The 11 Best Salsa Music Books

6 min read

Salsa music has long been a vibrant part of Latin culture and its influence can be heard in many different genres today. If you’re looking to learn more about this exciting style, then these books are the perfect place to start. From Afro-Cuban rhythms to Selena compositions, each one offers something unique that will help deepen your understanding of salsa and give you new ideas for exploring it further. Whether you want to explore traditional Cuban sounds or get creative with modern interpretations, there’s something here for everyone!

  1. The Book of Salsa

    The Book of Salsa
    César Miguel Rondón
    Published in 2008

    The Book of Salsa is an enjoyable and comprehensive exploration into the history, styles, movements and production of salsa music. Written by Venezuelan TV producer Cesar Miguel Rondón, this book recounts the emergence and development of salsa as a distinct musical movement in New York City beginning with its roots in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. It examines how it was conceived out of barrio culture to become commercially produced for professional musicians. Additionally included are detailed analyses about influential artists such as Willie Colón , Eddie Palmieri along with Ray Barretto . The Basic Discography serves great use for collecting enthusiasts. This English-language edition features a new chapter bringing readers up to date on modern day salsa trends making it essential reading for all Latin American music fans!

  2. Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset

    Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset
    Frank Malabe, Bob Weiner
    Published in 1994

    Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset: Book and CD is an invaluable resource for any drummers interested in mastering Afro-Cuban rhythms. This publication, written by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner, explores the intricacies of these unique styles with a straightforward approach that is easy to understand. The companion audio CD provides experts’ demonstrations of each exercise featured in the book, enabling readers to gain a true understanding of how this music should sound when performed. Perfectly suited both to amateurs looking for basic patterns and professionals seeking more comprehensive knowledge, this text also includes historical information about traditional instruments used and the origins of Afro-Cuban music. A must have addition to every serious percussionists library; Afro Cuban Rhythms For Drum Set will take you on an educational musical journey through some truly captivating grooves!

  3. Cuba

    Stuart Baker, Gilles Peterson
    Published in 2021

    This unique book, compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker, presents an engaging exploration of Cuban record sleeve design from the start of the Cuban Revolution to 1985. Spanning a variety of styles in music and graphics – such as rumba, salsa, socialist realist art and geometric abstraction – this volume offers readers a colourful look at Cuba’s musical history throughout one hundred years of evolution. With hundreds of rarely seen vinyl records included, it showcases both cultural depth and political influence that shaped Cuban music after 1959’s revolution. From Machito setting New York’s jazz scene alight to Chano Pozo inspiring Latin Jazz with Dizzy Gillespie; from Nueva Trova movement songwriters to 1980s modernistic experiments in Afro-Cuban folkloric music – it is all here! Richly illustrated with many previously unseen images outside its native island nation, Cuba: Music and Revolution provides an invaluable insight into the country’s rich musical legacy which will captivate both casual fans or connoisseurs alike.

  4. Sounds of Spain, Book 3

    Sounds of Spain, Book 3
    Catherine Rollin
    Published in 2008

    This book, the third in Catherine Rollin’s Sounds of Spain series, features five late intermediate solos that evoke the colour and life of Spanish music. All pieces are rhythmically inventive, with melodic flair making them enjoyable to both play and hear. The Iberian Nocturne is particularly beautiful yet simple enough for most players; others may find some sections more challenging but rewarding once conquered. It has been chosen as a Federation Festivals 2020-2024 selection, meaning it should be on any aspiring pianist’s list! An ideal choice for those who want to learn something new while having fun playing piano.

  5. New York and the International Sound of Latin Music, 1940-1990

    New York and the International Sound of Latin Music, 1940-1990
    Benjamin Lapidus
    Published in 2020

    Benjamin Lapidus’ book, New York and the International Sound of Latin Music 1940-1990 is an intriguing study of how Latin music has developed over time in New York City. In this tome, Lapidus examines how interethnic collaboration amongst musicians, composers, dancers, instrument builders and educators brought about a new standard for the creation and performance of Spanish Caribbean popular music between 1940 and 1990. Through archival research as well as oral histories he paints a vivid picture of the struggles faced by these artists who had to overcome racism throughout their journey. He also gives recognition to those individuals who helped bridge cultural gaps through musical expression which ultimately changed not only American but international musical traditions too. This work should be essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about Latino culture or studying contemporary music history.

  6. Sounds of Spain , Book 2

    Sounds of Spain , Bk 2
    Catherine Rollin
    Published in 1999

    Catherine Rollin’s Sounds of Spain Book 2 is an excellent collection of intermediate solos which capture the unique and vibrant culture of Spanish music. With seven pieces that are technically manageable yet showy, they provide a great opportunity to explore exciting rhythms, melodies and harmonies. The perfect crowd-pleaser for those looking to add some dynamic flair to their repertoire! This book has been selected as part of Federation Festivals 2020-2024 program – clearly showing its quality and appeal. An enjoyable selection for all ages; from younger learners up to seasoned professionals. From the haunting precision of tango tunes through to exhilarating flamenco guitar riffs – this volume captures it all in beautiful detail!

  7. Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae

    Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae
    Peter Manuel, Michael Largey
    Published in 2016

    Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae is an award-winning book that has become the definitive guide to the distinctive musics of this region. This third edition is substantially updated and expanded, featuring thorough coverage of new developments such as reggaeton, bachata, music videos and new dance styles. The authors expertly contextualise these musical styles with themes of gender roles, racial dynamics and diasporic dimensions in a comprehensive panorama of Caribbean culture. There are many illustrations included alongside links to accompanying video footage for readers wanting more insight into the subject matter. Overall it provides an engaging overview with its fascinating analysis on social aspects related to popular music genres in this highly dynamic part of the world.

  8. Sounds of Spain , Book 1

    Sounds of Spain , Bk 1
    Catherine Rollin
    Published in 1999

    This collection of piano solos, Sounds of Spain Book 1, offers an evocative portrait of Spanish culture. These pieces are easy to learn and master for early intermediate or intermediate players. Each composition has a distinctive flavor; featuring rolled chords, triplet-infused melodies, staccato phrasing and vibrant dance rhythms. Musicians will be charmed by the fiery bravado in a matador song or captivated by the passionate singing of a troubadour. Those who perform these works will find them both entertaining and stimulating! This book is sure to make a lasting impression with its graceful señoritas and dynamic compositions – great for adult beginners as well as more advanced pianists looking to explore something new.

  9. Los Lobos: Dream in Blue

    Los Lobos: Dream in Blue
    Chris Morris
    Published in 2015

    Los Lobos: Dream in Blue, written by music journalist Chris Morris, is an excellent chronicle of the four decade long journey of one of America’s most unique and accomplished bands. Drawing on new interviews with Los Lobos members and their collaborators as well as his own reporting since the early 1980s, he follows their trajectory from playing Mexican folk music at weddings to international stardom. He describes all their albums, lingering over highlights such as How Will the Wolf Survive?, La Pistola y El Corazon, and Kiko while exploring how they navigated electric performances for a Mohawk-hair generation, enjoyed success with “La Bamba” soundtrack and dealt with missteps along the way. Written with care and insight about each album providing rich geographical context throughout – this book will satisfy even die-hard fans! It offers overwhelming evidence that the band deserves its place in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – making it both informative and engrossing read.

  10. The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion & Drum Set

    The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion & Drum Set
    Ed Uribe
    Published in 1996

    Ed Uribe’s ‘The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion and Drum Set’ is an essential purchase for any musician looking to explore the world of Afro-Cuban music. This 324 page volume contains in-depth studies of all percussion instruments, rhythms and song styles which can be applied to drum sets as well as detailed technical studies with notations of many rhythm styles. The entire rhythm section (parts for bass, piano, horn section, string section, tres and guitar) are also studied extensively. Accompanying this book is two CDs containing performances from each discussed instrument along with examples of musical styles played by a full band. It makes for a comprehensive guide on understanding the fundamentals behind Afro-Cuban drums and percussions; perfect for beginners or advanced players alike looking to learn more about this vibrant style!

  11. Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset: Book & CD

    Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset: Book & CD
    Duduka da Fonsceca, Bob Weiner
    Published in 1993

    This book, Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset: Book & CD is an essential guide to learning traditional rhythms from Brazil. It provides a comprehensive overview of the complexities and influences of this rich musical history with in-depth explanations and examples. Included are samba, partito alto, bossa nova, baiao, caterete, maracatu, marcha and frevo; all accompanied by recordings on the accompanying CD. Perfect for intermediate level players looking to expand their repertoire or experienced musicians wanting to brush up on complex yet fun beats! The clear layout makes understanding easy while step-by-step instructions allow you to quickly get grooving along with these exhilarating rhythms. A must have for anyone interested in exploring contemporary sounds from South America!

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