Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Afro Blue bass line

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by tornadobass, May 4, 2004.


  1. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    I'm trying to learn the bass line for Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue." The recording quality is a little muddy and I can't hear exactly where it's going.

    It seems like the bass line doesn't exactly follow the chords in my Real Book.

    Any suggestions, charts, etc?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I play Afro Blue in my large Latin band - Afro Cuban 6/8 kind of thing - where the bass basically play in 3, but the feel is 6/8.

    So - what might be putting you off is the head is different to the blowing changes (longer)- also the head throws in an extra bar where the clave reverses 3-2 to 2-3 - common trick in this kind of music!

    But the blowing is over a very standard Minor Blues, although in 6/8 of course !!
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I was curious about your reference to Real Book - so I just went and dug out mine - the version in "The Latin Real Book" (as played by John Coltrane) bears no resemblance at all to the one I play!!! ;)

    So - here's what my band plays :

    Head
    (A) (repeated)
    Dm/Gm/A7+/Dm
    Dm/Gm/A7+/Dm
    C/C/Bb,C,Dm/Dm
    C/C/Bb,C,Dm/Dm

    Clave reverse - one extra bar of Dm

    (B) Repeated

    Dm/Gm/A7+/Dm
    Dm/Gm//A7+/Dm

    (C)
    C/C/Bb,C,Dm/Dm

    Solos are over a minor blues form in D Minor

    Dm,Gm, Bb7,A7alt ...etc.
     
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Bingo!

    Before the Real Book, all folks had were bound volumes of photocopies of Broadway lead-sheets with ukelele chords. And about half the ukelele chords were wrong! The Real Brook brought, say, ninety-percent accuracy to the band-stand. Unfortunately, that still means you're gonna be off ten percent of the time.

    Good for you for trying to work from the recordings. There is no substitute.
     
  5. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Thanks...that solves the main problem I was hearing. The Real Book...at least in my bootleg of a bootleg bass clef version...has these changes at the head:

    Fm - Gm - Ab

    We play in Dm, though, because we're a blues band and the lead is played on chromatic harmonica...only good for Dm. That would give us:

    Dm - Em - F

    That gives it an overly dark feel compared to the Dm - Gm - A7. Perhaps that's the Coltrane changes, versus the Santamaria original.

    I'd caught the minor blues part for solos, as well as the section with starting with the C. Will need to look into the clave and clave changes.

    The 6/8 over 3/4 makes it a challenge starting after the drummer takes a few bars...the 3/4 downbeat just isn't there!

    One other question...the piece begins just on the Dm chord for a few bars....the bass plays root-V-octave...does it feel awkward to you, too? The octave D is hard to get tone out of with the pinky.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - I had that problem the first few times we played this - so our band often starts this as a conga/percussion feature and the drummer inisisted on playing in 4 with the bass drum, while everything else was in 6/8 - then it was up to me to bring the D minor vamp in on my own!! :eek:

    I threw the whole band off loads of times!! :D But that drummer's switched to percussion and since we had a new drummer, I haven't had any problem - but I have been playing this for about 4 years now!!

    I think the way to do it, is to internalise the clave pattern and how that sounds with the 3/4 bass line - keep that going in your head and ignore what the percussionists do !! Then when it's time, just come in with what is in your head!! ;)
     
  7. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    If you miss...sounds like that doesn't happen, though...the band can adjust before the melody begins, yes?
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Err... probably not - in the band I was talking about, if I got this wrong, the horn players were thrown into turmoil once it gets going - especially when you get to the clave reversal!! ;)