by Michael Lazarus
In Part 1 of this series I outlined the mayor trends in the bass
Mi Tentación – BASS – Audio track 7
Tune your bass to an A 440Hz with Audio Track 1.
Listen to the bass & piano montuno with Audio Track 7.
Here we see further use of the emphasis on the backbeat, accentuated by
the space left on the fourth beat of each 2-side. It’s really nice how
the bass movement mimics the coro melody. Note how it links to the
Llamada Anónima – BASS – Audio track 7
In a similar manner as with Mi
Tentación -where the same rhythmic figure is employed on every 2-side-
Llamada Anónima uses the “leading up to the ponche” on every 3-side.
Also notice the big fat low B on the one (1) of the last measure in
this coro chord progression. Note that the open space (no music) during
both strokes of each 2-side makes for extremely funky,
call-and-response, bass movement in relation to the clave.
Para Volver – BASS – Audio track 9 & 10
Listen to the bass & piano montuno with Audio Track 9.
Listen to the bass & piano montuno variation with Audio Track 10.
Further proof in my proposition that the bass movement in timba music
seeks to reinforce clave, the bass rhythm in Para Volver simply mimics
the clave, albeit in a very tasteful way. Notice how the clave is
emphasized by NOT playing on beat 1 of each 2-side -letting the note
carry over the bar from the previous measure. These spaces are
indicated below with a small red arrow.
De La Habana – BASS – Audio track 13 & 14
Listen to the bass & piano montuno with Audio Track 13.
Listen to the bass & piano montuno variation with Audio Track 14.
Akin to Llamada Anónima, the bass
movement in the main coro and mambo sections of Paulito’s anthemic hit
De La Habana make excellent use of space over the 2-side to reinforce
the “leading up to the ponche” trend over the 3-side. These key spaces
in the first and third 2-sides of the 8 bar phrase are noted by the red
arrows below. The red box indicated 2-side alignment with heavy
emphasis on the backbeat stroke.
Con La Conciencia Traquila was
selected for this analysis 1 because it was the earliest
chronologically released album, within my collection, where several key
trends in Timba were easily recognized as a collective -the presence of
the gears, the song by song micro-composing of percussion parts, the
reinforcement of clave by the bass, the classically and jazz influenced
piano parts, the mid-mambo conga fill, etc. After further
transcriptions and analysis of numerous albums within the genre, it
became clear that the relation between the bass movement and clave was
a consistent and marked general trend. Clearly different bands and
players had idiosyncratic variations and touches, but the main idea
remained throughout. .
My next article will kick-off reviews and analysis of the bass movement within other timba bands. Stay tuned mi gente.
– Audio tracks used by permission from Pyrale Music.
– Transcriptions used by permission from Kevin Moore, editor-in-chief of http://www.TIMBA.com
– Article excerpts from TIMBA Style Bass Vol.1, an eBook I published on www.latinpulsemusic.com
– All content ©2009 Michael P. Lazarus