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Se llama sabroso - ZONA FRANKA

Questions & Answers - Answers 3

(continued from Volume 2 description on previous page)

Volume 2 also has a long Biography & Discography  section. We did a two-hour interview with Calixto after one of the sessions and went through his whole life, from hilarious childhood stories (accompanied by old photos from Calixto's mom's house), to his education in the conservatories, to his early band Acheré, with Hugo Morejón and Mundo Pina of Los Van Van to Pacho, Adalberto, NG La Banda and his current adventures in Sweden and on tour with the Afro-Cuban All Stars.

Concluding Volume 2 is a glossary and a rewritten version of the clave, dance and rhythmic terms appendix first published in Beyond Salsa Piano. I'm very proud to report that this section is now being used as a text at Musicians' Institute in Los Angeles. It explains all the mysteries of terminology, clave and even "dancing on 1" versus "dancing on 2".

Volume 3 also has six major chapters, but instead of rhythms like pilón and mozambique it has gears : the four basic ones that timba and salsa share, plus the three major timba gear families, two of which, presión and masacote, are combined in Chapter 5. Calixto's style doesn't change significantly between presión and masacote, but his son Yulién's does, so Calixto shows us Yuliéns basic masacote approach with Charanga Habanera. As Issac Delgado points out in his foreword on page 1, and as the biography anecdotes confirm, Calixto has a sort of photographic memory for arrangements. When he was suddenly enlisted to play with NG La Banda, they had to tour Perú in less than two weeks, but Calixto knew their material without ever having played with them.

The chapters of Volume 3 are:

1. Marcha abajo - the styles used to play behind the cuerpo or canto of a typical salsa or timba arrangement - cáscara, jam block, hihat and so on. There are 18 different exercises.

2. Marcha arriba - 33 different styles of playing behind the coro-guía section.

3. Marcha de mambo - how the drums and timbales change when the horns comes in.

4. Muela - when the singer brings the band down to talk to the crowd, do audience participation routines and so on. Calixto has all sorts of ways to make these sections extremely interesting from a rhythmic point of view!

5. Presión (and Masacote) - now we're into the timba gears. Presión is the big piano breakdown - Calixto favors the hihat and has some unbelievably cool patterns.

6. Bomba - pulling out all the stops - the bass is sliding and thumping and the drums are in full funk mode. You can hear a couple of these (and presiones) in the preview video on the main page.

What about Volume 4 that you show pictured in various places?

On the third day of filming, we had Calixto listen to his own recordings with NG La Banda through headphones and play along: Santa palabra, Échale limón, La apretadora, La bruja, Picadillo de soya, Murakami mambo, Te pongo mal and El trágico . The results were absolutely amazing. The plan is to go through each arrangement, showing how the timba gears learned in Volume 3 are applied and making exercises out of the various song specific rhythms (e.g., Échale limón) as well as the bloques and transitions from section to section. I've started transcribing some of them and I think it will take at least two volumes to complete them all. However, I have to do the Pupy Pedroso piano books before finishing these. But don't worry, there's plenty in Volume 3 to keep even the heaviest drummers quite busy!

  What are these solos that appear as Chapter 7 of each book?

Calixto played three long solos for us, so one is included in each audio and video product and the last one will be in Volume 4. The solos are not notated. If you feel like notating all or part of one, I would be more than glad to give you my Finale template with all the special notehead and, if you want, publish it on timba.com. These books are about playing in the rhythm section, not about how to play solos, but the cameras were running and we couldn't resist asking Calixto to pull out the stops and play some free-form solos. They're amazing and included mainly for your enjoyment, although it's also valuable to hear how he uses certain elements from the 12 chapters in the solos, and how his style changes when he goes from "controlled improvisation" to full soloistic improvisation.

   Where can I hear Calixto play live? Does he do clinics and private lessons?

Calixto plays with many bands in Sweden, such as La Jugada and Calixto's Way, but if you live elsewhere in Europe, in the US or Canada, or in Japan, you will have an excellent chance of hearing him, or attending a clinic or private lesson when he's on tour with Juan de Marcos and The Afro-Cuban All-Stars. For example, he'll be in Japan in January 2011 and in Northern California, Berklee College of Music in Boston and Minnesota in early Spring of 2011. Click the CALIXTO'S TOURS AND CLINICS   link under INDICE - TABLE OF CONTENTS in the upper right of this window to see his latest schedule.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011, 03:32 AM