Educational Resources

Voted “Best educational DVDs”
by Zildjian Readers Poll

“Joe McCarthy’s Afro-Cuban Big Band Play-Along is the state of the art: clear textual explanations, a variety of styles and tempos, and a great big band to play with.”
– Professor Ed Soph, College of Music, University of North Texas

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Joe McCarthy’s
Afro-Cuban Big Band
Play-Along Series, Volume 2

In Joe McCarthy’s Afro-Cuban Big Band Play-Along Series, 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.

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Joe McCarthy’s
Afro-Cuban Big Band
Play-Along Series, Volume 1

The Afro-Cuban Big Band Play-Along DVD gives the drummer/percussionist an opportunity to play contemporary Afro-Cuban music 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.

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Download Samples From DVD

Afro-Cuban Big Band
Play-Along Book and CD


This play-along book and CD gives the drummer an opportunity to play contemporary Afro-Cuban music in a big band setting. Containing 6 tracks from the 2008 Grammy award winning Afro Bop Alliance CD, Joe analyzes each tune and provides charts, transcriptions and play-along tracks minus drums.

Reviews for DVDS

“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, Modern Drummer

(volume 2) “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.”
-Jeff Potter, Modern Drummer

“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 Department,
Berklee College of Music

“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.”
– Victor Rendón
Drummer/percussionist/educator/composer/arranger
Grupo Latin Vibe, Blue Mambo
Lehman College, Bronx, NY
Author of “The Art of Playing Timbales”

“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 player. I highly recommend it.”
–Mark Kelso, Professor of Percussion, Humber College

“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.”
– John Riley, World renowned drummer, author, and educator