Advanced: Charlie Hunter's Montuno Mojo

December 1, 2008

1208 Hunter Quick“Unless your time is absolutely on,” reminded Charlie Hunter in the August ’03 GP, “you’re a burden to anyone sharing the stage with you.” One way to strengthen your groove, Hunter suggested, is to practice the lively salsa vamps known as montunos.

Like learning to ride a bike, these piano-style comping approaches can involve some frustrating wipeouts when you’re first trying to get rolling. But when you finally get cruising with one, it’s immensely liberating. “No matter what kind of music you’re into, montunos will make a man out of you,” says Hunter, “because they don’t have a big downbeat anywhere you can land on.” Case in point is this satisfying, cut-time A-minor montuno, that, like most, starts on beat four.

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