A couple of the problems I have with the idea of playing time with the bass drum (“feathering”) in jazz are: 1) it's easy to play the feathered notes too loud— a very hokey thing in 2013— and 2) it can be restricting; if you don't have a lot of facility, your foot will be so busy playing the near-inaudible feathered notes that you don't play anything else. The latter wasn't a huge problem in 1945, when the drummer's job was quite a bit narrower than it is now, and players could get by just knowing a few stock punctuations; in modern playing we have to do more, and we like more freedom. So here is a collection of exercises to begin developing some dynamic control over the bass drum while feathering:
Play the hihat and cymbal at an even mf, while exaggerating the dynamics on the bass drum— play the accented notes strongly, and the unaccented notes extremely softly— don't let their volume creep up. At very slow tempos, you might actually practice playing an upstroke on the feathered note right before an accent, and maybe a downstroke on the accented note— or the last accented note.
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