09.Apr.2009 How ’bout them… Claves!?

Though I may be funky and have a whole lotta soul, I am also a white boy with little rhythmic skill—for evidence, please see the bass guitar gathering dust in my closet that I more-or-less failed at due to my inability to keep time and distinguish up beats from the down ones. Perhaps its my own shortcoming that leads to my absolute love of bass lines and any and all sorts of percussion. To be able to just go to town on the drums, or whatever item you have handy like Blue Man Group or Stomp!…(sigh) It’d be like living the dream.

A particular favorite of mine in the percussion department is a little instrument called the clave.

Pronounced "klaβe" in the Spanish style.

Pronounced "klaβe" in the Spanish style.

Their sticks made of hardwood that make a rad hollow sound when hit together.

Billy Joel’s “Don’t Ask Me Why” is a great example of some fantastic clave usage. Head to the 1:08 mark for a close up and pay attention again at 3:05, right over Mr. Joel’s shoulder.

You can’t hear the clave’s full awesome power in this concert video (check out the song on The Essential Billy Joel for more, but that should whet your appetite for more wood banging…you know what I mean! Claves!

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