The Latin Real Book: Book Review

The Latin Real Book

The Latin Real Book is the best Latin fake book I own. I have three other Latin fake books but they have bad changes and the print is so small you can’t read the tunes. All the top Latin jazz players I know use this fake book almost exclusively.

One valuable feature of The Latin Real Book is the  Basic Vocabulary section, which explains a lot of the terms used on Latin jazz gigs. It also includes plenty of pictures of famous Latin musicians.

I also like the fact that The Latin Real Book gives the clave when it’s needed. It makes the tunes easier to read if you know if the clave is 3-2 or 2-3 before you start.

Also, another great feature that sets this book apart from all the rest is that some of the tunes have separate parts for horns, bass, or voice, depending on the complexity of the composition. They are not just watered down lead sheets.

Last but not least, there is a rhythm section appendix with some very informative tips for those who are new to the genre.

Some of the tunes I’ve performed from this book include:

Afro Blue by Mongo Santamaria
Yes, this is more widely known as a John Coltrane tune, but it is also a common staple in the Latin jazz repertoire.

Aquarela Do Brasil (a. k. a. Brasil) by Ary Barroso
This is probably one of the most famous sambas ever. It needs very little explanation.

Armando’s Rumba by Chick Corea
This was originally from Chick Corea’s My Spanish Heart album (which is my favorite of his). It was written for piano and strings but I’ve performed it several times with horns and rhythm section.

Bemba Colora by Jose Claro Fumero
I have only ever played this tune on salsa gigs. It’s a great dance tune.

Besame Mucho by Consuelo Velazquez
Not only a Latin tune, but also a very popular jazz standard.

Cachita by Rafael Hernandez
Another very famous dance tune. They have it listed as a son, but we always played it as a cumbia.

Compadre Pedro Juan by Luis Alberti
This is a very popular merengue that I’ve been playing on dance gigs ever since my first gig with Ricky Diaz in 1990.

Danzon For My Father by Oscar Hernandez
A beautiful song in the danzon style. The arpeggios in the trumpet part need to be very smooth to get the right effect, but when it’s done well, it is gorgeous.

El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor) by Moises Simons
The Peanut Vendor was a popular hit during the big band era.

Frenesi by Alberto Dominguez
Here’s another famous dance number. This one is a cha cha.

Guarare by Juan Formell
I have only ever played this tune on salsa gigs.

Linda Chicana by Mark Levine
I used to play this tune with Norma Zenteno’s band. It’s a cha cha featuring flute but sounds good with trumpet or fluglehorn as well.

Look To The Sky by Antonio Carlos Jobim
I know this more as a jazz standard but it works well with a Latin jazz band as well.

Mambo Cinco and Mambo Ocho by Perez Prado
Two of the famous Perez Prado mambos. I recommend listening to some of the original recordings of Perez Prado’s band to get a basic idea of the mambo style. Most bands don’t play that way anymore, but it’s good to have a frame of reference.

Mambo Inn by Mario Bauza, Bobby Woodlen and Grace Sampson
Mambo Inn always struck me as being more commercial than some of the other mambos. For that reason, it seems to be a good crowd pleaser.

Manteca by Dizzy Gillespie
When Dizzy Gillespie began experimenting with afro-cuban rhythms, Manteca became one of his most popular hits.

Mas Que Nada by Jorge Ben
This is a Samba that we used to play with the Latin Jazztet (Carlos Garnette and Will Cruz).

Ran Kan Kan by Tito Puente
This mambo is one of the most energetic Latin tunes ever written. I seem to remember a recording with Arturo Sandoval playing all the high stuff. Wow!

Solamente Una Vez by Agustin Lara
This bolero is one of the only Spanish songs I ever learned to sing. It is definitely one of the top boleros and gets requested quite often.

Tin Tin Deo by Walter Fuller
Here is another afro-cuban tune that Dizzy Gillespie made popular. I remember listening to this on LP back when I was a kid. I only owned about four recordings and this tune was on one of them.

You can purchase The Latin Real Book at

The following is a comprehensive list of all the tunes in the Latin Real Book:

  • E’
  • Jogral
  • Besame
  • Te Desafio
  • Novena
  • Don Quixote
  • Un Tipo Como Yo
  • Dom De Iludir
  • Tapete Magico
  • Voce E’ Linda
  • Luz Do Sol
  • Ponteio
  • Armando’s Rhumba
  • Suavecito
  • Pare Cochero
  • Manteca
  • Tin Tin Deo
  • Ran Kan Kan
  • A Mi Que
  • Almendra
  • Angoa
  • Aqui, Oh!
  • Baia (Bahia)
  • Basta De Clamares Inocencia
  • Bilongo
  • Bruca Manigua
  • Capullito de Aleli
  • Compadre Pedro Juan
  • Contigo En La Distancia
  • Dame un cachito pa’huele
  • Dile A Catalina
  • Echale Salsita
  • El Agua Del Clavelito
  • Enojo De Elena (Elena Elena)
  • Estoy Como Nunca
  • Flor De Lis (Upside Down)
  • La Charanga
  • La Enganadora
  • La Vida Es Un Sueno
  • Lagrimas Negras
  • Lamento Borincano
  • Los Tamalitos de Olga
  • Mambo #8
  • O Bebado E A Equilibrista
  • Obsesion
  • Picadillo (a la Puente)
  • Son De La Loma
  • Tres Lindas Cubanas
  • ? Y Tu Que Has Hecho?
  • Rainsville
  • Bemba Colora
  • A Fonte Secou
  • A Nivel De
  • Afro Blue
  • Aguardiente De Cana
  • Alonzo
  • Amantes
  • Amazonia
  • Amor
  • Amor Artificial
  • Anatelio (The Happy People)
  • Aparecida
  • Arallue
  • Atras De Nos
  • Bacchanal
  • Bailando Asi
  • Bomba De Corazon
  • Brasileiro
  • Cascade Of The Seven Waterfalls
  • Cha-Cha-Cha (Calzada De Cerro)
  • Changuiri
  • Claudia
  • Club Morocco
  • Coisa Feita
  • Come With Me
  • Cubanita
  • Curacao
  • Danzon For My Father
  • Decision
  • Dejala Que Baile Sola (Que Baile Sola El Son)
  • Dejala Que Siga Andando
  • Dejame Sonar
  • Dime Tu Que Lo Sabes
  • Eastern Joy Dance
  • El Cantar Del Coqui
  • Encantigo
  • Entregate
  • Flight To Jordan
  • Frevo
  • Guarare
  • Hannibal’s Revenge
  • Indestructible
  • Indiferencia
  • Juan Pachanga
  • Kalinda
  • La Esencia Del Guaguanco
  • (Se Acabo) La Malanga
  • La Patria Del Son
  • Latin Perspective
  • Leva E Traz (Elis)
  • Linda Chicana
  • Lo Que Siento Es Le Lo Ley
  • Lo Que Va A Pasar (El Volcan del Caribe)
  • Loro
  • Lourdes’ Lullaby
  • Lua Soberana
  • Mamblues
  • Mambo Influenciado
  • Maria Cervantes (a Noro Morales)
  • Mayeya, No Juegues Con Los Santos
  • Me Voy Pa’l Pueblo
  • Meu Canario Vizinho Azul
  • Midnight Mambo
  • Mixing (Misturada)
  • Mountain Flight
  • (Anda Ven Y) Muevete
  • Muito Normal
  • Naci Moreno
  • Natty Stick
  • 1983
  • O Pato (The Duck)
  • Obsession
  • Oferere
  • Outra Vez
  • Pa’ Gozar
  • Pablo Pueblo
  • Paginas De Mujer
  • Palo Pa’ Rumba
  • Paulistana
  • Pueblo Latino
  • Pura Novela
  • Que Se Funan
  • Que Sorpresa
  • Recuerdos De Arcano
  • Rico Vacilon (Cha Cha Cha)
  • Sabor
  • Rio
  • Sambadouro
  • Sambita
  • Sandunguera
  • Second Wind
  • Siembra
  • Sin Saber Porque
  • Sin Tu Carino
  • So Te Esperando
  • Son De Cuba A Puerto Rico
  • Song For Chano
  • Sonhos
  • Soy Antillana
  • To Wisdom The Prize
  • Tombo in 7/4
  • Um Samba
  • Vai Amigo
  • Varadero Blues
  • Vera Cruz
  • Virgen De La Caridad
  • Virou Areia
  • Vive Y Vacila
  • Y Hoy Como Ayer
  • Yatra-Ta
  • Yerbero Moderno
  • Building Bridges
  • Camaleon
  • Camina Y Prende El Fogon
  • Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much)
  • Brazil
  • Cachita
  • Frenesi
  • La Comparsa (Carnival Procession)
  • Look To The Sky
  • At The Mambo Inn
  • Mas Que Nada
  • The Peanut Vendor (El Manisero)
  • So Danco Samba (Jazz ‘N’ Samba)
  • You Belong To My Heart (Solamente Una Vez)
  • Mambo #5
  • Zingaro (Retrato Em Branco E Preto)

About Eddie Lewis

Eddie Lewis is primarily known as a Christian free-lance trumpet player in Houston, TX. Eddie makes a living playing trumpet, teaching trumpet and jazz improvisation, writing trumpet music and authoring trumpet books. His second book, Daily Routines for Trumpet, is used regularly by thousands of trumpet players around the world. If you would like to purchase some of his CD's, feel free to visit our online music store at
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