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Bass Lines By Jaime Vazquez: Descarga

Hello bass players and fans of bass playing! This month we will discuss the descarga in latin music, also known as descarga cubana. The descarga was originated in Cuba and is a form of music that consist of improvisation over a melody or rhythm. It can be played as a vamp. What is a vamp? A vamp is a repeating musical figure or accompaniment.

Fig. 1 is the main groove from Cachao’s “Descarga Cubana.” Here we have a good example of the use of rests in a bassline. “Rests are musical too.” Also, this bassline is the perfect example of a vamp.

Fig. 2 is the bassline of “Sandunguera,” a hit from Los Van Van. If you are playing this song you can make a descarga with this bassline. Remember, in latin music you have the space for improvisation too. So, the concept of the improvisational jam session from jazz can be apply to latin music too. For example, latin jazz.

Fig. 3 is an example of a descarga that I have created for you. It’s easy as you can see, just establish a groove and then, play it as a vamp. That’s it!

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