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The following excerpt showcases Lenny Castro’s exquisite use of percussion instruments in a song. This transcription is from a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine by Randy Crawford which was recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. This is available as part of Casino Lights (WB 23718-2) a release which also features performances by Al Jarreau, David Sanborn, Mike Mainieri and the YellowJackets at the festival.

This performance is a testament of the skillful way Lenny incorporates percussion, in this case three woodblocks, a high pitched cowbell and a caxixi, in rhythmically accurate patterns and colourful punctuations which do wonders for the song. Apart from those instruments the rest of the song also incorporates triangles and tambourine. In discussing this with Lenny he commented that "the hard thing with this type of playing style is that you need the help of a percussion friendly engineer who is going to mic you up well and who is also going to really understands the placement of the percussion instruments in the song. This is because it can be a very thin line between being too much up front, or too far back where you cannot hear it enough of it. It really needs that special place in the mix.” Find the recording and have a good listen to his performance, a wonderful display of his first rate percussive style.


Excerpt from Imagine [Verse 2]:

For further information on Lenny please refer to the article A DAY WITH Lenny Castro.

© Alex Pertout. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission from the author. This article was first published in Drumscene magazine.

© Alex Pertout. All Rights Reserved.