Neff Irizarry’s new instructional book, “Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar”, breaks open the history of Afro Cuban latin jazz rhythms and how they work for guitar.
Neff Irizarry is a guitarist, composer, educator, and author specializing in Latin and contemporary Jazz. He has a Master’s degree from Berklee College of Music and is featured in Sher Music’s “European Real Book.” Neff has performed with Eddie Henderson, Jimmy Haslip, Victor Mendoza, Brian Melvin, and Julio Romero, among others.
For 18 years, he was a part of the Pop & Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki, Finland, both teaching and working to organize international connections.
He also continues to be a Guest lecturer in Europe with an imminent lecture and concert series at SOAS University of London in the Autumn.
Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar
This last year, Irizarry released a deeply significant and deeply helpful instructional book for guitar: “Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar”.
The Instructional book is significant because of the background research. As Irizarry notes in the introduction:
“The adaptation and development of the elecric guitar’s role in Latin jazz from its traditional beginnings in Latin music are truly undocumented or rarely mentioned. Valuable recordings that display how the guitar forged its voice in Latin jazz are scarce to come by. However, we wouldn’t have had the possibility nor the conditions to create a space for modern guitarists if it wasn’t for these earlier guitarists who paved the way.”
In “Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar”, Irizarry connects the dots between the origin of Latin guitar techniques and their place and popularity in contemporary jazz music. For this reason alone, the book provides a great service in surfacing historical guitarists.
The book is also deeply helpful on the practical side of things. The bulk of the book is dedicated to providing step-by-step instruction and documentation on playing Latin jazz guitar.
Irizarry has done an incredible job of creating a full suite of learning resources: notation (traditional notation, jazz leadsheets, guitar fingering, and rhythm charts), reference recordings, example pieces, video tutorials, and play-along compositions.
It’s really amazing to see how many resources have been meticulously researched, created, and crafted together in this book.
The book is a worthwhile addition to any guitarist’s library, and requisite addition to any guitarist looking to play latin jazz.
“Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar” ($28.00) is available from Sher Music Company.
A Deeper Look
“Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar” covers a wide range of latin rythyms and techniques. Here’s what you can expect from the book:
- Traditional lines from the Tres, cuatro and requinto adapted to the guitar in the style of Arsenio Rodriguez, Yomo Toro, El Güero Gil, etc.
- Piano adaptations and solutions for the guitar patterned after Bebo Valdes, Clare Fischer, Eddie Palmieri, etc.
- Step-by-step instruction on how to play guajeos, montunos and other Afro-Cuban styles on guitar
- Transcription and analysis of key guitarists, composers and arrangers such as George Benson, Chico O’Farrill, Clare Fischer, Stan Appelbaum, Cal Tjader and La Playa sextet
- Stylistic analysis of highly influential guitarists such as Juanito Marquez, Paul Alicea, Sonny Henry, Edgardo Miranda, Carlos Emilio Morales, Bobby Redfield, Carlos Santana and Steve Khan.
- Transcriptions and analysis of jazz guitar greats playing Latin music, like Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Attila Zoller, Danny Embrey and Steve Khan. And much more!
- Over 250 audio files of the author playing each exercise! 196 pages.
“A beautifully written book. A real treasure of detailed information. Guitarists interested in learning the various rhythms and comping techniques in both contemporary and traditional Latin music will find this book to be indispensable.”
— Ray Obiedo
“Thoroughly researched and backed by vivid examples from its most important practitioners, this much needed study provides significant insight into the evolutionary role of the guitar in Latin Jazz. An authoritative guide for any guitarist wishing to incorporate the elements of Afro-Cuban music to his playing!”
— Richie Zellon
“This is a great and much needed work for all guitarists interested in improving their ability to function in the ‘Salsa’ setting. We have great books on guitar voicings and improv over changes, and great books for Latin jazz pianists, but now we have Neff’s book that fills the gap. I’m learning so much and can hardly wait for Vol. II”
— Randy Vincent
More from Neff Irizarry
Neff is sponsored by:
- Curt Mangan Strings: www.curtmangan.com
- Vovox Cables: vovox.com
- Scharpach Master Guitars: scharpach.com
- Reflector Audio USA: reflectoraudiousa.com
Neff will be releasing a VOLUME 2 of “Contemporary Latin Jazz Guitar”, continuing the ideas from VOLUME 1.
Make sure to give him a ‘follow’ to stay in the loop!