video aren't expensive, and they can be easily downloaded following the links on Timba.com to latinpulsemusic.com. The Amazon paperback version probably should have included one or the other as an optional package deal. The expanded notation system will take a moment to get used since Cuban drumming goes way beyond kick, snare, tom, hihat, and cymbals, on a staff but considering how immense the notational possibilities are for so many percussive elements and nuances (like pressing the stick on the drum, or open hand on a timbal etc.) Kevin Moore did an excellent job. The book very thoughtfully includes a legend at the beginning and at the end of the book (as well as a downloadable/printable version on timba.com) so that the resourceful drummer can tear it out or print it and tape it to the music stand for quick and easy reference.
I highly recommend this book, check out the previews on Timba.com. This is really the next level for drummers that have learned cascara, and mambo bell patterns and want to go way beyond them. These are not just adaptations of rhythms to the drums but rather innovations made by Cuban drummers MEANT for the drumkit. This book is great for people who already know salsa rhythms and for advanced funk, jazz, hihop, and even rock drummers that want to add some serious Cuban flavor to their toolkit. Short of lessons from Calixto Oviedo himself, or a few trips to Cuba, this is the best resource out there for what's happening in Cuban drumming. Good luck and have fun, I'm a drummer and a fan of Timba and all I can say is thank you Kevin, thank you Timba.com, and thank you Calixto Oviedo and all the other amazing Cuban drummers out there.