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One-on-one Lessons with Santana's Percussionists Raul Rekow and Karl Perazzo

Supernatural Rhythm & Grooves video from Warner Bros. Publications

Santana's percussionists, Raul Rekow and Karl Perazzo, show you how they blend traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms into today's popular music in this educational video and audio CD combo from Warner Bros. Publications. The video features an all-star band performing specially recorded songs from Santana's award-winning "Supernatural" CD and it also includes an audio CD that contains lots of groove loops for play-along practice.

I spent some time playing around with the "Supernatural" video and accompanying audio CD myself, and here's what I found.

Performance: The video alternates between live in-concert footage and studio band during this number.

Educational Breakout: Horacio asks Karl and Raul to explain how they developed the rhythms they use for the song "Smooth." Karl goes into detailed breakdowns of his Abanico and Cascara rhythms. Each exercise Karl demonstrates is simultaneously shown on the lower half of the screen in standard rhythmic notation for the benefit of the "readers" in the audience. (And you CAN read, can't you? If not, get over to Tiger Reading 101 today!) This visual notation if a welcome addition and one that is repeated throughout the video.

Raul then takes his turn, explaining how he approaches his part for the song.

Karl and Raul then play their parts together to help you understand how they complement each other.

Love of My Life
Performance: This number is performed using the studio band that was assembled for this video. Band members include Benny Rietveld, Tony Lindsay, Renato Neto, and Jose Sibajo.

Educational Breakout: Horacio again has Karl and Raul break down their parts and demonstrate at both normal and slow speed. Emphasized, is the importance of initially learning to play everything correctly at slow speed.

Maria, Maria
Educational Breakout: This section opens with a breakdown of the percussion parts. Karl demonstrates the Martillo rhythm he plays in the song, showing how he adapted and transferred the tradition bongo rhythm (usually played with the hands) to the sticks. Karl, Raul, and Horacio each demonstrate how their parts sound in the context of the tune as they play a section of the song while the 4-part split screen video allows you to concentrate on the player of your choice.

Raul then breaks down and demonstrates his part, which is based on the Songo rhythm. Again, all demonstrated rhythms are shown simultaneously in standard music notation on the lower half of the screen for the benefit of the "reading" drummers in the audience, which should be EVERYONE!

Horacio comments on the two percussionist's ability to make everything swing, and Raul offers his advice on how to develop that ability, which is what separates the human drummer from the drum machine drummer!

Performance: Now, with your understanding of the various rhythmic parts from the previous demonstrations, you are treated to a performance of the song "Maria, Maria."

Day of Celebration
Educational Breakout: Horacio comments on the African 6/8 and Hip Hop/Funk rhythms that make up this tune and gets Raul and Karl to demonstrate their parts. Acroding to Karl, Carlos Santana has "huge ears" when it comes to his ability to hear exactly what he wants and Karl goes on to explain how Carlos lets his players know when he feels the need to hear more (or less) rhythm from them.

Raul and Karl explain how they approach the improvised solo sections of the song. Karl adds that 95% of what drummers and percussionists play consists of groove, while only 5% of the time is spent on solo improvisation.

Performance: As the band plays "Day of Celebration," the video alternates seemlessly between the studio and live concert version.

Groove Loop Audio CD
This extra addition to the video consists of 38 tracks, which contain various versions of the three songs performed on the video plus an additional bonus tune. Here's how each song is setup on the CD:

1) The initial track for the song contains a vamp similar to what was played in the Educational Breakout section of the video, with each instrument dropping out during the solo trading section. This will help you learn the piece as you play along with your respective instrument in the mix.

2) The next three tracks contain the same version of the song with either the drums, congas, or timbales removed from the mix. This allows you to play along, Music Minus One style, alone or with another drummer or percussionist or two.

3) The final tracks for each song consist of loops of the solo forms of each section of the tune with each of the three instruments removed. These loops allow you to refine your groove and solo chops. As a bonus, you can even port these loops into your favorite editing hardware or software and create your own practice loops.

The Supernatural Bottom Line
I really liked the layout and production values of this 90-minute video. The split screen action allows you to concentrate on any of the drum/percussion parts that you want to. In addition, when an Afro-Cuban term that may be unfamiliar to those new to the style is mentioned (like Martilla and Cascara), the term is spelled out on-screen.

During the actual demonstrations in the Educational Breakout sections, I also like the way the rhythmic patterns appear in actual drum notation on the lower portion of the screen.

When you throw in the accompanying audio groove loop CD, it all adds up to a value packed package with a lot of educational clout. And at a retail price of $39.95, you can't go wrong.

I recommend this video/CD combo both for drum set players looking to expand their stylistic horizons and for those wanting to add timbales or congas to their resume.

Get your copy today at a substantial discount from:


Until next time: Stay loose.



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