Let’s face the facts.
Most guitarists outside of Latin music culture probably have no clue how varied the styles are like.
I mean I was like that too. And in fact, even until today, my understanding of the different styles is surface level at best, even with the fact that I’ve actually played in a Cumbia/Dub band in the San Francisco Bay Area and also after playing Tex-Mex inspired jazz music in another band. I’ve learned some basic Afro-Cuban percussion when I was in college and I also played Brazlian jazz and some Afro-Cuban repertoire over the years.
But let’s get into why I went into all that as a precursor to this review.
We have a unique book here.
This book – Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar is an ambitious work by guitarist Neff Irizarry II to help jazz guitarists interested to play better in these styles.
He’s done the research, transcribed, adapted and compiled tons of musical examples to help you play and learn this. And the best part is that he includes so many video and audio examples as supplementary material to help us even more.
From guajeos and montunos to claves to even improvising single note line solos that fit the rhythmic framework of the styles, there is a lot to digest in this 198-page book…. and along with all the written (and transcribed) examples, there are the play-along tracks to help internalize this music.
For years, it’s usually the pianist that can handle these kinds of styles convincingly while most guitarists try to do their best when the occasional songs in this style appear in regular gigs.
Now, many will finally have a chance to play even better and with respect to the musical tradition as well.
In conclusion, if you’re at all interested in this topic, I suggest immediately buying this book now. Then, the work begins as you dig into the rich material that Neff has made available. It’s truly a one of a kind work, and I believe will help many over time.
Get your copy of the book (both print and eBook versions) here: https://shermusic.com/9780997661798.php
Many thanks to Chuck Sher and the author, Neff Irizarry II for sending me a copy of this amazing book for this review earlier this year. I deeply appreciate it.
Pros: A well researched, deep study into this topic unlike anything I’ve ever seen for guitar.
Cons: Might feel overwhelming for those new to these styles.
TLDR: If you’ve been curious about how to play Latin Jazz, specifically the Afro-Cuban related styles – this book might be a key to unlocking the different possibilities of what you can play.
Check out my other book, video & course reviews here:
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