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Afro-Cuban, Salsa, Cumbia , etc --- recommend songs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bass301, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Bass301


    Jul 13, 2008
    Hello ,

    What are some very good Afro-Cuban, Salsa, Cumbia, etc style songs from any decade ?

    Hopefully including some songs more instrumental than vocal, emphasizing piano rather than lyrics.

    Thanks !

  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Check out the many records by bandleader "Cachao". His "Descarga" (Cuban jam session) series of records are my favorites. He covered a wide range of Afro-Cuban styles, mostly instrumental. His band included many musicians who are legendary on their own, so you can find more similar-quality stuff just by looking up other albums they each played on.

    For a piano focus, check out Peruchin.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    A group to check out: Jerry Gonzalez & The Fort Apache Band. They excel at both types of music... Latin and Jazz.
  4. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    Eddie Pamieri has some classic tunes (i.e. 'Vamanos Pa'l Monte' with his brother playing the montuno and soloing on organ) but his album Azucar Pa' Ti is a great fusion Latin jazz album (more Latin than jazz, but the jazz influence is clearly heard - the two trombone arrangements are wonderful)

    Check out Larry Harlow, el judío maravilloso, too. He is a Brooklyn born Jewish piano player(hence the nickname ;) ) that fell in love with salsa. A classic tune of his is 'la cartera' also 'silencio' is a personal favorite.

    I own the entire Hector Lavoe discography and would recommend it. An album to start with would be 'la comedia'. The tune 'Bandolera' off that album has an extended piano solo, so you would probably enjoy that. Also a classic tune of his would be 'aguanile' its fast and great percussion break. Salseros love dancing that tune! A personal favorite (not for religious reasons) is 'el todo poderoso'

    Newer stuff, I like Gilberto Santa Rosa (check out 'la agarro bajando' the bass is crazy on that up tempo burner. There is also a synth solo at the end) and Marc Anthony. While I don't care for him personally, the guy has pipes and a killer band.

    I could be here all day, but that should get you going in the salsa direction.

    And even though I am of Mexican decent, there wasn't much Cumbia played in my house. We were thoroughly nyrican-ized :D
  5. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    The first thing that comes to mind after reading your request is the instrumental track featured in some of the Sonora Ponceña albums. Enrique "Pappo" Lucca is a superb pianist and arranger that has created terrific music. Here's what I'm talking about:

    Satin 'N' Lace

    Night Love

    Homenaje A Tres Grandes Del Teclado

    And of course there's the great Ricardo "Richie" Ray:

    Sonido Bestial

    Overture Medley

    Bomba Camará

    This song from El Conjunto Clásico has a piano solo that I particularly like (Sonny Bravo on piano):

    Olga Y Margara

    NG La Banda is a terrific Timba band:

    La Bruja

    This is a performance not to be missed:

    From Within

    And I can't avoid mentioning the arrangements made by Norwegian pianist Sverre Indris Joner to some classical works:

    Cinco Salsa

    Speaking of Cumbia, I can't think of any songs that really stand out from an instrumental standpoint. Cumbia is a very "light" genre made primarily for people to dance, without any high pretensions, and the simpler the better. Colombian Cumbia (which is very different to the Cumbia made in countries like México, for instance) is a very valuable genre from a folkloric standpoint, but again you'll hardly find a Cumbia based on technical prowess or skilled arrangements (unless we are talking of a Latin Jazz adaptation).

    Hope you like what you are going to hear from this post. Please let me know if it's what you are looking for or if you want different recommendations. :)
  6. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    +1 cachao is the man. i especially like his album 'master session vol 1'.

    for more recent stuff, the harlem experiment is pretty awesome. not exactly 'pure' or 'straight' afro-cuban, but it's an interesting contemporary look at the afro-cuban traditions of harlem by some of the greatest musicians from that area.
  7. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011

    Excellent selections.

    I'd like to add that it has been my experience that the most instrumental, "musician-oriented" tunes in the afro Cuban/salsa genre is still meant to keep people moving.

    that's the beauty of afro Cuban music - it can be enjoyed by the dancer and musician equally, and there is a lot of interplay between musician and dancer in a live performance.
  8. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    If you are interested in playing that bassline, I have a video in my channel playing it. Hopefully it will help:

  9. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    Sweet playing dude!

    I kept on thinking, "is he gonna go for the slap part at the end?" I'm glad you did!

    ¡Usted toca el bajo como un profesional! :thumbup:;)