Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Groove o' the day: Mel Lewis — Jive Samba

Mel Lewis plays a funk groove. The tune is Nat Adderly's Jive Samba, and the album is Thad Jones / Mel Lewis, Central Park North, from 1969. The intro has some fun tom fills, so let's write that out, too:

The tempo is around ~126-128, and the 16ths have just a slight lilt to them. Today the fashion would be to give the fills some shape by accenting part of them— well, I guess even at the time most good jazz drummers would've played them that way, too— but Mel plays every note of them at a pretty even volume, like you might expect a studio drummer of the time to do. Most good players now would be too hip to do them that way, but it sounds great.

Here's the groove he plays after that, when the band is in, with obvious bass drum variations:

Later in the tune, he also moves to an earlier-60's style groove, playing all four beats on the snare drum.

Audio after the break:

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