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LATIN IMPROVISATION
ALBERTO BETANCOURT

LATIN JAZZ:
If you play jazz with a swing feeling and with some latin elements... you are really playing latin jazz. Take the basic swing standard pattern:

Change snare for ride in second time... as mute conga, add air tom as high conga... and You have the easiest pattern to improvise on Latin swing: Play eighth-note sounds with swing beat. Compare the standard swing patterns with theese two latin swing patterns:

Improvise freely over a seventh chord, or a minor seventh, or over a IIm7 V7 for a lot of bars.... and you are playing a nice latin jazz. Left hand with syncoped chords or with free repetitive bass figures. At Albetans Area you may find How to play SALSA. There You will get elements for latin style improvisation.

MAMBO:
Very funny is improvising on mambo rhythm: Mambo is a latin rhythm very useful to improvising... In any rhythm you may insert, as a chorus, a free mambo section. Use only one or two chords... a great force in rhythm section! The elements of this rhythm are: Tempo: between 120: slow mambo and 210: fast mambo. Percussion instruments are played as in General Midi configuration.

In last stave You have the drum-set alone... If you add a few of the other latin percussions, your rhythm section will be more exciting.

3 Piano and bass patterns for mambo:

same bass Silence in first beat and bass in third and fourth beat are very exciting. Improvise on a few bars over a V7 chord in Mambo... In the same way, you may improvise on one seventh or minor seventh chord during a lot of bars... in mambo, or any variation of salsa, in a slow, medium or fast tempo Make progressions with II V patterns... With I V7 V7 I paterns.... You may create your own rhythm and bass figures freely, aplying a few elements of salsa or mambo.

LATIN-ROCK:
When you play rock with some elements of latin music, you are playing latin rock. Take the basic rock patern:

And transform it into a latin rock pattern: Cow-bell or wood-block marks tempo beats... Air toms play as congas.... Bombo in first beat, between 2 & 3, and in fourth time.

You may beguin with easy chord progressions and repetitive figures in bass and piano or guitar. For instance, use this pattern for a chacha-rock, like the style of Santana: Take a medium tempo, as 126:

Solo Piano? Play always the bass part.... during a few bars play the upper stave... and improvise freely.... Improvise on this piano and rhythm patterns, and you will be sounding in a very latin wave, as Santana in seventhies... Latin jazz is the eassiest way for learning jazz improvisation... because the chord background is very simple...

5 You may play over chord notes.... over scale notes.... over pentatonic scales... and over all 12 sounds of chromathic scale as embellishment notes.... no counting bars... no memory of progressions... and everything sounds good!!! You are completely free to play anything... but with a steady rhythm. Practice... practice.... practice... as the philosophy of a good jazz student. Enjoy the latin soul and good luck.