Beyond Salsa Piano, Vol. 10 Pupy Pedroso, Pt. 1

The tenth volume in the Beyond Salsa Piano series focuses on César “Pupy” Pedroso, the founding pianist and one of the principal composers of Cuba’s most popular band, Los Van Van, and now the leader of Los Que Son Son, the most successful new Cuban group of the 2000s. Pedroso was ranked #1 in the readers’ poll for “Best Timba Pianist of All-Time” and came in second in the songwriting department. Doubling as a history and music appreciation course, the book contains extensive music notation examples of Pedroso’s piano tumbaos, or “montunos”, as well as transcriptions of solo and head arrangements. The difficulty level is intermediate, falling between the very easy exercises in the early volumes, and the sometimes complex tumbaos of Volumes 6-9, which deal with Melón Lewis of The Issac Delgado Group.

Illustrated in detail is Pupy Pedroso’s trademark “contrary motion” montuno style, which, while very easy to execute produce much richer sounding harmonies than the standard salsa approach. The book also includes “sidebar” sections on the importance of rumba in salsa, rhythm section “gears”, controlled improvisation and the evolution of bass tumbaos in Cuban music. Bass tumbaos are included for each of the 54 piano transcriptions and some also include string section guajeos and second keyboard parts. Volume 10 also includes a detailed biography with rare photos from Pupy’s private collection and information about his extensive musical family.

The discography section lists Pupy’s work in two ways: by album, and by song, as many of his compositions were recorded by various artists. There are dozens of excellent photographs by Tom Ehrlich, David Garten, Patrick Bonnard and others top photographic artists.

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