Great news! Check out the September issue of Modern Drummer, p. 20, for a full page review of Beyond Salsa Percussion. This is Calixto’s second time in the world’s most important drum publication. He was featured in the June 1994 issue as part of a series on Cuban drummers along with Changuito and Enrique Pla.
In other news, the notation and basic layout for Beyond Salsa Bass, Volume 2 are finally done and the proofreading and photo adding stage is beginning.
My original plan had to be changed, bumping the roots of salsa, Dizzy & Chano and Descargas of the 50s back to Volume 3. I had already hit 200 pages by the time I finished the compatibility tumbaos for BS Piano Vol. 2 and the massive chapters on Arsenio and Cachao. There should really be a whole book on Cachao and a Game of Thrones-length septology on Arsenio. Every time I come back to him, I find fresh evidence of the massive scope of his genius and of the divine chemistry that occurred during his years with Lilí Martínez.
Listening recommendation: the original Social Club Buena Vista danzón from Cachao’s 1959 LP La leyenda, Vol. 1. I wish I’d discovered that album earlier so I could have mentioned it in the danzón sections of Bass Vol. 1, Percussion Vol. 2 and BS Beginners, but better late than never. The whole album is sublime. It’s not abrass and winds bands like the orquesta típicas of the 1900-1920 period; nor is it a charanga francesa like Arcaño, Fajardo, Aragón et al. It’s more like a chamber orchestra with bass clarinet, flute, clarinet, and strings. The bass clarinet makes me think of Juan de Marcos’s new arrangements with his daughter playing that instrument, but the whole ambience also reminds me of Debussy and Brian Wilson’s studio instrumentals of the mid-1960s. Cachao breathed new life into the by then cliché heavy danzón on this album – each track is a beautifully orchestrated composition with very original harmonies.