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Latin/jazz technique - playing across the "one"

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by chuck3, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. For the jazz situations I play in, there is a lot of call to play Latin/jazz. OK with me. I decided to try to study up and got the Oscar Stagnaro book/CD, which is very helpful. The first couple of rhythmic figures, I can already do. The third, you start playing across the "one," but it's just a two-bar figure so you're back again soon. The fourth, and beyond - ha, the "one" pretty much goes away. You're just playing across it for many bars on end. Nice! But not always easy.

    Comments welcome. :bassist:
  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    It's much easier to pull off when you can "hear" the clave in your head...an actual clave is even better! :D

    More so than the rhythmic aspect, I still find it odd to play the chord in the next measure while everyone else is still on the "old" chord.
  3. Ah, funny you should say that. I thought it was just me. I'm trying to bring some Latin feel to my regular (non-jazz) band, and that is definitely an open point.
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Our own BAJO (Carlos Henriquez) has a vid on Mike's Masterclasses. Quite good and worth the dinero. He talks a little bit about salsa and how the tie into 1 works and how all that stuff relates to jazz too.


    IMO, if you want to see how it works in the big picture, there's no replacing learning how to dance it. Basic salsa isn't hard and will open up how the music and clave fits in. It's not just music or just a dance, it's an entire culture and has it's own heritage. And the bass is a huge que for the dancers - I almost completely rely on it on the floor. You probably don't even need more than one or two salsa lessons. Just learn how to do a basic turn. You learn the some of the culture, the groove, and how to show off the ladies in one swell foop.

    Personally, I don't see how musicians pass off playing Salsa without knowing a single step. Yeah sure you can do it, but it makes wonder if they really know what they're doing and the meaning behind it.
    Jhengsman likes this.
  5. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Those legit Latin feels can be really rough man, its somthing i work on constantly and feel like i need improvement.

    Start with the clave, And be able to clap it. Work on it while you are walking. Snap it or just use vocal sounds and use your steps to keep a beat. Make sure you can do both the 3/2 and the 2/3 clave.

    Here is how i worked on getting into the mambo feel, which does not have to return to "one"

    Start with your bossa or standard jazz "latin" groove.

    that one is pretty easy. lock it in.

    Move to your "Mambo" Groove. The book i have has two variation, the two bar version |1, and of 2, 4| and 2, 4| and the i guess "double time" |1, and of 2, 4|One, And of two, four|

    Work on the "Double time" feel first. then move into the two bar mambo.

    Now the kicker. If you can tap the clave with your foot and do these mambo grooves you will be well on your way. Its really rough. Really really rough, but it will take you far.

    I used latin grooves in my prog metal band, and no one noticed. Sounded pretty sick too.
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    First thing I would do is not think of it as "playing across the one". The tumbao is mostly about playing the 5th of the chord on the "and" of 2 and the root of the chord on beat 4. Different from most bass lines where you play the root of the chord on beat 1. Listen to as much latin music as you can and I don't mean bossa nova, that's another style all together with a different pulse.
  7. chicagodoubler


    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Please do a search. This is discussed ad nauseum.

    Also, be aware, with much respect to Oscar Stagnaro, book learning ain't the real world. Modern salsa bassists use that pattern some, but also use a hundred other ones. The anticipation (beat 4) thing is not as common as you might think.

    Check out the king, Oscar d'Leon, on a tune like "Llororas." Also, the young guns, La Charanga Habanera. Therein you will see that salsa can be simpler, or FAR more complicated than just 1, &of2, and 4.
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA


    Oscar De Leon is awesome. Got to see him at one of the Calle 8 festivals in the 90's along with Celia and El Gran Combo all on separate stages. Crazy.
  9. tinyd


    Mar 11, 2003
    +1 to Violen's suggestion about learning to tap the clave with your foot while playing - it helped me hugely. It's also worth listening to the piano montuno. IMHO the 'standard' tumbao (where you play on the & of 2 and 4) can sound weak in a band setting without a strong montuno, or where the rhythms that the band are playing move away from the more 'authentic' clave-centered patterns. In the band I play with, this can vary enormously, and I often end up playing the one to compensate.
  10. hairscrambled

    hairscrambled Commercial User

    Feb 1, 2006
    Albuquerque, NM
    Store owner, Grandma's Music & Sound
    Drummer Dafnis Prieto said at a clinic - in American music one is the most important beat - in Latin music it's not.
  11. thanks for all the helpful comments. Although I'm not a master of all the styles that rely on the one, I'm pretty good at most of them. The Latin style is challenging in a completely different way. I'm moving ahead with it, though. All the posts on this thread were insightful, even the one suggesting that I have to learn how to dance the salsa. Never a bad idea, you don't know who you might meet. :D:bassist:
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It is awkward in Jazz groups - where the band is usually looking to the bass player to give a big clue about where the 'one' is - especially when the drummer is fiddling about with stuff and the pianist is being "hip"....;)

    Of course if the band is dedicated to playing those kind of rhythms then the whole band is taking responsibility for the thing locking together, with the clave being the key! You usually have 2 or 3 percussionists who are also providing the clues.

    It is where Jazz bands are doing this kind of thing on a "part-time" basis that it comes unstuck, as everybody wants to sound hip and tries variations that don't work, leading to an inevitable train-wreck! :D
  13. gbftats


    Oct 26, 2010
    Angels Camp, CA
    The best thing you can do to learn latin music is listen to latin music. You have to understand the differences between a Mambo and Rhumba clave and leave all the things you learned about Western music behind you. Check out Ray Baretto, Poncho Sanchez, and Ruben Blades to name a few. Latin music is all about the groove
  14. Cachao was an amazing upright player and arranger. Owned the groove well into his eighties.
  15. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    Like it's already been mentioned, start listening to a lot of "latin", "salsa" or whatever you call it. But have in mind that "latin" is not a genere. What most people think of as latin is a mixture of a lot of different stiles that I like to call Afro-caribbean (not my idea). There's: son, rumba, mambo, chachacha, bolero, danzón, guaguancó, merengue, guaracha, salsa, etc. and etc. and etc. each one with it's own distinctive character, sound and "clave". Also, have in consideration that all this different musics have evolved through time, just like jazz; old new orleans jazz from the 1910-1920 is not the same as big band swing or bop. The same happens with "latin"; the old soneros from pre-revolutionary cuba din't sound just like the new stuff like la charanga habanera or cuban dance hall music from the 50's like Cachao y su Ritmo Caliente. OK I'm rambling here, the point was... there's a lot of different sounds to "latin", get to know them all, or at least the ones you're interested in.

    About the 4 tied to the 1... I feel it like a "pull". Most "latin" feels very laid back and that tie gives the whole band that forward pull so everybody can get to the next measure. Most of the time I find myself tapping my right foot in half notes and that keeps me tight and feeling that pull.
  16. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    In my dance band's book we have a mambo chart that has extensive "across the one" feel to it. You really have to learn this stuff cold, and then lock in with a good drummer, and if possible, an auxiliary percussionist, because a lot of times it is auxiliary percussion that has the "one," which is why the bass and primary percussion are across the one.

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