PERCUSSIVE SOUNDS Lenny Castro Style
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.