Thursday, October 02, 2014

A Philly Joe intro: Dance of the Infidels

Oh, I was going to put out a book of intros, wasn't I? Most of the transcribing for that project is actually done, and now I just need to do the not-fun part of laying it out in book form... we'll see if I can get that done before the end of the year. Here's a little foretaste of that, with Philly Joe Jones's intro to Dance of the Infidels, from Hank Mobley's 1957 Blue Note album Hank:

Philly Joe is just so high-classic bebop that it took me a long time to recognize that I could differentiate his playing from other bop drumming, and his thing is still kind of difficult for me to define. He's certainly rudimentally-oriented. The triplets here are likely played as singles [Note: Or not! see the comments... -tb]— the first run is three beats long, and the second one 3+3 beats long, which might get you thinking it's a good idea to get really fluent with playing triplets specifically in three-beat groups. That first triplet run is actually an 11-stroke roll, played as singles, and, including the fp pickup, will start and end with the same hand. It will take a little bit of practice to end the run of singles with a stick shot, which is played by pressing one stick into the head, and hitting it with the other stick.


  1. Super excited about this book, Todd!It's a terrific idea, and I believe a great idea as an entre into playing jazz and applying a compositional approach. I'm ready to buy my copy at any time (if you decide you're going to pre-sell 'em).

    -David Hurd

  2. Great transcription, Todd. One of Philly's favorite licks (as you know) is to play continuous triplets while accenting every third beat. I always used to assume that he did it with singles, until I saw some John Riley transcriptions where Riley used the sticking Rll rlr rll (where the right hand is playing a 3/4 jazz ride pattern). Perhaps Riley visually observed Philly playing that way? That still wouldn't address how would stick a lick like the first one you mention, accenting the and of 4 followed by a softer stream of triplets (which, of course, is another of his favorite licks). I actually find singles easier than the other sticking, but maybe if my doubles were in better shape I'd think otherwise.

  3. Thanks for the info, Ed-- I'll bet Mel Brown can confirm that stuff, too. I had the opposite issue-- I was never a good singles player (until I started working on them a lot a few years ago-- I would always opt for a sticking with doubles.

    David- Great, I'd better get cooking on this thing! Doing the layout is always a long slog, but I have to face it...