Jay Bereck and Matthew Smith are in my opinion, the only two Master drum makers that are currently making traditionally styled "Cuban" percussion instruments in the U.S.A. that literally have "Soul" in them.
The "Soul" of both Jay and Matt go into every "organic" wood drum they make. Drums made of fiberglass and plastic are absolutely "soulless".
These are photos of Jay Bereck and Matthew Smith. The very definition of Master "Artists-Artisanos" "Los que saben ... saber"
Jay Bereck - "Skin On Skin"® Made in the U.S. not cheaply made on an assembly line in Thailand. 1986 - Brooklyn, N.Y.
I took this photo of Jay Bereck in his workshop with his drums around him. The drum in the middle in front was made by Natalio "Junior" Tirado, it had been stained black by Junior, I had Jay refinish the drum to show the natural grain of the Mahogany.
1994 - Brooklyn, N.Y. I took this photo of Jay Bereck in his workshop with four of his Oak drums around him. The small drum in the front was a 8½ inch 'Requinto' I asked him to make for me.
Oak 8½ inch 'Requinto' with plain black oxidized bands.
1994 - Brooklyn, N.Y. At Jays workshop, picking out skins to buy. This was when the quality of skins were much better than the "overly processed" skins that are currently available. No two skins looked alike.
Jay Bereck's"Skin On Skin"® Oak tumbadoras. With thin "clean looking" brushed steel bands. Photo: Juan in California
Jay Bereck's"Skin On Skin"® Oak tumbadora. With thin "clean looking" brushed steel bands.
Jay Bereck's "Skin On Skin"® Oak tumbadora. With thin "clean looking" brushed steel bands. Photo: James in California
Jay Bereck's clean looking "V" Photo: James in California
Jay Bereck "Skin On Skin"® tumbadoras. "Economy line" made of Cherry wood with plain black oxidized hardware.
Jay Berecks "Skin On Skin"® Oak bongoes Photo: Dario, Miami
Jay Berecks "Skin On Skin"® Walnut bongoes Photo: Dario, Miami
Feb. 17, 1927 - La Habana, Cuba
Sept. 11, 2009 - La Habana, Cuba
Died of a heart attack at age 82
Raul Castro, Juan Almeida and Fidel Castro
Despite being despised by most residents of South Florida and Union City N.J., Juan Almeida Bosque having been the Commander of The Cuban Armed Forces was also a music composer/writer.
While not at all as "hip" as composers 'Gonzalo Asencio' ("Tio Tom"), Bienvenido Julián Gutiérrez, Arsenio Rodríguez, Ignacio Piñeiro, María Teresa Vera, Ñico Saquito or Faustino Oramas Osorío ("El Guayabero"), Juan Almeida Bosqueis said to havecomposed more than 300 songs, many of them boleros.
Cuban LP's and recordings which include particular "styles" and "forms" of (playing & singing) "Cuban" music that unfortunately have become, or are on their way to becoming lost art forms. As well as related materiel which may not be "directly" from Cuba.
Mostly LP's that are either long out of print and-or obscure and music from "my own personal collection".
Occasionally some Brasilian things will be added that are hard to find, even on the other great Brasilian blogs, many that are listed in my Blog links. And maybe some things that have nothing to do with Cuban or Brasilian music.
It takes time to do all this, scanning the covers, resizing and uploading, often changing & correcting the info.
Have fun! "The water most often tastes freshest at its source"
Mark Sanders: Musician / percussionist.
Living, working and teaching in Manhattan, N.Y.C., U.S.A.
Born and raised in Manhattan, N.Y.C.
Lived in New Orleans from 1972 to 1986.
Produced and hosted the first Cuban music radio program in New Orleans on WWOZ from 1980-1986.
Been back in N.Y.C. 28 years and planing on getting the hell out very soon.