Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ignacio Berroa - Afro Cuban Drumming

Ignacio Berroa is a fantastic Cuban jazz drummer who has toured the world with such jazz artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden, Tito Puente, Gonzalo Rubancaba and his own jazz/fusion group as a leader.

Not only do I really dig his approach to playing Afro-Cuban rhythms on the drum set, he also swings like mad ! It's impressive and inspiring to see a drummer from another culture play jazz so convincingly. Jazz music really is a music of the world.

Montreal bassist Brian Hurley once told me that he was hosting the after hours jam session at the Ottawa Jazz Festival when Ignacio came to sit in. Hurley suggested to Berroa that they play a set of latin tunes. "No man - let's swing !" exclaimed Ignacio and according to Hurley, they certainly did !

His modern approach to latin jazz drumming can be boiled down to this:

Tony Williams/Elvin Jones/Roy Haynes + Clave + Rhumba = Ignacio Berroa

In these clips Ignacio goes through some basic Afro-Cuban rhythms and demonstrates how to apply them to the drum set.
Joining Berroa are the legendary Giovanni Hidalgo, Changuito and Michael Spiro with David Sanchez and Danilo Perez.

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