October 2014

Jazz Drummer’s Workshop

Syncopation Revisited

Part 5: Afro-Cuban Applications

by Steve Fidyk

Welcome to part five in our continuing series on ways to interpret the classic Ted Reed book Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer. This time we’ll apply Afro-Cuban ideas to the written manuscript. The following applications can be used with any of the seventy-two repetitive one-measure examples from pages 29, 30, and 33–36, the thirty-two-measure rhythmic melodies from pages 37–44, or the accented-8th-notes section that begins on page 46.

At the core of Afro-Cuban music is clave. Check out the music of Mario Bauzá, Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo, Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, and Michel Camilo. Listening to Afro-Cuban music will help you recognize and feel the foundational clave rhythm, which is critical when playing in this style.