Language of the Masters

Transcriptions and Etudes of 10 Great Latin Percussion Artists

The Language of the Masters by Michael Spiro (and Michael Coletti).


  • Armando Peraza
  • Tito Puente
  • Ray Barretto
  • Manny Oquendo
  • Tata Guines
  • Guillermo Barreto
  • Johnny Rodriguez
  • Yeyito
  • Mongo Santamaria
  • Orestes Vilato
  • (Plus a BONUS Giovanni Hidalgo transcription!)

The Language of the Masters includes:

  • Three transcribed, classic solos from each one of these 10 artists’ recordings
  • A written etude summarizing the essence of each percussionist’s style
  • Play-along tracks for each etude — first with the solo performed and then with accompaniment only, so you can practice the etude yourself.
  • Michael Spiro’s 16-page written overview of how to study these transcriptions and incorporate them into your own playing.
  • This book is the first collected, comprehensive analysis of all these great masters of Latin percussion, giving them the respect and attention they deserve. Getting inside the minds of these artists will help you find your own voice as you become more fluent in the language of Latin Percussion improvisation.

Perfect for intermediate to advanced percussionists to learn salsa and Latin jazz by studying the major figures in the genre.

This is the ideal book for student and academic auditions — absolutely the first of its kind!

127 page text, with 20 easily downloadable audio tracks.

This book allows us to walk through the minds of the legends whose legacies inspire us still.”
— Karl Perazzo

Book Preview:




  • Michael Spiro


  • Drums


  • Afro-Cuban
  • Latin

Skill Level

  • Advanced
  • Intermediate
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