When playing keyboards, latency can refer to the delay between hitting a key and hearing the resulting sound. Just a little delay can derail your part.
Recently, I played in a recording session where the goal was to track live, full-band instrumentals for five tracks in six hours. The first four songs went down as smoothly as we could have asked for, but the sixth tune gave me some unexpected trouble — for the first couple run-throughs, I couldn’t seem to get my piano parts to lock in with the groove of the overall track. I knew the song well and had performed it live dozens of times with my band mates. Here in the recording studio, I wasn’t sure what the issue was.
After some reflection and listening back to our first couple takes, the hang-up became clear: latency.