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This feels like cheating having this tune already in the can. I was working with a Latin band where I was the only non-Latinx (I'm from Wyoming). This is a song I wrote but there isn't any sax or flute on this. I'm busy playing keyboards

This was a band that sounded really good live but just couldn't seem to work well in a studio environment. After two or three failed studio attempts (expensive wasted days) I decided to record the band myself - I had to learn on the job. I used creative mic placement because we were in a practice room without any sound treatment - in fact we were near the airport and frequently had to stop and wait for a plane to land before we could record - kind of hilarious really. But it worked because the band relaxed being in their own space and not feeling the pressure of studio. I recorded the band pretty much exactly as we play live and used minimal EQ/effects etc. BTW the picture of the band is the actual room where we recorded this.

I'll have to write something Latin this month with some sax or flute but in the meantime here is this sort of Latin thing I wrote:
https://soundcloud.com/user-460666353%2Facercate
EDIT: Oh ... if the voice at the intro sounds familiar (I stole it from this track to tack on to the TOTM October) this is the track that actually started out with that voice. It's our Conga/Timbale player who loved to do Mister Haney voice from the Green Acres TV series and I thought it was hilarious to stick in front of this tune :ROFLMAO:
 

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When I was working with the Latin band, I wrote this tune with lyrics. It was my first time writing a full set of lyrics (other than the lyrics I make up about my cat's stinky butt) and the lyrics were "OK" but not great. Not sure if lyrics are a part of these OOTM threads - I could share the lyrics if there is interest and maybe you guys could help me hip them up.

When I write a tune, I usually start with a bass-line that I think is catchy and then add a track with the chords and the basic melody idea. Then, in that basic and simple form, I will present it to the band and usually play along with just the drummer or bass and drums trying various feels in search of an "infectious groove". And then I would work with the singer and simplify the melody to get to the essence of it. As horn players we (or I for sure) tend to noodle a lot -- and so I try to get to the heart of the melody without a lot of flourish.

anyway .... while we were playing around with different Latin feels for the tune, someone suggested I try it as reggae. And that's how this version was born. I'm not sure if this qualifies as "write a Latin tune" but it does have congas and timbales and Latin percussion and a slowed and simplified Latin-esque piano montuno. The Latin elements are overshadowed by the Reggae I think.

Since my lyrics were amateur, I decided to mute the vocal track this morning and remove the second verse to shorten it up for now. I just recorded some tenor sax playing something similar to the vocal melody but I drastically altered the chorus melody because on Sax I could get away with it - is it too much of a departure from the verse melody?

Curious what you think. The sax lines are pretty much off the top of my head this morning and I'll probably completely re-think it after I have some lunch. Also where I cut the middle section out (right between the sax chorus and the guitar solo) I had a subtle (but driving) organ interlude before the second verse (both gone here). Perhaps I should put it back and turn the 2nd verse into a sax or flute solo? I just thought it would be boring to repeat the vocal melody a second time on sax (with vocal at least the lyric changes to tell more of the story). Comments/critique/suggestions all welcome.
https://soundcloud.com/user-460666353%2Fobsesion
 

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There was live music today just a 10 minute walk from my house to the Ferry Terminal and the Naval Air Museum. A beautiful grey/stormy looking day but not too cold at all and a great view of San Francisco across the bay.

Just thought I'd share a short snippet of this particular style of Latin music. It seems like a lot of jazz musicians think of Bossa Nova or Samba when you say "Latin". I started out with the early Airto albums so I definitely love Brazilian music. But Brazilian music is really very different from most of the Latin styles I listen to. I'm guessing jazzers think of Bossa because Bossa's tend to have more complex "jazz" type chord progressions where many of the other Latin styles have simple repetitive chord progressions and focus more on the infectious rhythm that makes your butt and feet start moving.

This little sample highlights one of the features that most (non-Brazilian) Latin music has that captured my attention and pulled me into wanting to learn Latin music - and that is the "Tumbao" feel of the bass. The bass line will usually put the emphasis on four and the "and of two" -- and that locks in with the 2-3 or 3-2 clave feel which also fits like a puzzle piece against the montuno pattern played on piano or cuban tres or quatro/quinto/sexto etc. I think this is a bajo sexto the guy is playing in this clip. I have a Cuban Tres that I built - well, not "built" but I modified a Baby Taylor into a Tres. The Tres has 6 strings but they are grouped as three courses of double strings and it is great for playing that Montuno rhythm you hear in Cuban music. I'm going to have to practice a bit (it's been a few years since I touched it) and see if I can write something simple for this thread with the Cuban Tres and a bass using that tumbao feel.

 

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This video really illustrates how the clave and montuno and tumbao bass lock together like puzzle pieces. When I first started to hear these kinds of rhythms it just blew my mind trying to figure out what was going on. I still have to work really hard to try and feel it. My ancestors are from Switzerland - so I've got completely different natural rhythm and would always find myself pulling back onto the "one" and squaring it up. But when I can get my brain out of the way and just feel this rhythm, it's a pretty magical thing. Notice how the bass never lands on the "one" ... also notice how he has the 2-3 clave playing while showing how the puzzle pieces fit together and then the clave drops out and all the pieces are still locked into that 2-3 clave rhythm - that clave is the essence and the glue that holds it together even if nobody is actually banging out an actual clave:
 

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OK ... I got up this morning and started fooling around with piano chords. I had Latin in mind but somewhere along the way the "Latin" seems to have faded out of it so I'm not entirely sure if this qualifies for this thread or not. If you have any idea what you would call this style, please tell me -- it's just what popped out when I started playing chords on the piano. I didn't put any percussion behind it and perhaps the right drum or conga groove would lead me to re-record the backing track with more of a Latin feel. Please let me know what you think and suggestions -- it's a work in progress. I'm going to post this and then go make tacos for lunch and maybe that'll give me some ideas :ROFLMAO:

https://soundcloud.com/user-460666353%2Fnew-thing
 

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I play saxophone, flute and synths I used the Partido Alto groove for the verses. The partido alto groove was very difficult to play my melody with for some reason and I'm not entirely happy with it because it seems kind of choppy or something, but no matter how I tried to do it differently it just didn't seem to improve it, but it does contrast with the other section that used a more traditional dry swing drum loop.

I'm working on an original Rumba though so stay tuned!
This is really interesting! Nice production and playing! Now I want to pull out my flute and start practicing and see how long it takes to get my lips to remember how to make a sound.

Looking forward to hearing your original - I'm gonna get ready to Rumba!

I've got another song idea I started on with a B3 organ playing an unusual rhythmic pattern alternating between the organ chords and the organ bass - sort of with the bass notes playing only in the holes between the chords - or at least that's what I'm attempting. I fooled around with beats to put behind it and it's almost a Cha Cha - but sort of a perverted Latin Cha Cha :ROFLMAO: with a 2-3 clave in it. I'm not really that up on Cha Cha - but many years ago I was doing cover tunes as a solo act with drum machine and singing playing piano and the dancers wanted a Cha Cha and so I did Simply Red's Holding Back the Years as a Cha Cha and they seemed to approve of it.

I've got some lyrics for this tune but I'm not sure if my voice will cooperate. And the lyrics have sort of a Brazilian thing - so maybe I should be making it a Bossa instead of trying to force it to be a perverted Latin Cha Cha :ROFLMAO: Having fun working on it though.
 

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Well I gave it a try singing and had a real hard time with my voice wavering all over - just really out of shape. I tried doubling two vocal takes and that made it even worse. I was only able to sing one verse and I'll have to rest my voice a bit - but I think if I start singing every day it might come back. 40-50 years ago I was singing 5 sets a night 6 nights a week but I haven't sung much at all in the past 30 years. It was fun to pull the flute out too.

Here's a sampler taste of the tune. Or is that wrong of me to show the work in progress -- should I wait until I have it finished? I'm hoping by showing the work in progress I might get some suggestions about where to go with it. The expected form is the 2nd verse will come right where this little sample fades out and then a short solo (probably Tenor Sax?) and chorus out.

Note: Você é Gata --- someone was telling me that this is Portuguese for "You're a Cat" but that it's used in Brazil to mean "You're so Sexy". I don't know for sure if that's true and I'm certain I'm not pronouncing it right.

https://soundcloud.com/user-460666353%2Fvoce-e-gata-first-verse-with-flute
 

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Hey, that is really good! Nice playing again and I like the chord changes. You have a nice tenor sound, what is your setup?
Thanks. Much appreciated.

How much of my setup are you asking about? You mean reed and mouthpiece? Horn? Microphone/DAW etc.? I'm glad to answer just not sure how much you want to know :p

The thing is I sound pretty much the same no matter what gear I'm using - if my gear sounds dark, I play it brighter and if my gear sounds bright I blow darker. It's not conscious - but I can rarely hear a difference in my recordings when I try to make equipment comparisons.
 

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Just curious on your horn, mouthpiece and reeds.
We can discuss in more depth in a PM if you like so we don't send this thread into a rabbit hole - but here's what I was using on that particular track:
4 digit purple logo YTS-62 (bought it new the first year they were available) with Jim Schmidt gold foil pads (I put those in about the first year he came out with them). The mouthpiece is one I refaced/repaired - it is a Syos that the owner hated and had taken a belt sander to it in disgust :ROFLMAO:. I was repairing his broken Drake and when the subject of Syos came up he went and got his destroyed Syos and gave to me to experiment on - it now has a .115 tip opening and a step baffle that opens to a large chamber - I burnished the table and rails and step baffle so they are smooth and don't show the printing artifacts ... it isn't going to translate to any off the shelf mouthpiece they sell. This is the first track I've used that mouthpiece just because it happened to be on the horn with the cheesy Syos ring ligature. The reed is a Jazz Select 3M

Here are a couple of pics so you can see the step baffle and the large chamber
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Lyrics: I like how you combine the emotional with the physical content (you can picture the woman dancing for example).

.... nice little intro with flute- longer would be nice!
I can't take credit for the lyrics (lyrics are difficult for me to write). My friend, Carlos Elizalde, has a really nice voice and whipped the lyrics up for me when I played him the organ riff - I'm hoping I can talk him into coming over and letting me record him singing it.

The flute was an afterthought so I wasn't really thinking of an intro beyond just the organ - but when I was recording the vocal and my voice got tired so quickly, I thought about adding some flute (after hearing your summer breeze version it had me thinking I should use the flute more). I cringe when I listen to the vocal because I can't control the pitch (just out of practice) and I don't know how to taper off the volume and keep any quality. Saxophone is similar for me - I mean that trying to keep a good quality to the tone when holding a long note and reducing the volume or fading out the end. And that gets better with practice so I'm guessing/hoping that my voice will come together with some practice - but probably after a year or two of practice and not likely to get where I want it this month.

Thanks for the feedback. I don't know how song writing works for others -- but for me, I get "too much me" really quickly. I mean once I have a basic piano or organ chord progression and a bass line, I get stuck into a rut where anything I add starts to sound too much the same. Sometimes I just need to put the tune to bed and go do something else - but my favorite way to write is to have someone else improvise over my chord progression or suggest a different rhythm or something I wouldn't have thought of... and even if I don't use their suggestion, it sparks new ideas.
 

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In case there is interest in me posting the progress on this tune as I build it up - I re-sang the vocals this morning and added the second verse. I'm still out of shape but if feels like it'll come back if I practice a little every day for a few months/years :ROFLMAO:

I've got the bridge chord progression and then vamp out on the chorus (tomorrow when my voice has recovered enough to sing the outro).

I've got lots of questions about how to build this tune if you guys feel like weighing in:
I'm thinking Tenor Sax for the solo?
I added some echo to the flute - too much?
When I sing the outro (just chorus repeating over and over) should I overlay flute or sax with the vocals? And how polite do I need to be? Seems like I can intrude over the vocals a bit more with a horn or flute since it's just repeating the same lyrics over and over - thoughts on that?
Occasionally I drop into an Arabic tonality on a flute fills - is that off putting, out of character too much or does it work?
https://soundcloud.com/user-460666353%2Fvoce-e-gata-take-two-second-verse-and-bridge-chords-added
 

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OK, time to throw in another track. This one is also a combo type mixing Tango and Flamenco...I called it Flamingo (close enough). This is a collaboration with a long time associate from Malaga Spain who plays bass and rhythm on this. Only the first half has tenor sax. The second half was supposed to be filled out by someone else, but showcases my friend Mario's fine playing.
Very nice! I love the groove on bass at the intro. Love the tenor!
 

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I thought I'd post another original from the collaboration I did with Ruckatan Latin Tribe. This is a very high energy screamer of a tune!

I mainly played keyboards in this band with only a few quick sax/flute parts. When a tune had a flute or sax part, I always had to plan ahead to get the sax hanging around my neck in preparation for the upcoming solo while still playing keyboard parts. Keeping the reed moist at summer festival shows was always a challenge (I don't care for synthetic or plasticover - but sometimes I had no choice but to use plasticover) so I kept a water bottle handy to drip water on the mouthpiece with my left hand and hope it trickled around the mouthpiece to the reed. You people who keep your horn clean and polished would be horrified to see me pouring water over my horn on stage :ROFLMAO: Or I would be reaching for the flute with my left hand while playing keys with the right - and getting the flute up to my lips and in position with just the left hand ready to quickly bring up my right hand and take a quick solo and back to the keys again. It was quite the juggling act. Tunes that have horn section stabs I would pick notes I could play on sax with left hand only while doing the trumpets and trombone voices on keyboard with right hand.

Anywhoo ... here is the tune for your consideration. I'm not sure what style this is exactly - probably a hybrid of some sort as our focus was always to be a melting pot of various world styles.

soundcloud.com/user-460666353/como-chingas-ruckatan-latin-tribe
 

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Good story and a nightmare of doubling. Where's the tune?
The forum software doesn't work correctly with private Soundcloud links (I made it private so only people with the link can see it - the band is still selling this so I didn't want it public on Soundcloud - just sharing with people in this thread) --- I had to Edit the post to trick the forum software by removing the "https://" from the link. If you refresh the page you should see my edited link and hopefully it'll work?

Here's the working link: soundcloud.com/user-460666353/como-chingas-ruckatan-latin-tribe
 
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