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PDX Latin Rock Exchange

Rehearsal recording
TUesday Dec 26th 2023

Notes from rehearsal Dec 26th 2023


I’ve listened a few times to the rehearsal recording. I will send the link at the end of this note.

Overall, we are sounding great and I am proud of what we are accomplishing, and I am really looking forward to presenting the band to the public.

That being said there are still areas that need more attention.


Keep it simple, especially during the sung parts and the beginnings. The solo sections are really cool, but there’s too much noodling and soloing before it’s time to do so. Please take time to savor the space, and concentrate on the rhythm parts that are so key to this style music. We shouldn’t be jamming beneath Sayvionne singing. Find a pocket, stay in it consistently each time we play the song and then wait your turn to solo or until the later part of the song. Embellish where possible but tastefully and more sporadically.

If in doubt, don't play.

On No One To Depend on, when we get to the big long middle bit, start together on that same riff and wait until I roll us into the solos, then Justin start and trade 4s or 8's with Aidan, start with enough dynamic space to get louder and louder. Sayvionne, I want you to get the audience clapping like the original recording.

Please do not noodle on your instrument between songs, even at rehearsals. It’s an immediate time waster and a habit to break asap.  Forty years from now, you’ll thank me for this gem of advice. For us to aim for the private well-paid gigs, we have to be a lot more disciplined, and our full band rehearsals are too rare to get distracted.

Try to look up when you can from your instrument to keep some visual contact with the rest of the band.

We have got to look like we’re having fun, while tight and rehearsed. Again, less is more. 

Where there are specific percussion rolls or breaks, please keep them uncluttered.


I would like us to be able to go though the set twice next week. If we could be ready to play at 3, we only get Eric for an hour. Hopefully, Chris will make it too. I am reluctant to let anyone sit in with us without a full rehearsal. 


Tony will be on congas. I expect him to do his own thing far better than anyone else, so just expect cool very authentic congas added to the mix. Sayvionne work that guiro. There is a slight chance we may get a minor percussionist to join us from Son De Cuba. They would play shakers throughout.

Guajira especially needs to have more clearly separated 4/4, 3/4 and 2/4 parts,. Everyone, find ways to lock into those time signature changes, please. Make them clearly different.

I may adapt the set list slightly. There are a couple of similarly paced/grooved songs that may need to be separated.


Specific areas:


Sayvionne, we will have one more vocal and percussion rehearsal, just you and I.

Go for the wooden guiro whenever possible, always do the long stroke starting on the first beat of each bar, not the third beat or downbeat (snare beat).

I am willing to talk/sing Spill the Wine. But there will always be songs you won’t like to sing. Just sayin’.  lol.

Concentrate on the first verse of Dos Gardenias, especially the melody. You may need to split octaves to reach some notes


Justin, I hear all you’ve been working on. Great job.

I love the tremolo on In These Shoes in the chorus.

Just nail that lead melody coming out of the 3/4 solo in No One to Depend On.

And, look out for the end of Black Magic Woman when you and Aidan return to the intro melody.


Owen. Listen to the form of Cajun Moon and The Sensitive Kind. Otherwise, rock on! I am so looking forward to playing to an audience with a great bass player. We all are!


Aidan, please get the single piano chord that drops during the couple of percussion breaks in Guajira, before the trumpet and piano solos.

I love your style and soloing skills. Just try to wait until deeper into the song and solo opportunities. Until then, try to mimic the rhythm parts from the originals during the sung verses and choruses. There are simple montuno parts in most of the songs that need to be played for specific sections.  Less jammed. There will be plenty of time to jam, but I’d like us to be tighter first.

On Black Magic Woman, before the first verse, we stay on the Dm after Justins intro lead/melody solo. On that Dm, you should intro/solo across it, but leave it open for her first words. 

Mark, try not to speed up through transitions. I am very much looking for cool groove-oriented dance music. No need for flashy rolls when you have a pocket perfect bass player and rhythm section, at least not for this band. We want to be a tight-ass band that can stretch and improvise when its time to do so. Never let Mark solo. Please adhere to the Jeff Porcaro mantra; never solo, just groove and hold the pocket.


Here is the link to the rehearsal recording, please listen and self-critique.


See you all next Tuesday, with Eric, starting at 3pm. Until 6. I’d like to run the set twice, once with Eric.

Thanks so much for your hard work!

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