« Back to jordanbalagot.com
Raul Pineda is my all-time favorite drummer

Posted on Thursday 24 May 2007

Call me a Raul Pineda fan.

I’ve been obsessed with Chucho Valdes’s track Ponle La Clave from Live at the Village Vanguard ever since I first heard an MP3 of it in college (mislabeled as ‘ponte la clave’). I later bought the album Live at the Village Vanguard, which is great, and so is Valdes’s similar album Bele Bele en la Habana, which I purchased off of itunes.

Ponle La Clave is one of the most enjoyable and complex pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It’s energetic, it’s amazingly fast, it’s syncopated, most of it is in 7/4 but it changes meter constantly, and the piano, conga and drum solos are brilliant. My goal is to someday transcribe this piece and play the piano or drum solos because I believe it would make me a better musician to understand what they’re doing.

Raul’s masterful drum solo in 7/4 is mind-blowing. So is his use of double bass drum pedals and rolls. I was intrigued by him and sought out other music of his, finding this page:


That page mentions he recorded an album, Bembe En Mi Casa, with Nachito Herrera. I made a Pandora Station with “Nachito Herrera” and was wildly pleased with the results. I found a new favorite song of mine, Song in F, and made a pandora station with it as the seed (Song in F) which is even better. I’m finding great music by Tito Puente, Francisco Aquabella, Bebo Valdes (Chucho’s father, sweet), Willie Colon, and Orchestra Harlow on it.

Song in F is remarkably similar to Ponle La Clave, featuring virtusosic solos, a killer chorus, and an amazing sync between the congas and drums. Pineda has to be the link between these phenomenal songs. Raul Pineda / Nachito Herrera / Song in F gets a five star rating from me, shared in iTunes only with artists Chucho Valdes, Freakpower, Stanton Moore, Mos Def, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tommy Flanagan, and Zero 7.

No comments have been added to this post yet.

Leave a comment



Information for comment users
Line and paragraph breaks are implemented automatically. Your e-mail address is never displayed. Please consider what you're posting.

Use the buttons below to customise your comment.

RSS feed for comments on this post | TrackBack URI