Big Band Play Along Series


Afro Cuban Big Band Play Along: Volume 1


This DVD lesson series gives the drummer an opportunity to play Afro-Cuban grooves in a big band setting. Playing tunes from the Latin Grammy-winning group Afro-Bop Alliance, drummer Joe McCarthy focuses on three of the predominant groove categories of mainstream Afro-Cuban music: mambo, cha-cha-cha and 6/8 Afro-Cuban. State-of-the-art camera work gives an in-depth look at Joe’s multi-level approach to playing these exciting rhythms, while his focused, straight-ahead concepts take the mystery out of applying these grooves to the music of today. The DVD features play-along tracks (minus the drums), an E-book containing the complete charts and examples demonstrated on the DVD, and bonus tracks of additional tunes from Afro-Bop Alliance.

Published by Alfred Music

Modern Drummer
What a kick watching Joe McCarthy blaze through complex Afro-Cuban big band jazz numbers with ergonomic perfection. He’s so sweat free and centered, it’s like he’s relaxin’ with some café con leche. McCarthy plays to tracks from his exciting Latin Grammy Award-winning CD, Afro-Bop Alliance, and discusses his grooves and his approach to the charts. ​
Jeff Potter
John Riley
Joe McCarthy’s new book “Afro-Cuban Big Band Play-Along,” and the accompanying video demos on his website, address areas every drummer wants to excel in. The material is great, Joe’s explanations and playing are thoughtful and clear and the play-along tracks are a blast to work with. Check it out.
Drummer, author, educator

Afro Cuban Big Band Play Along: Volume 2


In Volume 2 (released by Alfred Music) Grammy® Award-winning drummer & educator Joe McCarthy takes you beyond the printed page of his best-selling book of the same name by demonstrating and explaining the artistry of this popular musical genre. His innovative teaching concepts in Volume II target groove development and chart interpretation. Three groundbreaking new tunes from UNA MÁS will be played and analyzed, complete with demonstrations and multiple camera angles allowing you to see his multi-level playing on one screen. A bonus section entitled “Stylistic Coordination” provides you with a series of exercises to develop groove, coordination, consistency, balance, and concentration.

Published by Alfred Music

Victor Rendón
Congratulations to Joe McCarthy. His Afro-Cuban big band “play along” charts help fill a void in this genre of big band drumming. The tracks with and without drums are a big plus. Joe has taken the time to provide an analysis and explanation of the drumest grooves used in each track which will help any drummer at any level in the interpretation of these challenging charts. I will recommend them to all my students.
Percussionist, educator
Modern Drummer
Discussing skills development, McCarthy sites “concentration” as an additional “limb” that requires equal exercise. And, man, this drummer’s fifth limb is muscle-bound. McCarthy’s astonishing independence and disciplined groove focus are a thrill to behold. Showcasing his modern Afro-Cuban jazz big band drumming, on this release McCarthy focuses on groove development and chart interpretation
Joe Potter

Afro Cuban Big Band Play Along Book

Book & CD

The Afro-Cuban Big Band Play-Along book and audio gives the drummer/percussionist an opportunity to play contemporary Afro-Cuban music in a big band setting. The book and audio includes six charts from, the Grammy® Award-winning Caribbean Jazz Project album, Afro-Bop Alliance (featuring Dave Samuels). The tracks, minus the drum/percussion parts, will give the player an opportunity to solo and experiment with a variety of groove and/or style variations.

Published by Alfred Music

Berklee College of Music
Joe McCarthy’s book……….fills a void that we as drummers have been missing for a long time. Finally, a book of Big Band charts in the great Afro-Cuban style that offers us a chance to hone our chart interpretation skills and our Afro Cuban skill at the same time. The charts are extremely well written and easy to follow and the music is 100% authentic! If you love Big band and you love Afro-Cuban, this book is for you!”
John Ramsay, Chair of Percussion
Hunter College
Joe’s book is a must-have for all drum teachers and students who are interested in Cuban drumming. The play-a-long recordings (all done live) have a wide variety of grooves and the charts are just like the pros use. This is an excellent way to get some hands on practice for the mid-level and advanced.
Mark Kelso, Professor of Percussion

Total Percussion

Workshops for students, professionals and educators


Training videos, book, and charts


Individualized training programs created for you

Play Along

Videos, charts and audio tracks


Video lesson series presented by Vic Firth


Workshops, tutorials and articles

Joe McCarthy Music

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