Saturday, August 09, 2014

Groove o' the day: two by Jabo Starks

Here are two grooves by Jabo Starks, played on James Brown's original soundtrack for the movie Black Caesar. As you already know very well, Starks, along with Clyde Stubblefield, is the drummer most responsible for creating the now-classic James Brown groove— crisp-sounding; generally bright tempos; with texture, in the form of ghost notes on the snare drum; often with one of the backbeats displaced. Drummers have really latched on to the ghost notes thing in recent years, but for a long time, until people started sampling James Brown grooves, they were out of fashion; the thing was to play a strong 2 and 4, and nothing else.

First, “The Boss”, which you might also recognize from the movie Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels:

...and I forgot to include a time signature, but I think you can figure out we're in 4/4. As with much of Brown's stuff, there's a very light swing to the 16th notes. He's playing with a light touch here, while being absolutely solid and grooving— I would try to cop that element.

And here's “Make It Good For Yourself”— if you've listened to much 80s and 90s hip hop, this groove should feel very familiar:

It's easy to make too much out of the ghosted notes, especially on beat 4. Jabo's backbeats are absolutely rocking, but not too loud— again, that kind of touch is worth developing.

No comments: