Beyond Salsa Bass Vol.3 - Salsa, Songo & The Roots of Latin Jazz - Afro-Cuban & Latin Bass Instruction

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Giras: Rivera, Mario "Mayito"
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Sunday, 13 November 2011, 12:42 PM

Timba's Funk and Progressive Cousins

Sergio Valdes y Elevense - Interactivo - Palo

A couple of weeks ago, we observed that the Latin GRAMMY awards didn't appear to being paying that much attention to Timba as a genre.  This is not so much a complaint about whom is getting recognized - there is some worthy music getting recognition - but rather that Timba doesn't seem to be registering on the radar.  For some reason, the regular GRAMMY awards have done a better job with this over the years with Los Van Van winning an award over a  decade ago and the nominations of Tiempo Libre more than once.  Unfortunately for many excellent bands around the world, the regular GRAMMY rules stipulate that the recording be a US release, and the genre is now a global one, so we still have a vacuum that needs to be addressed.

We observed that there is a case to be made for either creating a separate category for Timba (where does it really belong right now?  Salsa? Contemporary Tropical? Traditional Tropical? Urban?)  or combining it with some of its cousins for a new category.  Here are three bands - two from Cuba and one from the US - that don't quite fit the usual labels people try to apply to the music. 

First up is Sergio Valdes y Elevense, from Cuba, who were featured in some of the soundtrack of the recent film Juan de Los Muertos:

Next is Interactivo,  one of the best and musically diverse bands in Cuba that many Americans aren't familiar with:

Finally, from Miami,  Florida, here's a fairly new video from Palo! : 

So what is the point, you ask?   What do these have in common with each other or with Timba for that matter?  Two things:  1. This is all as "Latin" as it gets, but where does it all fit in the category structure of the Latin GRAMMY awards?  2. Like Timba, this  other music is underexposed in North American media markets. I'm not really sure that these bands belong in the same pot with Timba, but they are examples of an entire spectrum of the music that is intelligent, exciting, and relatively ignored compared to  more traditional and/or commercial recordings.  

The lack of media exposure is the more important issue of the two, and in the near future, we will begin an in-depth series on how Timba and other progressive Cuban music is received in the US,  how it is all treated by our media (especially radio), and how these things are all connected.    Stay tuned.  

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Saturday, 12 November 2011, 01:24 AM

Melón with David Murray

David Murray is at Yoshi's this weekend (not with Melón), but here he is on youtube with Melón playing a killer solo on El bodeguero - Melón's solo begins at 7:30. Check it out, meng.

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Friday, 11 November 2011, 05:26 AM

Beyond Salsa Piano Vol. 11

Available at 11:11 on 11-11-11!

Beyond Salsa Piano Volume 11 - Cesar Pupy Pedroso - Los Van Van - Los Que Son Son - Cuban Music NewsAs everyone knows, timba geeks are as superstitious as baseball players, so I'm releasing Volume 11 of Beyond Salsa Piano, the second on Pupy Pedroso, at 11:11 today, 11-11-11 (Nov. 11, 2011). The convergence of all those elevens was just too tempting. And if you're really a crazy numerologist, consider that PupyPedroso, BeyondSalsa, and TimbaDotCom each have eleven letters! Of course, "coincidence" also has eleven letters ...

But in ANY case, Volume 11 covers Pupy's work with Van Van in the mid-80s, during which time he wrote several of the songs Los Que Son Son now plays live, like El buenagente and Calla calla. For these, we include complete piano/bass charts of the modern versions he's playing now. So, the book (144 pages) and its companion audio product (94 tracks) will hopefully go live at 11:11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, but there's a small chance that it will get delayed to 11:11 p.m. [Kevin Moore]

LINKS: Physical Book - eBook - Audio Files

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Wednesday, 09 November 2011, 07:31 PM

Timba News In Review for November 10, 2011

Team Cuba Documentary - Belgrade Festival - Maykel Blanco Videos

Havana en Belgrado

¡Timba en Serbia! Ya tu sabes. Can't get tired of saying timba is an international phenomenon. This three day Cuban music & dance festival open with a performance tomorrow from Manolito y su Trabuco on November 11, 2011. World-class dancers and instructors are featured throughout.

Finally! Cool videos from Maykel Blanco's US tour are surfacing on youtube. Maykel's band was TIGHT and very well rehearsed. Here's a take on Esto está from New York's packed S.O.B's show. 

Word on the street (pun intended) is that Washington D.C. has a new timba band called TIMBA STREET. They will be playing in New York at the Kennedy Center on November 21rst. A dance floor will be installed. Dance instruction will be provided at 5 p.m. by Casineros. Part of Swing, Swing, Swing. Haven't heard anything yet of quality from Timba Street, mostly partial live segments in need of a tune up. 

And this from La Timbera Mayor Michelle White - If you need a serious recalibration, turn up the volume (the audio level is pretty low) on this excellent documentary on the roots of Timba and the famous Team Cuba. For a complete report on the Team Cuba concerts, musicians, etc. see

This documentary includes concert clips and interviews with Juan Formell, José Luis Cortés, Adalberto Álvarez, Issac Delgado, Manolín El Médico de La Salsa, Paulo FG, David Calzado, Mayito Rivera, Ralph Mercado, Julio Montalvo and José Loyola.

Special thanks to the following people: Richard Ortega López, Kevin Moore, Gabriel Wilder, Curtis Lanoue, Orlando Fiol, Magnus Lindgren and to the people at SF for inspiring me to subtitle this video and make the information available to a wider public and maybe help answer the question "what is Timba?". If you're already a fan, this documentary is an important historical document. If you're not into timba, maybe it will at least give you an idea of why the rest of us are so crazy about it .

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