Saturday, May 28, 2011

Transcription: Jo Jones - It Don't Mean A Thing...

Here's a  transcription  of Papa Jo Jones playing the intro and head of It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, from a 1970 Black Lion recording, Paul Gonsalves Meets Earl Hines. There's a strong quarter note pulse on the hihat throughout, and no comping at all in the modern sense. The sketchy arrangement has some drum breaks, and Jones plays some interesting linear things on the later ones. We can assume he's playing the bass drum all the way through, though it's only audible on the punctuations.

Download the pdf

YouTube clip of the track after the break:

Best books: some non-musical selections

Here are several books that have been valuable to me creatively over the years.  

The Adding Machine by William S. Burroughs
Great essays about art, language, and the craft of writing. Along with Exterminator!, my favorite Burroughs book.
"When Anthony Burgess was teaching a course in creative writing, a student asked him: "Why should you be up there teaching writing and not me?" A good question; and I wish I could give as definite an answer as can be given in regard to other subjects where the technology is more defined. No one, unless he is an experienced pilot, asks why the pilot of an airliner should be in the cockpit and not he. The answer is that the pilot knows how to fly the plane and you don't. Nor would a student of quantum mechanics, engineering, or mathematics ask such a question; the teacher is there because he knows more about the subject than the student. To say he knows more presupposes that there is something definite to know, that a technology exists  and can be taught to qualified students.
How many writers have taken courses in creative writing? James Joyce for one, took a course with some literary lady who had her students imitate the styles of well-known writers ... write Hemingway for a month, Graham Greene for a month, and so forth. A good exercise I think. But there are certainly, I think, more writers who have not taken courses in writing than writers who have. How many pilots have taken courses in flying? All of them, we hope. How many physicists have taken courses in physics? All of them. Which brings us to the question I intend to raise in order, I hope, to arrive at some answers: Is there a technology of writing? Can writing by taught?"  

The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides
One of the great modern method books on drawing. Here are instructions for making a contour drawing, one of the best exercises for learning to really use your eyes:
"Sit close to the model or object which you intend to draw and lean forward in your chair. Focus your eyes on some point- any point will do- along the contour of the model. (The contour approximates what is usually spoken of as the outline or edge.) Place the point of your pencil on the paper. Imagine that your pencil is touching the model instead of the paper. Without taking your eyes off the model, wait until you are convinced that the pencil is touching that point on the model upon which your eyes are fastened. 
Then move your eye slowly along the contour of the model and move the pencil slowly along the paper. As you do this, keep the conviction that the pencil point is actually touching the contour. Be guided more by the sense of touch than by sight. This means the you must draw without looking at the paper, continuously looking at the model.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron 1949-2011

Gil Scott-Heron 1949-2011

Todd's methods: same-handed flam accents

This is something that came organically out of my own playing- it came up again and again in improvising for years before I finally analyzed it. The only place I've seen it mentioned since is in the  list of 128 hybrid rudiments. As it says in the explanation, this is a hands-only pattern for me, and I play it at a pretty even volume- little or no accent on the flammed note, and the grace note is not particularly soft.

I've included a version with a bass drum substitution, though it basically turns it into a completely different lick.

Download the pdf.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Survival tips for cruise ship drummers

My man Willie Blair, the only person
I know who could get away with
flouting most of the non-musical rules. 

I guess I had to actually write about drumming on cruise ships at some point, hey? Here are some tips for not getting fired, for not hating your life, and for generally acting like a pro when working that kind of gig.

Keep a positive attitude. Many if not most of the people around you are going to be really negative about the job, especially if they've been doing it awhile. It's important to not let their misery effect you, otherwise your contract can start to seem like a prison sentence. Keeping a positive, professional attitude will make you more attractive to people you are working with who may want to hire you or refer you for non-cruise ship jobs. And remember that you are getting paid to play the drums, which I thought was supposed to be your life's dream, or something.

Be easy to live with. Be reasonably quiet, clean, tidy, non-smelly, and non-funky, but don't be over-fastidious, either. Be aware of your habits and how they effect the person or persons you will be sharing a cabin with.

Learn to keep a low profile. Stay out of people's way- passengers, crew, staff, ship officers, security. If you're a loud talker and/or dresser prone to a lot of public clowning, change that. The crew should not notice you sunbathing eight hours a day.

Adapt to the situation, but not too much. Check yourself if the tacky/skeevy gold chains and silk shirts for sale in the ports of call start looking attractive to you. Usually this starts happening after a year or more  on  the job. Question the wisdom of the whole band buying custom golf clubs or bowling balls because there is an opportunity to use them a couple of hours a week. This  over-adapting to overseas postings is what Marines used to call "going asiatic"- adopting native behavior/dress, becoming over-reliant on houseboys to do things like polish your boots, becoming addicted to opium, etc.

Much more after the break:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Out-of-print LP rips: some finds

Here are some exciting drummer-led things I found while paying a visit to the thriving community of record-collecting bloggers dedicated to ripping out-of-print LPs and making them available for download. Apparently no one wants to sell you this music any more, and this is the only way you can get it, short of dedicating your life to scouring the used bins and getting really lucky. This does raise some ethical questions, which I've addressed after the break.

Download links for the albums are usually located in the comments section; Mediafire links are quick and easy, Rapidshare links are a pain.

Bob Moses - Bittersuite in the Ozone
A famous record, and extremely rare- I've never seen it in close to 30 years of trolling the used bins. Features Billy Hart, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Howard Johnson, Eddie Gomez, and more.

Roy Haynes Hip Ensemble
Haynes' "jazz-rock" band from the 70's. I've only seen one other record by this group, and I own the only copy of it I've ever seen in the wild. Recorded in Rome in 1975 for the Horo label. With Don Pate, Bill Saxton, John Mosley, and Mark Fiorillo.

Jack DeJohnette - Have You Heard?
I have not, in fact, ever heard of this great, very free Milestone release. Features Bennie Maupin, Gary Peacock, Hideo Ichikawa.

Elvin Jones - The Town Hall
Smoking John Coltrane memorial concert from 1971. One of the first Elvin LPs I bought, used, in '86 or so. With Frank Foster, Chick Corea, Joe Farrell.

Buddy Rich - A Different Drummer
Burning 70's big band.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Playing quieter

Miles is going to have to ask 
you to CTFO.

In the past I was regarded as a loud player— I forgot how much, until recently a club owner asked if we would please keep the volume of the drums low, and the band leader, who knew me in college, burst out laughing. I thought, Oh, right, I'm the guy who used to practice my sambas at fff for 90 minutes straight. I forgot.

For many of the intervening years it was a struggle to come down to the requested level on some things— I didn't have great control, and I would usually get louder as the music started feeling better.

No more. I am now an expert on playing softly, since I was able to play a date sitting two feet away from a violinist and a bassoonist, play everything I wanted (this was an actual blowing gig), and end the night not only with them on speaking terms with me, but actually happy. QED.

So, here are a few things that helped me when I was getting this part of my playing together once and for all:

Lower your stick heights
Do your pad practice keeping the sticks in the 1-6" range, with a significant amount of time dedicated to practicing in the 1"-3" range.  Using a mirror helps. Learning to play without lifting the stick before every note will help keep your volume from creeping up. Spend some time cleaning up your full strokes, down strokes, taps, and up strokes, so every note you play ends with your stick in place for the next note. You can't be thinking this way at the drum set, but if you work on it on the pad it will get things moving in the right direction.

If you're accustomed to playing a lot of ghost notes, busy ride patterns and other filler, lose most of that. At low volumes your dynamics become compressed, so your ghost notes will not be much softer than your primaries; the effect is similar to playing mf+ ghost notes along with a f funk groove; it's nobody's idea of funky.  

You don't have to switch to brushes
Or multi-rods, or whatever, unless there's a musical reason for it- unless that's the sound you want. I still start gigs on the brushes, and psych myself up for a big jump in dynamics when I switch to sticks, only to find that, oh hey, I can play them exactly the same volume as the brushes. You don't have to do rim clicks instead of regular snare hits, for the same reason.   

Use your wrists
Eliminate forearm movement, and hold the stick so that it doesn't wobble around in your hand. That means holding on with your back fingers— I play with the stick against my hand most of the time. This eliminates much of the "noise" in your stroke, improving your control and helping you work less and relax overall. Even though your grip is more controlled, you have to keep it relaxed, light grip, and a smooth action in your stroke from the attack, to the note, to the follow-through. Again, you do this on the practice pad and hopefully it will be available in your actual playing on the drums.

It's still got to be solid 
Play the notes, even if you're only playing an inch off the drum.

Get comfortable with heel-down technique
on both the bass drum and hi-hat. It's not that you can't play them softly heel up, but keeping your feet on the floor helps your balance, which gets magnified as an issue when playing softly. Playing heel up may also generate more background noise from the pedals and the floor, loud enough to compete with the actual notes you're performing.
Get some books with written-out drum fills/solo ideas

If you take away the pesky creative element, it's easier to focus on keeping the volume down. Once you're accustomed to making the moves quietly in that structured way, you should be able to keep it together better in actual playing. I recommend: Rudimental Patterns by Joe Cusatis, Rudimental Jazz by Joe Morello, Rudmiments Around the Drums by Joel Rothman, Drum Set Warm-Ups by Rod Morgenstein.

Expand your idea of what is a good drum sound
If you're accustomed to power drumming sounds— a lot of rim shots on the snare, full crash sounds, and deep, funky toms— learn to get good sounds at lower volumes. 

Play to the softest instrument in the ensemble
Listen carefully and concentrate on not drowning them out.

Pick your spots
Learn to use dramatic dynamics. Be able to back off after playing louder for a moment. 

Don't fight your instrument
Use drums/cymbals/heads/tuning/sticks that are controllable, and that sound good at a low volume:

  • Wise use of muffling. In the past I was an anti-muffling extremist— I used wide-open Remo Ambassadors on all my drums including the bass drum. Playing that way at very low volumes, your signal:noise ratio can go a little bit to hell- your primary note can get lost in the overtones. Today I have an Evans "Dry" head on one of my snare drums, and a coated Emporer with a Muff'l on the playing side of my bass drum. That's still a pretty live sound for a lot of people.  

  • Tune higher, so you can just touch the drums and get a sound. Lower tunings need to be played more forcefully to get a good sound.  

  • Smaller, thinner cymbals will be better. Bosphorus cymbals, particularly the Master series, and certain Sabian cymbals are very good for allowing you to dig in and get a full sound without the volume getting away from you. [2021 UPDATE: Cymbal & Gong cymbals are great at all volume levels. I've increasingly found many/most Bosphorus cymbals to be too insubstantial for most live applications.]

  • Maple sticks with a wooden bead. They don't need to be small- I use a Vic Firth SD-11, which is the size of a fairly beefy 5B, and I have no problem controlling them. They're easier to hold on to, and get a better tone than smaller sticks, both of which help me to relax. Use a felt or fluffy beater on the bass drum. [2021 UPDATE: I've reversed on this. I now recommend Bopworks Birdland Model for all of your quiet playing needs. They're very light hickory 7As that have a defined attack without vibrating the drum or cymbal too much.]

Learn what is and is not reasonable
in terms of volume requests. Live music is louder than the house stereo, and the drums are going to dominate an unamplified flute or voice, no matter how delicately you play them. The bar staff may just be complaining because they don't want to be there and don't want to have to raise their voice slightly to take an order. The drums aren't always the loudest instrument— half the time it's the guitarist who needs to turn down. 

Rudimental drumming as conceptual art

Here's a rudimental snare drum piece which I've been trying to get my head around for a couple of days now. Written by Ken Mazur, a champion drum corps soloist of the 70's who went on to be an instructor, clinician, and judge, as well as author of The Technique and Mechanics of Competitive Rudimental Snare Drumming, an epic ~350-page rudimental drumming manual (sorry, no link for that- the book does not seem to be commercially available- if you're interested, you should try to contact Mazur directly). He's a good writer and highly knowledgeable, with some interesting scholarly pieces which I'll be taking a look at in the near future.

He also seems to be a fairly controversial, Bobby Fischer-esque character in the drum corps community- brilliant, but personally difficult- perhaps even a little bit[?] of a crank. Maybe that's a totally unfair characterization; my drum corps world revolves around people associated with the Santa Clara Vanguard from the early 70's through the late 80's, and until this week he was unknown to me personally.

So this piece, Lazer Beam, was played by Mazur when he won the solo snare drum competition at DCI nationals in Philadelphia in 1976:

I'll give you a few moments to stare gape-jawed at that, then after the break I'll share whatever coherent thoughts I can muster about it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

80" Gong

I have nothing to add. It's an 80" gong. Cost is $23,000, which has to make it one of the more expensive instruments in the world for the number of notes that are going to get played on it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Interview: drum author Joel Rothman

[UPDATED 5/16 - Something I had to add to the piece came up in my correspondence with Mr. Rothman. See the new section labeled "PROFIT"]

Joel Rothman
is one of the more mysterious figures in the drumming world; he is an extremely prolific and widely-known author of of well over 100 drum books, over 70 of which are still in print, titles including the popular Mini Monster Book of Rock Drumming, and "the pink book", Basic Drumming (read my review), as well as the massive c. 2500 page "compleat" series of hard bound books. He has sold well over a million books through his publishing house, JR Publications. For other publishers he has also written approximately 35 humor books for both children and adults, a dozen or so hardcover children's books, as well as several crossword puzzle and quiz books. He has nevertheless remained largely unknown personally, keeping a very low profile into the Internet age, with virtually no personal information available on line.

Though published over a period of five decades or more, his books continue to be absolutely relevant, and are an important contribution to the literature of drumming. I'm not going to attempt to summarize such a large body of work, or analyze its appeal- I have several new reviews coming in the near future that will delve into that- but I'll say he investigates areas of drumming unexplored by others even today, dedicating entire books to very particular drumming problems- slow tempos, hi-hat splashes and endings, for example. Over the course of many volumes he has expanded upon the world Stone's Stick Control in ways not found in that book or in its other successors. He deals with more familiar material with a unique player's logic I believe is very well adapted to the practical needs of drummers. It is not difficult to fill many volumes with variations on familiar materials ("now play the accent on the LOW tom"), or by mindlessly reeling off mathematical/logical permutations, as many have done; so creating such a large volume of work of continuing value, with minimal redundancy, is a major writing feat. Writing even one good book is beyond the capability of most authors.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I contacted Mr. Rothman- I thought he might be very protective of his privacy- but he has turned out to be a very affable person with a fine sense of humor. Here he has very generously agreed to share the story of his life and business:

I'm 73 years young, but if there were 24 months in a year I'd only be 36 1/2. And in dog years I'm just over 10.

I was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1938. My mother understood me to be a musical prodigy, but she was wrong. I was much more than that- I was probably a total pain-in-the-a--.

Continue to the complete interview: 

Light posting

I'll be on light posting for a couple of days while I finish up a bunch of Ornette Coleman arrangements for an upcoming recording session. In the mean time, enjoy a whole mess of Paul Gonsalves while reading the updated Joel Rothman interview:

The evening began inauspiciously. Some of Ellington's band members showed up late. The earlier numbers in his set were met with tepid, if pleasant, applause. As Ellington announced the next numbers, Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue and the soloist, tenor man Paul Gonsalves, there was no indication that something very special would happen within the next 10 minutes. The band made its way through the Diminuendo section in about 4 minutes when Gonsalves approached the mic and IT happened.

h/t to one of my favorite political blogs, Crooks and Liars for the comment and clip.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rothman book recommendations

While the interview is fresh, I want to give my recommendations for Joel Rothman book purchases. God knows I haven't seen his entire catalog, but these are very strong books:

Basic Drumming - An everything classic. See my review for more information.

Mini Monster Book of Rock Drumming - Embrace the goofy cover. The best overview of rock/pop/funk/backbeat-oriented drumming I've seen. Review coming soon. You may also be interested Rothman's newest book, which I have not seen, Son of the Mini Monster for Rock Drumming: "...concentrates on developing simple to complex-sounding bass drum patterns against a variety of rock cymbal beats in various time signatures."

Drumming And All That Jazz - An excellent overview of primarily triplet-based jazz concepts.

Basic Drum Technique and Beyond - Contains a lot of material further developing things found in Stick Control. Particularly interesting are the parts dealing with stickings of mixed rhythms, and the dynamics section.

Rock with Hand-Foot Drum Breaks - Primarily a book of drum fills including the bass drum, much of this is more like Stick Control for three voices. Very valuable.

Swingin' in 3/4 Time - One of his earlier books, this first came out when the jazz waltz was still a fairly exotic style- Elvin Jones had just joined John Coltrane's band, and was expressing (I think to Charlie Persip?) what a difficult time he was having playing in 3/4. This is still a solid introduction to playing in three, and an excellent companion to Joe Morello's later New Directions in Rhythm. [Note: Mr. Rothman informs me that this book has been out of print for some time, and most of the content has been included in Drumming And All That Jazz above; there do seem to be a few copies of Swingin' in... available through Steve Weiss Music. I think it's worth the purchase price just for the cover.]

The Compleat Jazz Drummer - The big one, 500 pages of materials, with some very unique stuff. Review coming soon. I personally think every student of jazz should own this book.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fun and useful samba/Brazilian music links

Here are a number of samba/Brazilian music-related links you might find helpful:

Carnival in Rio: play yourself a samba school drums section.  We'll start with a fun one. This is a flash application allowing you to conduct your own batucada. Just go.

Ginga: a Brazilian way to groove by Jovino Santos Neto. This is a very informative pdf on the interpretation of several Brazilian styles, by Jovino, a great pianist and composer from Rio, currently living in Seattle.

From the introduction:
Brazilian music in all its forms has enjoyed tremendous popularity in recent years, especially among jazz musicians who appreciate its rhythmic complexity coupled with its harmonic sophistication. Almost every contemporary jazz performance features tunes with a Brazilian flavor, either a composition by a Brazilian composer or a jazz standard set to a samba or bossa nova feel. However, with notable exceptions, the musical results fail to achieve the essential characteristics which define those Brazilian styles. This is most often caused not by a lack of musical ability, but by an improper understanding of the rhythmic essence of the styles. In Brazil, this most subtle aspect of groove is often known as ginga (with a soft g as in ginseng). It refers to the way in which a dancer moves, to the way a beautiful woman walks and to the way that music incites motion in the listeners. The purpose of this paper is to provide rhythmic information in a practical and concise way, leading to the development of ginga in the performance of Brazilian-based music. We will be looking at 4 distinct grooves: samba, baiĆ£o, marcha and maracatu from that perspective, hoping to create a deeper intuitive feeling for their rhythmic nature. 

Lions of Batucada caixa rides. All of the caixa (that's a Brazilian snare drum) parts for a Portland group which I performed with in the mid-2000's, the Lions of Batucada. These were picked up by members who travelled to Brazil, or from samba heavyweights like Jorge Alabe, Boca Rum, Bruno Moraes, Michael Spiro, and Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro who came up to work with the group. I wish I had found this before I did my caixa blow-out- this can replace many of the patterns I included there. They're all written in easy to understand tablature. 

Best books: Studio Funk Drumming by Roy Burns and Joey Farris

Lately I've become very anti-hip and anti-novelty with my practice materials, and the 40-page Studio Funk Drumming by Burns and Farris has that in spades. Written in 1981, and revised in 1994, this book focuses on functional grooves in the style of the 70's and 80's, before the ghost note explosion that followed the massive sampling/rip-off of Clyde Stubblefield, and before David Garibaldi's busier style became dominant (particularly among students and hobbyists). Think instead Jim Keltner or Rick Marotta. Jeff Porcaro. Doing last weekend's Roberto Silva transcription also reminded me of this book.

The first twelve pages of "commercial funk" exercises are dedicated to a system of backbeat grooves, laying common hi-hat variations (with optional openings) over 36 different bass drum parts, with nothing but 2 and 4 on the snare drum. Mastering this section up to a professional standard, in the range of tempos given, is a nice achievable goal, and will certainly give you a lot of space to think about one of the two or three most important things about your playing: the quality of your backbeats. Once learned, I've found it useful for preparing to record, or for fixing tempos that aren't quite comfortable for me. I play the entire thing without stopping, at the tempo in question, four measures of each groove. Things begin to sit nicely after doing that once or twice.

There are good short sections of shuffle and "studio triplet" feels, which don't cover a massive number of grooves, but do give a good foundation for those styles.

There are several pages that are basically obsolete, which I do not use; like the two pages of "funk sambas". The two pages of "fusion funk" introduce but do not develop a variety of more classically "fusiony" ideas, and can be safely ignored. The New Orleans and Reggae sections are usable, with caution- you want to supplement them with a lot of listening. Which is actually true of any book.

The sub-title "a professional workbook" is apt. This book keeps you very focused on time feels you want to have mastered to a very high level of proficiency, and which you can and will actually use in the field. As a funk drummer, your art is in how well you do these sorts of foundational grooves.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Transcription from the web: Steve Gadd - Capuccino

Here's the most recent of many good things from Mark Feldman at Bang! the Drum School in Brooklyn, NY. Feldman was actually one of the winners of the big Modern Drummer contest to win Neil Peart's drums back in 1987- I remember as part of the multimedia package the magazine included a floppy 45 of the winning solos. Those were simpler times. Anyhow, here's Feldman's transcription of Steve Gadd's solo on Cappuccino, from Chick Corea's Friends (thanks for the correction, Kyle!):

Get the pdf from Bang! the Drum School

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Time signature figure-outer

Gah! What? 

I'm not sure my title is actually grammatically correct- a time signature "figure-outer" sounds like a job description, when what we are dealing with is more of a figurer-outer- a method to help the uninitiated to figure out time signatures. But since neither term existed until I made them up two minutes ago, I think I'm going to go with the one that looks better in the headline. The extra r in figurer is just a bridge too far for unfamiliar, made-up terms.

So. If we can proceed unhindered by the grammarians in my head, this is something that comes up often on the discussion forum- there are a lot of self-taught drummers there seeking help with basic musicianship. I've tried to make this as easy as possible for people with minimal musical knowledge, but I still am always surprised at the variety of misconceptions out there, and I can't anticipate them all. Most of the people who actually need something like this should contact a teacher- this topic can be put to rest in a single 30 minute lesson. Most likely this piece will be most helpful to inexperienced teachers who haven't settled on a way to communicate this to students yet, or for me when I need to deal with this question over the Internet again and again. So here we go:

1.   Focus your attention on a piece of music. Start with something easy. Turn on AM radio or buy some records if you listen to nothing but prog. Relax. Open your collar. Top hat and cane put away neatly. Remove spats and cravat.

2. Tap your foot in an even tempo along with the music, wherever it feels comfortable to you. It will likely be anywhere between the speed of a slow-yet-consistent saunter (or pimp roll, if you prefer) up to a brisk jog. We'll call that the beat. If you find it difficult or impossible to tap your foot evenly to a piece, set it aside and choose a different one.

3. Count the following out loud along with your foot tapping, and see which fits with the music: 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3, or 1-2.
Count them over and over, so for example, when you're doing the last one, you would be saying "1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-etc". (Yes, that is bleeding obvious, but again, you'd be surprised at what is not obvious to a lot of people.)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Transcription: Robertinho Silva - Beauty and the Beast

Here's another Robertinho Silva transcription, this time from Wayne Shorter's Native Dancer. This is not a funk record, but it's quintessential 70's funk drumming- this performance is right up there with Ngugu's playing on George Duke's Watch Out Baby for me.

For a moment I thought I could do three of these in three days- I've got my eye on a tune in 5 from this record- but that's not going to happen this weekend.

Get the pdf

Friday, May 06, 2011

Transcription: Robertinho Silva - Baiao Malandro

Here's a new transcription of a burning mid-70's Brazilian fusion piece, Baiao Malandro from Egberto Gismonti's LP Carmo, featuring Robertinho Silva on drums (also known as Roberto). It's fairly quick and dirty- there's a good amount of percussion and slap bass going on, so there are probably a fair number of missed or wrongly assigned notes. The record is out of print, so you'll have to either track down a copy at your local used record store, or check the various quasi-legal resources online, or just enjoy it via the YouTube clip below.

Get the pdf

Silva's bio after the break.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Billy Cobham with Horace Silver

Here's a fun clip of Billy Cobham playing Nutville with Horace Silver in 1968. And there's Bennie Maupin on tenor. It's awfully strange seeing Cobham playing a four piece.

Tip-o-the-stick to Drum to Life for finding that. I also see Jon McCaslin has beaten me to it.

Transcription by Steve Korn: Baby Dodds - Maryland, My Maryland

Here's something I've been meaning to put up for a long time- a Baby Dodds transcription by Seattle drummer, teacher, author, photographer, and fellow Origin recording artist Steve Korn. He sent me several of these, but the first one I'll be posting is Maryland, My Maryland, a straightforward swinging march from Dodds' famous Talking and Drum Solos recording.

There's a bunch of other great stuff on Steve's site, so be sure to pay him a visit. You can purchase his CDs through Origin Records.

Get the pdf.

YouTube clip of the solo after the break:

Todd's Methods: adding bass and snare to samba cruzado

Well, we're all samba all the time around here these days, but what the heck- the point of this enterprise is for me to post things I'm interested in, and working on, and right now I happen to be doing a lot with samba.

Samba cruzado is a way of playing samba on the drum set in which the left hand crosses over the right to play the toms. This is a style I resisted doing for some time, because role of the hands is reversed- the right hand does the filling in while the left keeps the "ride" part. For that reason none of my regular instinctive stuff works- you have to relearn how to make a phrase ending, how to fill in with the "off" hand. The reason for the crossing over is to compensate for weak left hands- apparently it was easier for Brazilian drummers to reverse the lead than it was to develop the left so it could play the snare parts cleanly.

What I've done here is begin to integrate the cruzado thing with the third surdo parts from O Bataque Carioca, played on the bass drum, while filling in with the right hand on the snare to outline caixa-type patterns. In batucada, the third surdo is the lead voice of the surdo section, filling out the quarter notes of the first and second surdos.

The exercises here are mostly little more than warm-ups- once you've gotten comfortable introducing the snare drum parts, do most of your reading from the O Bataque... page. It's a good idea to review the other samba things I've posted (under the labels at the bottom of the post, hit "samba") as well as Ed Uribe's and Duduka's books. And listen to and play as much samba as you can, of course.

Download the pdf.

After the break- clip of Dom Um Romao playing this style: