Sunday, September 30, 2012

Groove o' the day: Philly Joe with Hank Mobley

The 50's were apparently also the heyday of the quasi-Afro feel— all of the hard bop guys seem to have had their own way of making it. This one is by Philly Joe Jones, on the tune East of Brooklyn, from Hank Mobley's Blue Note album Poppin':

Writing it this way makes it clearer that the hihat is on 2 and 4:

This isn't available on YouTube, so you'll have to either buy the track for $1.99, or get the entire record, along with two others, for $10 at the link above. Maybe it's available on iTunes.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alan Dawson's “Ruff Bossa”

We're laying it on pretty thick with the Reed interpretations right now, but I just went over this with a student, so I need to put up one more. It's a swing interpretation with partially filled-in triplets, using the 8th note rest and syncopation sections of Reed (pp. 29-44 in the old edition). Alan Dawson called this the “Ruff Bossa” interpretation for reasons I can't fathom— there are no ruffs involved, and I can't discern the Bossa Nova connection.

So here's how to interpret each written beat of the exercises, based on how the notes sound; after p. 32  you'll be dealing with rhythms that are equivalent to the ones below, but are written differently.

Play written 8th notes as alternating swing 8ths:

Play written quarter notes (or the equivalent) as an 8th note triplet with a RLL sticking, accenting the right hand:

Play notes sounding on an & only as a triplet with a RRL sticking, accenting left:

On beats where there's no note sounding— like if there's a rest, or the end of a tied/dotted note, or some combination thereof— use whichever triplet sticking you like, but don't accent.

Examples after the break:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rudimental Reed: ruffs

Today's Rudimental Reed entry is pretty straightforward— just make a ruff out of any note that doesn't have an (untied) 8th note before it.  That's an awkward way of phrasing it, but I think you'll find it's very intuitive once you play the examples. The rudiments covered, or generated, include ruffs, single drags, and double drags, similar to a lot of the things in the Wilcoxon etude Roughing the Single Drag, from Modern Rudimental Swing Solos— I would recommed playing through that as a companion piece to this item.

As always, we'll first see how it applies to the first line of Exercise 1, p. 37 in Syncopation:

I've given both alternating and natural stickings— play it both ways, leading with either hand. I haven't included the multiple-bounce strokes in the stickings, but they happen with the opposite hand. Swing the 8th notes.

Here's a denser example, which is the first line of Exercise 2:

If you have questions about how to play a ruff, there's a pretty good video after the break:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Groove o' the day: Art Blakey with Hank Mobley

This is from the 1955 album Hank Mobley Quartet (it doesn't appear to have been reissued recently, so you'll have to just buy the mp3). The tune is Avila and Tequila, and Art Blakey plays what I'll call a Blue Note cascara on the intro:

The right hand part in the last two measures is similar to a bell pattern I've seen associated with a Mozambique feel. In the 50's fashion, they play the Latin feel on the intro and A sections only, and swing the rest of the tune, including the solos. Notice that Blakey seems to have a hard time not swinging the rhythm.

Audio after the break:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DBMITW: Owl of Cranston

Here's a fun tune I'll be playing on tour next month:

Paul Motian is the Owl of Cranston— I have no idea what that means, but it seems to fit. I guess I'm not the only one who thought so.

Get Paul Motian Trio — Live at the Village Vanguard

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Groove o' the day: Ed Blackwell — 6/8 variations

Here are some more variations on the Afro 6/8 feel, played by Ed Blackwell on the tune Mopti (an old favorite from Flatland days, which I'll be reintroducing to the set on the Europe trip next month), from the Old & New Dreams album Playing. Most of these occur close together during the long intro, but I thought I'd present them as individual grooves, instead of as a transcription:

Also apply the left hand parts— the snare and toms— to the generic Afro bell pattern, and BD/HH parts.

Audio after the break:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rudimental Reed: paradiddles

Another entry in our “Rudimental Reed” series, in which we outline some methods for apply rudiments to the long exercises in Ted Reed's Syncopation, this time using paradiddles. Here's that well-known opening line from the first long syncopation exercise in Reed, p. 37 in the old editions, as written:

First, play the quarter notes (or the equivalent) as 16th note paradiddles. On the longer values/rests, play a paradiddle with an unaccented ending note, as on beat three of the second and last measures:

Next, apply an appropriate paradiddle-type sticking to the longer values/spaces— double paradiddles / paradiddle-diddles, or triple paradiddles / paradiddle-diddle, diddles as I'll call them (there aren't enough commas in rudiment names for my taste) since that rudiment doesn't exist to my knowledge. I chose the latter rudiments:

With that last, we arrive at something pretty similar to an interpretation in Ramsay's Alan Dawson book; the one additional step there is to play the 8th notes as two alternating 16th notes, with an accent on the first.

Another example after the break:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Transcription: Ian Paice — Lay Down, Stay Down

[UPDATE: pdf download link works now!]

I don't get how herds work: suddenly everyone, everywhere is talking about four stroke ruffs. They happen to be all over this piece, played in 16th note triplet form on the snare drum, and especially played down the drums, ending on the bass drum— a very popular lick around 1970. Ian Paice, the drummer here, didn't invent it, but he plays them so much I've started calling them Ian Paice Specials. What the hell, maybe it will stick. Why not?

This performance is an early favorite of mine, from about when I was in the 8th grade, ten-ish years after the record, Burn, by Deep Purple came out:

I've transcribed up to the opening vamp of the guitar solo; most of the heavy playing happens before that. The hihats are played half-open or open all the way through. There are a few spots where he moves to the ride cymbal, which you can pick out; it's not that important.

Get the pdf

Monday, September 17, 2012

Half-time feel rock using Syncopation

Extending my previous series on making rock/pop beats using Ted Reed's Syncopation, here is a way of making a half time feel using the same concept, except we play quarter notes on the hihat, and catch beat 3 on the snare drum, instead of 2 and 4. The tempo of the quarter note pulse should be bright:

Many of the resulting beats will be useful as conditioners and for gaining familiarity with the feel as anything else; some of them have very dense bass drum parts, and this has a much lower percentage of ordinarily usable beats than the regular rock piece did. You'll have to play a lot of exercises and find the ones that work for you musically.

Get the pdf

Listening example and explanation after the break:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seven stroke rolls in Wilcoxon

Fielding a question from the Drummerworld forum here this morning, regarding the underlying rhythm for the rolls in this piece, from Wilcoxon's All-American Drummer:

A seven stroke roll consists of three doubles or multiple-bounce strokes, plus a release note, and there are two forms of them here, one of which is rather obscure-looking to modern readers. The sevens at the beginning of the piece, written as unembellished 8th note rhythm are pretty self-evident; you play the roll part as a 16th note triplet starting on the &, and release on 1.

At the end of the third line there is a seven stroke roll written as an 8th note with a ruff at the beginning; which is an old-fashioned way of writing a tap seven, with a 16th note pulsation. In modern notation, that would be written as a 16th note and dotted-8th, with the roll on the dotted-8th— you roll on the “e-&-a.” The 15 stroke roll in the third line would be played the same way, with the roll continued through beat 2.

The presence of ruffs on the same line is a little confusing; usually those are interpreted as an short, unmetered multiple-bounce stroke before the primary note, and seeing them attached to a roll you want to try to play them the same way. In traditional rudimental drumming, though, they're often given a rhythm, and played as a drag on a 16th note— we'll have to go into that another time.

So, line 1 would be played:

And here's line 3, into line 4:

Get Charley Wilcoxon's All-American Drummer

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Europe tour coming up

Hey, I've got a European tour coming right up at the end of October, and I'd like to invite anyone in the vicinity to come hear me play, and say hello. I'll be doing music from my 2012 CD of the music of Ornette Coleman, Little Played Little Bird, with some excellent Belgian musicians:

Jean-Paul Estiévenart — trumpet
Martin Méreau — vibraphone
Olivier Stalon — bass

Here's our current schedule, with a couple of other weekend dates in Belgium waiting to be confirmed:

Thursday, Nov. 1 — Bar Belge / Paris
Friday, Nov. 2 — Le Bab-ilo / Paris
Sunday, Nov. 4 (5pm) — Cafe Belga / Brussels
Tuesday, Nov. 6 — LiquID / Luxembourg
Wednesday, Nov. 7 — Buster Podium / Antwerp
Thursday, Nov. 8 — Sazz'n Jazz / Brussels
Saturday, Nov. 10 — Jakobshof / Aachen

I'll also be recording an album with my partner Casey Scott at Jet Studio in Brussels, for the Topsy Turvy label.

If any of my European readers want to take a lesson or two, I'll be based in Brussels from Oct. 26 through Nov. 10, with the possibility of meeting in Paris, Luxembourg, or Aachen. Hit the EMAIL ME link in the sidebar (under VISIT MY OTHER SITES) to make arrangements.

My brother, John Bishop, also a drummer, will be doing some dates over there at the same time. I highly recommend going and seeing him play if you have the opportunity:

Saturday, Nov 03, 2012 — Appeltuin Jazz / Leuven, Belgium
Monday, Nov 05, 2012 — Houtumstreet Jazz Club / Kasterlee, Belgium
Wednesday, Nov 07, 2012 — KC Nona Jazz / Mechelen, Belgium
Thursday, Nov 08, 2012 — GC Felix Sophie Jazz / Hoeilaart, Belgium
Saturday, Nov 10, 2012 — Lier Jazz Festival, Lier, Belgium

Monday, September 10, 2012

DBMITW: more George Duke

This is a little bit of a listening test from George Duke's Brazilian Love Affair, again, with Ricky Lawson on drums. It would be easy for a lot of people to give this a cursory listen and dismiss it in ten seconds as a piece of lite R&B fluff, but it's a great piece of music. If that isn't immediately apparent, just take it on faith, give it a few listens through and try to figure it out:

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Houghton's triplets

From Steve Houghton's book Studio and Big Band Drumming, here's an alternate sticking method for making triplets out of Syncopation. For most people the most familiar method is to play the melody notes— the written rhythm in Reed— with the right hand, and fill out the triplets with the left. I'll modify that to avoid playing more than two hits in a row with the left, using (as few as possible) alternating strokes. Houghton also puts all of the accents on the right hand, but takes the opposite approach with the inside notes: he plays as many alternating notes as possible, and as few doubles.

Examples after the break:

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Basic paradiddle funk

Man, there's just a whole lot of stuff besides blogging on my mind lately— like a Europe tour and recording project— so we may not see a lot of hugely substantive posts in the coming weeks. We'll see. But here's a pretty straightforward page of funk beats, or fragments of funk beats, based on paradiddles:

As you can see, we're adding bass drum to the familiar inversions


played with the right hand on the hihat, and the left hand on the snare, and accenting on the beat. I play the right hand at a fairly even volume, with big dynamics in the left; playing the unaccented notes very softly, and the accented notes strongly.

Get the pdf

After you get them down one measure at a time, combine measures to make a repeating four-beat pattern,  like so—here are the first two measures of the second line combined:

The sequence I use is 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, etc... 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, etc..., 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, etc— repeating each of those combinations many times before moving on to the next one.

In the course of running the combinations, I would also eliminate the bass drum on beat 1 of the second measure:

Probably it's good practice to memorize the beats as you run them; read them the first time you play them, then look away from the page and play.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Groove o' the day: Elvin Jones — Tumblin' Tumbleweed

Just back in town from a short quasi-vacation at the Oregon coast, and nothing on deck except, groan, another hip, generic "Latin jazz" groove, played by Elvin Jones on the tune Tumblin' Tumbleweed on J.J. Johnson's album J Is For Jazz:

Note that he plays the 4& on the snare drum rather than on a tom tom. The bass drum part is inaudible, but you could play it lightly on 1 of the first measure, or 1 and the & of 2 in the first measure, or on 1 and 3 every measure. This isn't available on YouTube, so you'll have to actually buy the track.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Todd's waltz — two measure phrase

Well, we should all have developed a pretty crushing medium-tempo waltz by the time we're done here. Elaborating on my earlier “Todd's waltz” piece— so-called (by me alone) because I don't very often hear this particular hihat pattern that I tend to play a lot. What we have here is actually the form in which it usually comes up in my playing— a two-measure phrase without the ending hihat note from the last entry. In the spirit of the recent Elvin series, I've added a bass drum part as well:

Like I say every time, do the tom moves. They're a real value-amplifier. I also suggest trying this one without the bass drum on beat 1.

Get the pdf.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Groove o' the day: a Blue Note waltz

Let's do an easy one. Here's Billy Gene English sketching out a simple, Blue Note-y, quasi-Latin waltz on the tune Wavy Gravy, from Kenny Burrell's Midnight Blue:

Swing the 8th notes. You can think of this in 6/4, if you want. The bass drum on the track is basically inaudible, but it's fairly safe to assume it's there— after the opening vamp the bassist puts a big emphasis on 1, and I think English's bass drum is hiding behind it.

Audio after the break: