Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Groove o' the day: Neftali Santiago — Too Late

Because I don't think your funk is 70s is enough, here's some more Mandrill, with one of the greatest-named drummers ever, Neftali Santiago. And just a great drummer, period. This is Too Late, from the album New Worlds, by Mandrill. It's 1978, Disco is happening, and in keeping with the times, funk drummers are simplifying and cleaning things up a bit. Santiago is pretty freewheeling on the band's earlier records, but here he matches the vamp all the way through. And he still sounds absolutely great.

The great funk hihat accenting debate— which I started, with myself, and no one else is participating in— continues with track; there is no regular accenting the hihat on the beat here. He plays it generally pretty strong and even, but I notice he'll ghost the downbeat every so often; and he'll accent occasionally, usually off the beat, along with the bass drum, or not.


Ed Pierce said...

Great groove--thanks for sharing! And tasty Motown pickup fill at the top, as well.

Regarding the great funk hi-hat accenting debate: you may be interested to know that Zoro (who knows his stuff when it comes to authentic R&B performance practice) discusses this on his DVD, and mentions how many of the old school soul and R&B drummers gave equal weight to all the 8th notes on the hi-hat. I think he even says that that accenting the downbeats (at least in some cases) can drain the funkiness out of a groove (I think he actually says that it'll make the groove sound like a "funkalectomy" was performed on it!).

G.Husband said...

I think the proliferation of accented patterns is possibly a due to modern players getting bored, almost using this concept as 'funk comping'. It can certainly overpower the other elements in the rhythm and disconnect from the overall 'funkiness'. I recently watched a Greg Bissonette video where he vomits over a funk backing track. Loads of technique I suppose, but zero funk. It ain't got nothing' on Tiki et all.

Todd Bishop said...

Ed- Yeah! Embarrassed to say I'm a little late to the Mandrill party-- I only ever had a messed-up copy of the one record around... but I love this drummer.

GH- Funk comping-- what a concept. I guess it's something you kind of do, but seeing the two words together, it just sounds like making a science of playing more junk for no reason.

neftalisantiago@icloud.com said...

Wow! I'm totally flattered you took the time to do this piece.