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The Roots of Timba, Pt I - 1949-Me boté de guaño
1949 Arsenio Rodríguez - Me boté de guaño
xx0x 0xxx 0xx0 xx0x 2-3 son clave
xxx0 0xxx 0xx0 xx0x MIDI example 1 -- audio
0xx0 0x0x 0xx0 0x0x MIDI example 2 -- audio
bassist: Lázaro Prieto
notes: By 1949 Arsenio and Lilí were, simply, "in the zone". Unique and beautiful new ideas were flowing freely into every new arrangement, even boleros like No me llores más (source: Dundunbanza). Me boté de guaño is no exception.
The first tumbao, marking clave a la timba, uses the flamenco progression that would become the bread and butter of Manolito y su Trabuco and Orquesta Revé. After the piano solo, the transition into the diablo features two chromatic passages moving in contrary motion, leading to the second tumbao, which is less remarkable for its clave-neutral bassline than it is for the modern and energetic feel of the whole section. Finally, the coda uses a completely unsyncopated martial trumpet fanfare in a quirky and creative way which predates the late-60s recordings of the Beatles, giving new meaning to the line "it was twenty years ago today ...". I'm not saying, mind you, that Paul McCartney, James Jamerson or Jack Bruce listened to Arsenio, but the more I delve into the histories of Cuban and North American music, the more I see the "degrees of separation" dissolving before me.