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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
November 2022 OOTM: Write a Latin Tune

I was a beach boy, and I believe I learned my songs from the birds of the Brazilian forest. - Antonio Carlos Jobim

This is such a vibrant and passionate kind of music! There seems to be differences in how Latin music is defined, but here’s a dictionary definition of Latin jazz in particular:

Latin jazz is a genre of jazz with Latin Americanrhythms. The two main categories are Afro-Cuban jazz, rhythmically based on Cuban popular dance music, with a rhythm section employing ostinato patterns or a clave, and Afro-Brazilian jazz, which includes samba and bossa nova.

But no hard rules as usual- it’s all for fun to prompt some songwriting and share ideas!

The different rhythms are the keys of course, but also chord progressions so I’m starting with this for some direction.
v=dUrvpgmjur0
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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:
holy cow that was awesome! Great recording, too and funny about having to deal with the airplane noise. I often have that with my mini schnauzer chiming in at the worst times when I'm trying to record something at home. Horn lines and a flute solo would have been a great addition to that already great tune. The groove is perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow! Just saw all of this- I will be listening to all of this stuff tomorrow and giving some input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I've done several songs inspired by Jobim in the last year, really love his stuff.

Great! I like the little touches like chimes in there-
 
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Can we do in the vein of Egberto Gismonti work with Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek? It does not follow the usual Bossa Nova. Besides if you went to Brazil, there is more to Bossa Nova.
I love the title and your ideas- and is that a mini schnauzer? If so, I have one of those!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
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
This is so good! I like the idea of the organ in there for contrast, and the length of your tune could totally include more content I think. I love this kind of explanation of your song so that us listeners on here can give better input. And yes- lyrics always welcome- anything goes really in the context of the challenge somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Nicely produced and the synth sound (strings) adds a very soothing vibe. Love the pics and lava lamps were perfect!
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Can we do in the vein of Egberto Gismonti work with Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek? It does not follow the usual Bossa Nova. Besides if you went to Brazil, there is more to Bossa Nova.
Yes- and it's amazing how many styles are included that have some Latin elements and kind of hard to define. Very creative music (logdrum)!
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I’m so glad you posted this because I agree the term Latin music seems to mean one thing to a lot of the musicians. A better description I guess would be Brazilian music for what a lot of people mean when they say Latin. As I am researching to do my original I am realizing the differences between things like salsa, samba, bossa nova, rumba, etc. there is Cuban music and reggae and so many different flavors that seem to be related. I guess for the purposes of this thread it’s kind of all over the place and that’s OK. Hopefully we will all learn some thing and can experiment with some things.
 
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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Yes, no outro. I'm just following the form of a collaborating guitarist's template and giving it a melodic line. Most of the tunes I'm doing are collaborations in which I'm providing the melodies/lead, but not the changes. Glad you liked it. Maybe I'll post a few more?
Yes post more anytime- the more the better I think!
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
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:
This is exactly the kind of info I need for where I'm at on my original right now. I decided to do a rumba- and I am admittedly cheating with percussion loops, but I need to put a bassline and chords now so hopefully your info will help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
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.

https://soundcloud.com/user-460666353%2Fnew-thing
Your tune definitely has that vibe in the beginning and changes feel, which is cool. I like your melody! There does seem to be a different feel going on with your groove playing tenor and the bassline. Would be great to hear with percussion added.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
This breaks my own rule a little! .This is my arrangement (vs. an original) of “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts. I made it awhile back during record-breaking cold just after a blizzard in Maine (it was therapeutic!) and attached a pic of a summer day playing a gig in Castine,Maine on my website.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!

Summer Breeze

Water Musical instrument Reed Reed instrument Saxophone



Sounds: The verse uses Partido Alto loops/samples from Celso Alberti, fretless bass, jazz guitar and Rhodes. In the second verse I use a new device called Humana in the DAW I use (Reason) which has great samples of the human voice. The last verses are solos- first tenor, then synth (Rhodes put through a polyphonic arpeggiator), and finally flute for the outro. The chorus has a more traditional dry swing drum loop, a “low simple sub” bass, a guitar sound called “Vollenweiderustica” and a synth called “Shoals”. The contrasting, more tranquil sounds in the bridge are synths called “Ambient Bamboo” and “Cinematic Justice”. The Rhodes accompanies, and there is an Udu sample.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
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.
I think the more creative we can be with this the better- so have fun with it and we’d would love the vocals!
 
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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Very cool! Excellent arrangement and use of synth. Your flute work is really lovely. A minor comment: The sax sounds further forward and "drier" than the flutes and to my way of hearing the flute has more of a lead in this.
Yes I agree- I did this tune several years ago and would do a few things differently with tenor- I always find saxophone so much harder than flute!
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
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
I listened a couple of times- nice little intro with flute- longer would be nice! Also flute fills are perfect and the lyrics are clever: "where do I start" right at top of tune. I can tell you have a great voice! Great idea to post the tune in stages-
I'm thinking of doing that- mine is just such a mess at the start! Lyrics: I like how you combine the emotional with the physical content (you can picture the woman dancing for example).
 
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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
Here is a little piece I wrote called : Salsa.
You have a great sound and I like the conversational feel of the melody. Your harmony is interesting- I'm trying that too, and arpeggiating those chords in piano part- it's difficult I think to get a handle on the chords for the listener as I'm trying it. You have a great twist on his style and experimenting with it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
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