Friday, June 01, 2012

Groove o' the day: Ed Blackwell stick and brush

This is one of my favorite things ever, anywhere: Ed Blackwell's opening groove on Charlie Haden's tune Chairman Mao from the first self-titled Old And New Dreams record, on Black Saint (there's another one on the ECM label, which is also great). Here Blackwell plays with a stick in his left hand and a brush in his right:

The brush hand makes the rhythm with a fanning move, which you can hear by listening to the recording; the stick hand just plays the rim click on 2 and the tom on 4. Play the bass drum softly-- when my old band Flatland used to play this tune I would often play it in 4, as Blackwell does when the groove changes a little further on, which has a nice driving energy (on that recording I'm playing the drums with the back ends of rattan-handled marimba mallets, by the way).

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