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Book Reviews

Brazilian Rhythms For Drumset

Brazilian Rhythms book cover

Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset has been written by two very well respected teachers and players - Duduka Da Fonseca and Bob Weiner. Both are highly regarded teachers at New York's Drummers Collective School.

Here they have put together a comprehensive guide to understanding and playing some authentic Brazilian Rhythms like the Samba and Bossa Nova. Let's get started...

So, What's Inside?

Having a look at the contents, there are 7 sections which cover a particular groove or concept - Samba, Bossa Nova, Baiao, Maracatu, Marcha and Frevo, Patterns in odd meters, and Live music.

There's also a nice introduction to the book that talks about the history of the styles and where they originated from. It puts you in the picture before you get into the hot grooves.

The first section is the Samba, and like some other grooves in the book, it is broken down into the individual parts played on traditional Brazilian instruments. Then you are shown how to play them on the drum set. You get different examples and variatons with hi-hat patterns, ride cymbal patterns, Samba with brushes, Samba with a funk feel, and loads of others. You get a real workout and there's plenty of detail.

The other groove sections all follow suit and are packed with variations and exercises that will give you plenty to work on. The Bossa Nova section is good and I particularly like the section on the Baiao which offers some tasty grooves too.

At the back of the book there's a section on 'patterns in odd meters' that covers playing the Samba in 3/4 and 7/8 to get an interesting feel. It's quite short but it's a nice little addition and is good to play.

The last section, live music, refers to the cd which has some live tracks played by "Trio Da Paz" which includes Duduka Da Fonseca on drums. The group demonstrate some fab grooves and sound amazing. I should also mention that the cd has example tracks for all the grooves in the book as well, and is really well recorded.

At the very end, to help you pick some good cd's, is a discography. And there's a gloassary too so you have no excuse for not knowing what everything means :)

What's It Like To Use?

Using the book was nice and straight forward, the notated examples are good and the correct stickings are included when needed. It's very thorough and I found that there was a lot to keep me busy. The Samba section alone is pretty big and you'll have plenty to master before you move on.

I was pleased with the cd too - you just can't beat hearing the grooves being played, it gets across the feel that the notated examples alone aren't able to.

There is just the right amount of explanation and text for each groove and example, so you won't be left wondering if you've got the whole picture.

Some of the grooves get a little tricky, but the book does start you off with some easier first steps so you can build up to it. The most important point though, is that they are fun to play!

Overall - The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly...

On the whole I am impressed with Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset. It's full of authentic, detailed grooves and it's great fun to play through. You'll be challenged if you've never played this style before, but it isn't too overwhelming.

It's a decent size at 78 pages and you will have loads to work through and enjoy. With the cd, pictures, and some interesting history thrown's a quality book.

Any downsides? There's not really anything bad to say about the book. It's challenging but that's the whole point - you have to put in a little work to fully learn and appreciate these grooves.

As far as this style goes, this book is the best book I've come across and I highly reccommend it. However, the book is gonna be best used by intermediate to advanced players who already have some technique down. If you're a very new player I'd give this a miss for now.

Best place to buy? Amazon usually have some good offers, so I'd try looking there for the best price. There's also another good book available called Afro Cuban Rhythms for Drumset which is worth a look.

The Final Word: if you want to master those irresstibal dance rhythms, then Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset is for you. With lots of authentic detailed grooves, you'll be partying for ages. It's carnival time!

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