Latin Jazz Piano Improvisation

Clave, Comping, and Soloing

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Berklee Textbook
  • Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
  • Format: Book/CD
  • Pages: 136
  • Dimensions: 9 x 12
  • ISBN: 0-87639-141-2
  • SKU: 50449649
  • Publication Date: June 07, 2013

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Improvise on the piano in Latin music settings.

This book breaks down the harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic techniques used by the greatest artists of Cuban piano music, such as Rubén González (Buena Vista Social Club), Pedro “Peruchín” Jústiz, and Lilí Martínez Griñán. The exercises and play-along recording will help you orient yourself to Afro-Cuban grooves, and develop a sense of how to hear and use the clave as the central grounding force behind your solos and accompaniments.

You will learn to:

  • Create solos in the context of Latin grooves
  • Develop “comping” parts to accompany other solos
  • Use son and rumba clave as the rhythmic basis for your soloing and comping ideas
  • Play with idiomatic Afro-Cuban melodic vocabulary, using octaves and double/triple lead
  • Base your arranging concepts on authentic rhythms and styles, including cha cha chá and guaguancó
  • Begin and end phrases with rhythmic and harmonic precision
  • Use rhythmic displacement techniques to create polyrhythms
  • Develop your own personal style within the Afro-Cuban context

“Rebecca has compiled a great resource for answering many questions that arise in the study of Latin and Afro-Caribbean piano. In an efficient and well-organized manner, Cline has achieved a comprehensive summary of this information. She provides practical examples and methodical ways of approaching the idiomatic ideas, giving anyone the opportunity to explore and develop this powerful music. I have no doubt that this book will open and facilitate the path to many students, professionals, and anyone interested in the Afro-Cuban tradition.”

—Luis Marín, Pianist with Gilberto Santa Rosa, Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Miranda, Andy Montañez, Victor Manuelle, Tito Nieves, Humberto Ramírez, Jimmy Bosch, and many others

“This book is an excellent, methodical exploration of how to play Latin jazz. The explanations and exercises about understanding the concept of the clave are very clear and thorough, and will help you learn to create solos and accompaniment parts that capture the range of Latin grooves combined with the expressive breath of jazz. The accompanying recording sounds fantastic and is an excellent practice tool. Very highly recommended for any pianist who wants to play Latin jazz.”

—Rebeca Mauleón, Pianist, Composer/Arranger, Producer, Author, and Editor (The Salsa Guidebook, Latin Real Book, 101 Montunos and Latin Real Easy Book)

“Rebecca has put together a very informative and well researched method for the study of Afro-Caribbean piano. From Peruchín to Palmieri, she presents a lot of useful information in a very practical and organized way. The examples and exercises are all excellent and should be very helpful to anyone looking to delve deeper into the rich history of Latin American music.”

—Miguel Zenón, Performer/Composer/Bandleader, Multiple GRAMMY® Nominee, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow (SF Jazz, Antonio Sanchez, Guillermo Klein, and many others)


Rebecca Cline

Rebecca Cline has performed as a pianist with Latin jazz greats such as Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jerry…