This is a hybrid I came up with by mixing a New Orleans mambo with the Cuban guaguancó [Ex. 1]. It’s a fun groove to play and you can experiment with where you want to use it. For example, you could use it in a drum or percussion solo or breakdown. Or you can use it to create a different texture for a part of a tune or behind someone else’s solo.

If the accents are played as written, you’ll hear the 3:2 rumba clave played between the two hands. Make sure to accent the bombo (low tumbadora) on the bass drum (the fourth sixteenth-note in the first measure).

You can vary this groove by playing the right hand on the cowbell or ride cymbal bell or the side of the floor tom or whatever you can think of (mixing bowl, brake drum, frying pan, etc.) You can also try different bass drum patterns, like the ones in Ex. 2 and 3. Ex. 2 is just like the bombo. I like playing this one because it’s so spacious.

To develop coordination, try playing the 3:2 rumba and son claves with the left foot. Then just for fun, you can also try playing the 2:3 rumba and son claves with the left foot. Then, as always, try to come up with some variations of your own.