[JPL] For Jae, re-Oye Como Va/Clave

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 23 12:23:06 EDT 2006

Thanks Arturo. This past January when we were in NYC for the IAJE Candido was there. Not sure if you saw him. I had the opportunity to hang with and interview him and actually get a "clave" lessons in 4/4 and in Afro/Cuban 6/8. I had asked him about the clave and how and probably more importantly....  when to play 2/3 or 3/2. Even at 86 wonderful years of age....he paused before answering. His answer ....."the melody will tell you." I thought about that for the longest. Still do. Now every time I listen to Latin music I'm listening to the melody to determine how that relates to the clave. You're right...in that many times I've heard percussionists switch from 2/3 to 3/2 or visa versa and then back again....almost when nothing around them seems to change. I also talked with "Negro" about this and his answer was more vague. Something about just having to feel it. 
  As you might know Negro plays the clave mainly with his left foot while at the drumset with a pedal on the cowbell. It's innovative for sure. This concept by the way is mainly designed for the drumset player to take over the role of the entire percussion section. It's potentially an independence nightmare but he's one of the masters at doing it. It's very obvious on lets say Michel Camilo's "Thru My Eyes" release. I've studied that CD relentlessly. It's one of the most definitive examples of how the clave is played in Latin jazz plus how "set" players can incorporate the clave creatively. One thing though that they all understand is the importance of this rhythm in this music and to play it effectively you have to know how to ultilize it. 
  Jae Sinnett 

Arturo <arturo893 at qwest.net> wrote:

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Jae Asked <<<< And last question my friend.....on "Oye Como Va," is that
three two or two three clave? >>>

I almost forgot to answer your question, so as it is said, better late than
never. Oye Como Va is in 2-3 clave, start to finish. As you know some songs
can switch clave during its rendition but in this case it stays 2/3 all the
way through. Even for experienced Latin musicians clave can be a bear to
stick with or find. Some of the best percussionists have told they have to
wood shed and go back to the basics on ocassion to keep their clave chops in
order. Then there's the age-old debate in Afro-Caribbean Latino dance
music-salsa that will never be solved when it comes to dancing, on the one
or on the 2???????????



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