Instrumentals: do you like them? DJs: do you play them?

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by DJ Yuca, May 23, 2012.

  1. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    We've already had 'what are your favourite instrumentals?' type threads, but I want to know how many of us actually like instrumentals, how many dislike them and how many are indifferent. Primarily re. hearing them at a salsa event/venue.

    And DJs: do you play them?

    I'll get the ball rolling. Yes I like to hear and dance to them, and if I attend a night without any it's a disappointment (although if what is played is good that's far more important). As a DJ there's not many nights I play at where I can play many instrumentals, and some nights I might not play any. (Unless there are on2 dancers present I don't normally bother. The only exception might be Alfredo Linares' instrumentals, which are very on1 friendly. I have had more than one request not to play 'any of that xylophone stuff'.)

    And you?
  2. HalfMan

    HalfMan Son Montuno

    Not too fussed, to be honest. Obviously don't mind hearing one or two in an evening, and may dance to them; but then again may also decide it's a good time to go to the bar.

    Perhaps the problem is that, juxtaposed between high energy up-tempo tracks, an instrumental can sound, well, bland; I can get bored of it after a while, especially if it's one of the plinkity-plink piano types.

    Just a personal opinion
  3. TwoLeftFeet

    TwoLeftFeet Shine Officer

    I like em!
  4. tallpaul

    tallpaul Pattern Police

    Love them. More of that plinky plink xylophone* stuff please. :)

    Part of the reason why I like them is because Latin Jazz has been a "way in" to salsa music for me. I don't speak Spanish, but I do speak "jazz soloing", so there is no language barrier with instrumentals.

    My tastes in Salsa music have developed, but I still love the Latin jazz stuff.

    (* Yes, I do know it's a vibrophone. Cool instrument, IMO. Loved watching Sexteto Cafe play one live in Belfast a few months back).
  5. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Its not wrong, to like or dislike ANY style of latin music. I think more to the point is this.....

    Each and every song tells a story, some thru music alone and others with words.

    The variety is what "drives " the genre . I would be equally bored if, the music thats played would all be ALL of the same style ( and country origin ) .

    The subtleness of some compositions are, for many, difficult to express in dance terms, thats the challenge ,that I need ,every time I dance .

    Thats the "pathway ", upon which I place all my students .

    And, thats also the way I like to DJ .
  6. Abayarde

    Abayarde Capitán Del Estilo

    I like them; usually play one or two in the initial warming-up-set. Later I play them if dancers ask for it; some of them already have a dancing routine based in the song, so it goes together perfectly. remember the last one requested was Willie Colón's "Chinacubana"
  7. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I would probably turn away from salsa, if it would not be for instrumentals. Now after couple years of digging through music, they don't dominate my playlist so much.
  8. kbitten

    kbitten Clave Commander

    I would find chinacubana a strange song to dance..and probably would think what the dj is thinking to put that in a social?

    I like instrumentals songs like cal tjader ones but most of them dont give me dance feelings..the give me "sit on a bar, talk to friends drinking feelings "

    and es, the can be boring ..but the real good ones make our dance develop to a different wa we used to..once I danced to this song and LOVE it..the leader knew how to "grow"as the song was growing too so it was awsome

    bebo Valdés "Anda" :
  9. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Don't necessarily dislike them, but since for me music is more about what people have to say then just the harmonies and rhythms, I prefer songs with lyrics always. I doubt an instrumental would make me feel like "I will die if I can't find a partner to dance this song with". Really in the Stockholm Cuban scene they aren't played...that I've ever noticed.
  10. Chris F

    Chris F Tumbao

    Being a musician I love instrumentals but from a DJ perspective I think they are one of those things you have to pick carefully. For dancing the song needs to have energy, direction and drive; the solos can't go on forever, no big lulls etc...

    Something like Johnny Zamot - El Bantu is my idea of a great instrumental track:
  11. Mr.Afinque

    Mr.Afinque Sonero

    I love instrumentals. To me its a chance for musicians to show off some of their skills. I mean who does love a great descarga? Well an instrumental is just that except elongated.

    There are plenty you can dance to but I like to relax and appreciate the artwork the musicians are presenting. Music without words is still music.

    My latest instrumental playlist includes....
    Last Tango In Paris- Willie Rosario
    Nino Africano- Yuri Buenaventura
    Junio 73- Willie Colon
    Para Ti- Mongo Santamaria
    Pan y Agua - Willie Colon
    Wave - Willie Rosario
    Shiny Stockings - Bobby Valentin
    Satin Lace - Willie Rosario
    Codazos - Bobby Valentin
    No More Blues - Willie Rosario
    Mira Flores - Eddie Palmieri
    Shadow Of Your Smile- Ray Barretto
    Nicas Dream Mambo - Sonora Poncena
    EMOYENO likes this.
  12. DJ Ara

    DJ Ara Clave Commander

    A few well placed and the right type of instrumentals (well arranged, sometimes 'punchy' and dance friendly) or 'Salsa Jazz' tracks as I prefer to call them, can enrich any genuine salsa night.

    Add that to a few well placed Pachangas, Boogaloos, Sons and even Salsa Romantica (if there is a public for it) and you will have a perfect and colorful salsa soup. The proportions or even the existance of these 'sub-genres' within a DJ's set are as always dependent on his public.

    However, for those DJs who have weekly residencies at clubs, I would recommend to get the crowd (sometimes gradually) used to such a mixture within a Salsa Dura/Clasica dominated set. Such sets will help make one's hardcore salsa nights more 'colorful' and interesting, because of regular changes in the 'tones' and 'melodies', while within a hardcore salsa structure.
  13. GroovyMambo

    GroovyMambo Sonero

    I really enjoy instrumental tracks for dancing as long as they have the characteristics you listed above. For me, songs that are more "salsa dura without lyrics" rather than "strict" latin jazz would fit the bill. This principle would also apply to cover versions of jazz standards, e.g., La-33's version of "My Favorite Things".
  14. Abayarde

    Abayarde Capitán Del Estilo

    nice list... :cool:
  15. salsology

    salsology Nuevo Ritmo

    To the OP; The answer to your two questions are yes and yes.
    I know instrumentals are not everyones cup of tea and have heard one DJ playing a couple of instrumentals being told by the promoter play stuff with vocals!

    When I use to dj I found quite a few instrumentals creeping into my set.
  16. DJ Ara

    DJ Ara Clave Commander

    If you have the right crowd, then a couple of instrumental here, an odd Pachanga there, with a boogaloo thrown in here, with a son montuno, there, combined with mainly Salsa Clasica and a good number of well picked modern Salsa Dura - one can as a DJ can create a lot of 'color' that will make your night very interesting and rich, musical quality wise. ;)

    The role of just a few instrumentals (the right ones!!!), is fundamental in creating this richness.
  17. nowhiteshoes

    nowhiteshoes Pattern Police

    When i started i hated them....probably as my timing was i love them.

    Not too may in a night though but i like a few + prefer to dance at venues that are likely to play a couple.
  18. kbitten

    kbitten Clave Commander


    Tricky song the last tango in paris one..dont you got the angry eyes from the dancers?
  19. TwoCentsTipper

    TwoCentsTipper Rhythm Deputy

    I honestly think that Instrumentals are essential on ones' playlist. I find they add a fresh breeze, a new charge. If only DJ's around my town play them more.Yet again I don't have a very favorable opinion about the residents in my town anyways. Sometimes I get the feeling that they do not understand the dancers, maybe because they are not dancers themselves. I wish I was in a different city sometimes.

    I love the Jazzy Instrumentals particularly in the struck Idiophone family, New Swing Sextext "My favorite things" is one example, although I find it too fast to dance. Either that or i'm getting too old for dancing.
  20. DJ Ara

    DJ Ara Clave Commander

    You are never too old to dance, just use smaller steps when the tracks are fast.....;)

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