Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mozambique variations

With apologies for the late lack of posting, here is a little bit of a retread/refinement of my earlier Page of Mozambique. I've been working with this feel quite a bit, but have struggled to come up with a reasonable method for developing it; which is not shocking, me being the Salsa/Cuban music tourist that I am. The patterns here are based on the New York/Eddie Palmieri classic version of the style— apparently it has not a lot in common with the original Cuban Mozambique, which was a craze for a little while in the 60s, and then died out. The clave orientation here is 2-3 Son— that's usually the case on Palmieri's recordings.

Learn all the patterns, listen to (and play along with) the suggested tracks at the bottom of the pdf, and then improvise your own variations— mainly, moving the left hand more freely, using different sounds (especially rim shots and dead strokes).

Do the listening and you'll learn how to prioritize the variations to stay with the style; there's a sort of hierarchy to the notes you play on the drums:

  • & of 2 (“bombo”— primary) of the second measure — always present, always strong
  • & of 2 (bombo— secondary) of the first measure — often/usually present, usually strong, or pretty strong
  • 4 of either measure (“ponche”)  — emphasized, but not as strongly as the prior two; usually stronger in the second measure
  • 1 of the first measure — usually not played on the drums, definitely not strongly (this is contrary to the popular Steve Gadd/fusion version of the groove, which plays the one strongly).
  • 1 of the second measure — same, but even less so

You might also try running the bell part and bass drum variations with the left hand parts in our generic Latin method— as written they fit with the 2-3 clave orientation of these patterns. Review all of my previous posts on Mozambique, as well.

Get the pdf


Anonymous said...

There's only one bombo note per clave cycle.

And Mozambique is in rumba clave; the New York junk is just that.

Todd Bishop said...

Thanks for commenting, anonymous- happy to be corrected any time. David Penalosa talks about a "secondary" bombo on the & of 2 on the 2 side of clave. He seems to know what he's talking about, but maybe it's not a widely-accepted concept. I think he was also the source for NY Moz using Son clave-- in the Wikipedia entry, which I think he wrote. No comment on the NY thing-- you'll have to take that up with Mr. Palmieri.