Latin Jazz Piano Improvisation

Clave, Comping, and Soloing

by Rebecca Cline


This book breaks down the harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic techniques used by the greatest artists of Cuban piano music, such as Rubén González (Buena Vista Social Club), Pedro “Peruchín” Jústiz, and Lilí Martínez Griñán. The exercises and play-along recording will help you orient yourself to Afro-Cuban grooves, and develop a sense of how to hear and use the clave as the central grounding force behind your solos and accompaniments.

You will learn to:

  • Create solos in the context of Latin grooves

  • Develop “comping” parts to accompany other solos

  • Use son and rumba clave as the rhythmic basis for your soloing and comping ideas

  • Play with idiomatic Afro-Cuban melodic vocabulary, using octaves and double/triple lead

  • Base your arranging concepts on authentic rhythms and styles, including cha cha chá and guaguancó

  • Begin and end phrases with rhythmic and harmonic precision

  • Use rhythmic displacement techniques to create polyrhythms

  • Develop your own personal style within the Afro-Cuban context