Monday, December 3, 2018
Jerry Gonzalez: "Conga Mania"
Sometimes it's really amazing where an internet search for some obscure Jazz drumming resource turns up something unexpected and equally quite amazing instead...
I was very fortunate to hear trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez (who recently passed away back in October) & The Fort Apache band at the Sweet Basil in New York City, back in the year 2000. I had just finished auditioning for John Riley at the Manhattan School of Music and then raced down to Greenwich Village to catch this legendary band (including Steve Berrios on drums). I was blown away by their high intensity music and style of Latin Jazz which seamlessly and very cleverly blended the two genres together of Afro-Cuban music and straight-ahead Jazz.
I was very interested to learn that apparently Jeff "Tain" Watts had sought out the drummer with Fort Apache, Steve Berrios, to learn about authentic applications of Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms to the drum set. It's safe to say that Tain has really checked this stuff out over the years and this is evident in his playing.
Anyways, apparently Berrios also produced an instructional VHS video back in the early 1990s on applying Latin rhythms to the drum set. I haven't had any luck finding a copy of this (hence my internet search...) BUT I did come across this Jerry Gonzalez conga video (from the same instructional series) which also features Steve Berrios on drums. Not only was a Gonzalez a Master trumpet player in the Latin Jazz genre but a Master conguero as well.
So now stop, listen and learn as there is a TON of great information here: