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Shrdlu

Latin percussion

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After I had played saxophones and the clarinet for many years, my attention strayed to Latin music, helped by listening to Cal Tjader and others. I ended up getting a lot of Latin percussion instruments, mostly from the "Latin Perscussion" website

https://www.lpmusic.com/products/congas

I now have a large number of their items, including all four sizes of their Giovanni Hidalgo "Galaxy" tumbas

https://www.lpmusic.com/products/congas/lp/galaxy-giovanni-signature-requinto

The four sizes in this range are requinto, quinto, conga and tumbadora. When a Blue Note album says "congas", they are the middle ones: quinto and conga.

I have most of their portable items, including all their cowbells and the Jim Greiner shekere

https://www.lpmusic.com/products/Shakers/Shekeres/Jim-Greiner-Pro-Shekere

which is a spectacular-looking piece of kit. On the Blue Note albums, it is mis-spelled checkere.

I also have the Giovanni series Prestige Timbales

https://www.lpmusic.com/products/timbales/lp/giovanni-series-prestige-timbales

The great Giovanni Hidalgo can be seen playing those in a most entertaining video here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ths6YHITLTU

Latin Percussion is a lot of fun, and i have enjoyed every moment. Highly recommended.

In a downtown club, there was a Latin percussion guy performing with house music. His son was on the DJ decks and his daughter and he played Latin percussion along with the music. He only had two-dimensional congas and timbales and a cheap crash cymbal. i wish I could have taken my real instruments with me, but parking is impossible at that location. He and his daughter were nice people, but were not very good. For months I took some of my portable Latin gear, my soprano saxophone and my Istanbul Agop 30th Anniversary crash (the best in the world) along with me and joined in. The Dad wanted to move around the room a lot, and was glad to have me play percussion. Having heard Art Blakey and Tito Puente for years, I really let it rip, including loud triplets on the crash at the end of 8-measure segments. The daughter once tried to tone it down, but the audience loved it. Once, a dancer grabbed my shekere and went around the dance floor with it, ha ha.

 

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For about 10 years, I led a quintet with lots of Latin and exotic percussion.  There were two percussionists, vibes/marimba (who also doubled on percussion), acoustic bass, and Your Beloved TTK on piano.  

I learned a lot about Latin Percussion during this time.  In particular, drum patterns working against melodies; bass patterns that do and don't work with Latin grooves; and how kit players need to adjust their approach when playing with congas or bongos.  

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I always liked some latin percussion added to regular jazz groups, starting with Dizzys first latin tunes "Manteca" "Tin Tin Deo", the Afro Cuban things of Machito with soloists like Howard McGhee and Brew Moore, Kenny Dorham "Afro Cuban" from 1955, and last not least on Mingus´ "Cumbia and Jazz Fusion" and "Three Worlds of Drums" . 
I listen less to pure latin things without context to so called "jazz". I´m not sure if I had heard Cal Tjader once....
A strange thing that was en vogue among some old or neo hippies when I was already an adult was those lot percussions outdoor in the Viena nature areas near the Danube river. There are a lot of nudists and they always had a kind of "corner" where they gathered and did some percussion sessions and certainly smoked reefers or how you call it. And they had also those strange sounding native Australian instrument that makes so strange sounds "Dinger Ringer Boom" or something like that. 
This was not really for me, I like nature, but without sounds of human beings, and I like music in clubs, concerts, at home etc.....

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6 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

I lisI´m not sure if I had heard Cal Tjader once....

You're in for a treat!

Virtually all of his (first period) Fantasy albums of the 1950s are fantastic, as are most of his 1960s albums for Verve.  

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7 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

 I like nature, but without sounds of human beings

Humans are sometimes quite unnatural. But not always.

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I heartily second the recommendation of Cal Tjader. 

The Australian instrument is the didgeridoo.

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6 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

The Australian instrument is the didgeridoo.

That's the onomatopoetic name given to it by British colonists. There are different names used by the respective Australian native ethnicities.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didgeridoo

Edited by mikeweil

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1 hour ago, mikeweil said:

That's the onomatopoetic name given to it by British colonists. There are different names used by the respective Australian native ethicities.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didgeridoo

so my onomatopoetic name "Dinger Ringer Boom" must have been a further developement from the onomatopoetic name given to it by British colonists....:D

 

 

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2 hours ago, mikeweil said:

That's the onomatopoetic name given to it by British colonists. There are different names used by the respective Australian native ethicities.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didgeridoo

Thank you.

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I knew a guy who suffered from onomatopoeia.

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The discussion of the Australian Aboriginal instrument brought to mind the berimbau.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berimbau

I have one of these. It is awkward to play indoors, because it is about 4' long and has to be held with the bottom (where the gourd part is) against the abdomen, and the top end bumps into the ceiling (at least, at my house).

It has a deep sound. It can be heard at the opening of Adham Shaikh's "Shabbadub". I couldn't find that track on its own on Youtube, but it starts at the 10:37 mark in the following

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7ST-_jK0PU

which is an upload of his album "Essence".

Adham Shaikh is excellent. He is in the back of beyond in eastern British Columbia. His groups have a lot of exotic instruments, including a bass flute from India. (I ordered one from India, but it had the left thumb hole on the wrong side, so I sent it back. It got stuck at Customs in Delhi, who refused to send it to the seller, so I never got my refund. Do not buy from India. I love the people, but they are not efficient.) I would greatly love to play in an Adham Shaikh group, but they are in a remote location, so it will never happen.

The berimbao can be heard on several other recordings. There is a piece using that as its name. Among other places, it appears on an Astrud Gilberto album arranged by Gil Evans.

 

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In essence the berimbao exists in various form of musical bows in Africa and was adopted by Capoeira practioners looking for suitable instruments to accompany their dances and martial arts practicing. There even was a musical bow of African origin played by white people in some rural US area, as Gerhard Kubik reports in hid book "Africa and the blues".

If your ceiling is too low, play sitting down or use a vertical bow type.

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can you tell me what the "african thumb piano" is and how it is played. I think I saw it as an instrumentation on some album cover but I think I didn´t really hear it or it was lost in the many other instruments....

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This is the classic book on the subject - highly recommended.

51BLcWlPslL.jpg51b-p4gv+IL.jpg

Edited by mikeweil

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On 31.12.2021 at 1:54 PM, JSngry said:

Thank you Jim, I heard it right now. 

They were quite en vogue here in the 70´s. A friend of mine who was more into pop music loved them, and as a concession of listening to "my jazz" I let him spin some stuff of that too. Fine sound the kalimba. 

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On 4.1.2022 at 5:12 PM, JSngry said:

 

This sounds very very nice ! Thank you Jim !

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On 04/01/2022 at 4:12 PM, JSngry said:

 

Love that track. I wish that album was more consistent. Same for all Lewis records, really.

Here's another Mbira classic:

 

As sampled, at length in:

 

 

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On 6.1.2022 at 1:27 PM, Rabshakeh said:

Love that track. I wish that album was more consistent. Same for all Lewis records, really.

Here's another Mbira classic:

 

As sampled, at length in:

 

 

Thanks for sharing. 

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