This book is useful in approaching the art of soloing on conga/quinto. To our knowledge it is the only book fit's kind.

See it at Amazon

Cliff Brooks endorses Fat cajones and is a one of Rhythmweb's recommended teaching resources.

Recordings suggested in support of this book include those by Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Afro-Cuba , Yoruba Andabo, Los Papines, and Clave y Guaguanco


Afro-Cuban Conga Drum improvisation
by Cliff Brooks
Review by Eric Stuer

There are lots of transcriptions of Guaguanco, but Clifford Brooks' book deals with an area that has had very little written on it until now: the art of authentic folkloric quinto soloing. He introduces quinto rides, phrases, and solos in the rich context of Guaguanco.

A little over half the book is spent getting the reader used to his notation system and counting and finding spots within it and so on. The matrix is based on 16 dashes marking equal times in the cycle and displays in either horizontal (left to right) or vertical (bottom to top) format. To be honest, I would have preferred to have seen the exercises in standard notation.

The good news of Cliff's notation system is that when you finally figure out vertical mode, the lefts and rights are very easy to read, because the lefts are on the left and the rights are on the right. To be fair it did not take long to figure out, and all in all, it is well thought out and reasonably explained.

The actual exercises are very useful indeed, once the notation system is figured out. Overall, this is a sound method, dealing with an important area. Highly recommended.



Eric Stuer, December 2004

Cliff endorses Fat Cajones, and his website has lots of free video lessons, mp3 files and other multimedia goodies.

He is one of Rhythmweb's recommended teaching resources.

Visit Cliff at AfroCuban


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