Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Linear phrases in 5/4, mixed rhythm — inversion

This is part two of that last set of linear phrases in 5/4, based on Gary Chaffee's linear patterns, from vol. III of his Patterns series of books. This is the same set of phrases from before, offset by one 8th note, so each measure begins with a bass drum hit; the labeled series of patterns for each phrase begins on the & of 1, then:

Start by playing them with an alternating sticking, starting with the right hand, moving around the drums, then see Patterns, vol. III for more ideas, if you haven't arrived at any of your own.

Better get cracking on these, there are more of them coming...

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Page o' coordination: Ahmad's vamp

Something to go with yesterday's practice loop, with some hihat splashes with the left foot. It's nice and slow, but the track pushes and pulls a little bit, so the timing might be a little challenging for some.

Don't overplay the bass drum— you will sound very square if you do that. I suggest doing the hihat splashes with your foot flat on the pedal. You can also just play the hihat notes with a closed sound, if you want. If you're playing with the practice loop, listen carefully to how your cymbal pattern fits with the track— like I said before, you won't be able to play the cymbal mechanically.

For those of you living on the this-blog equivalent of Mars, exiled to Siberia, or whatever: there are some left hand moves I recommend doing when practicing these patterns. Usually we move to a different drum when there is a big space between notes— any LH doubles stay on the same drum— but at the slow tempo of that practice loop, you can move on every single note.

The workout is the entire page plus some or all of the moves; once you can play the entire page, then your actual practice begins— refining your touch, making it sound like music, and covering some different tempos. There are quite a few of these pages o'..., and you probably won't have time to give them all a full treatment. Any one of them you practice fully is a big deal; and subsequent pages are much easier after you've done one of them.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Practice loop: Crazy He Calls Me

This is another sampled practice loop I've been using for a long time, good for your triplety jazz materials. It's four measures long, from the intro of Crazy He Calls Me, played by Ahmad Jamal, which I have on the album The Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings. It's a slow tempo, and the timing is expressive— the first measure rushes slightly, and the last measure relaxes slightly— so you won't be able to play mechanically over it— you'll have to listen, put a little air in your playing, and play the phrase:

Here's the rhythm of the phrase, if you have trouble hearing it at first— the & of 1 swings, of course.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Snare drum workout in 6/8 — 01

I thought I posted this weeks ago, but, if Blogger's kind-of sucky search engine is to be trusted, it seems I haven't. Best to find what you're looking for using the labels at the bottom of each post, and/or the site archives in the sidebar. One of these days I'll move the blog over to Wordpress, which I understand is a fairyland of things not sucking as bad as they do with Blogger...

Anyway, here's a snare drum workout in 6/8, using Stone stickings, and a mixed rhythm, with flams and a flamacue-like structure— an unaccented flam followed by an accent. No, I know of no more concise way of describing it.

I try to use as little ink as possible with these things, but this one is complex enough that we really need all the stickings written in, for both RH and LH lead. My usual rules these days are: 1) Play the dynamics. 2) Make it through the whole page every session. 3) Keep stick heights generally low— 1" grace notes, 3-4" taps, 5-6" accents.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Linear phrases in 5/4, mixed rhythm

Here are some practice phrases using Gary Chaffee's linear patterns, from vol. III of his Patterns series of books. I've put his jazz linear phrases into 5/4, with a mixed 8th note/triplet rhythm— there are twelve notes per pattern here, and in the original, so the phrases translate exactly.

There are a lot of possibilities for these types of patterns; I just use them for solo ideas, and run them with an alternating sticking, starting with the right hand, moving the hands around the drums. See Patterns, vol. III for more on developing these ideas.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mike Clark on Elvin, Tony

I stumbled across these interviews with Mike Clark, talking about all the stuff players care about about Elvin Jones and Tony Williams:

Part 1 on Elvin:

Here's part 2:

The interviews on Tony Williams are after the break:

Practice loop: basic cascara

Here's a little non-traditional Latin jazz practice loop, sampled from the intro of the tune Mi Montuno, from the Bamboleate, by Eddie Palmieri/Cal Tjader. There are a couple of caveats about it, but it's not a bad, moderate-tempo groove for working on your basic Salsa parts.

Clave is 2:3 Son, which is actually being played by on one of the musicians. You can play this as a rim click on the snare drum with your left hand:

 And there is a standard cascara rhythm being played on the shell of a timbale, as well. Play this with your right hand on the rim or shell of the floor tom, or on a cowbell, or on the bell of a cymbal:

I should write up a new page of stuff for working on this style, but for now you can experiment with adding the various left hand parts from my Reed generic Latin method, and pull some bass drum rhythms from the recent page of Mozambique. There is also an old page of LH coordination parts to go with that cascara rhythm— they are pure coordination exercises, and not necessarily stylistically correct.

A couple of notes on the track: There's a little hiccup in the parts at the seam in the loop, but the time is basically steady, and you won't really notice it when you're playing along with it. The time breathes slightly, but I don't think that's a bad thing— you do have to listen and adjust a bit.

You'll notice they've borrowed a Guaguanco-type melody, played on the congas, and that it's oriented so its rhythm lines up with the 3 side of clave. Which, to my understanding, is not traditionally correct if you're actually playing Guaguanco. I went into this a little more thoroughly before; the point is, don't get too attached to hearing that melody on the 3 side.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Some rock beats in 5

Here's a basic page of rock beats in 5/4, along the lines of those found in Ralph Humphrey's excellent book Even In The Odds. I practice my samba/bossa nova in 5 a little more than I should, and I like running grooves like this in the same session.

Hopefully everyone has an idea of how to practice this type of thing. Play many repetitions of each groove, with the right hand on the hihat or on the ride cymbal, practicing moving between the two. Be able to move from groove to groove without stopping, and to crash on beat 1. Try to think in two-measure phrases, and then in four-measure phrases. It would be a could idea to count out loud at least part of the time, and to play these along with any recordings you can find in 5/4.

After the break I have a little series of modifications through which I like to run these beats. You can do them in any meter, but it's especially valuable to do them in 5. There's much more about this difficult meter in my series Cracking 5/4.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mozambique listening

Here is a YouTube playlist of the tracks cited in the Mozambique variations post, plus a few things:

After the break I'll give some brief notes on some of the tracks: