Monday, November 10, 2014

A Reed method for 16th notes in jazz— reading 8th notes

Continuing our previous Reed interpretation for comping with 16th notes in jazz, this time using the 8th note section of Syncopation— pp. 10-11, or “Lesson 4” in the new edition.

The written rhythms on those pages are 8th notes and quarter notes; we'll be giving the 8th notes a dotted 8th/16th interpretation:

Just so we're clear, that is not a normal way of playing swing 8th notes; as a rule they should have a more rounded, triplety feel most often. If a horn player played a Charlie Parker tune interpreting the 8th notes with that dotted 8th/16th feel, he would sound unbelievably hokey, and you would fire him. So we're really using this interpretation only to generate drum ideas to go with the swing cymbal pattern, which may have that 16th note feel, at certain tempos, or where a certain vibe is called for; or for accompanying soloists using 16th notes. It's a fairly fine distinction. I just don't want you going into your next lesson with Joe Chambers and saying “Cruise Ship Drummer! told me to play swing 8th notes as a dotted 8th and 16th!”

We will be using that cymbal rhythm, more or less strictly. Play it accurately, but try to keep a legato feel:

To walk through the steps of the first interpretation, then: when reading the first exercise in Reed, p. 10:

We'll ignore the bass drum line, and play that main rhythm as follows:

In fact, the exercises are written in this form on pp. 12-13 of Syncopation, so you can use those pages if you want. But the next step of this method will require you to translate the 8th notes that way, so you may as well get used to it now, while the reading is easy.

We'll be orchestrating that on the drums as follows: play the exercise rhythm on the bass drum, and fill in the inside notes of the dotted 8th/16th rhythm— the e-&— on the snare drum. Fill out the written quarter notes as we did in the previous entry— in this example, the es and as:

Add the cymbal pattern, and hihat, as above [There is a typo here— there is a missing snare note on the a of 2.]:

More examples and another exercise after the break:

And this rhythm:

Would be played like this:

Filled out like this:

With the cymbal and hihat added:

Here's that same exercise, but instead filling in the &-as on the beats with written quarter notes— see the previous entry for explanation:

As with all Reed interpretations, you are meant to make all of these steps at once— you read the lines of exercises in the book, and play the complete pattern above. I'm just giving you the steps so the logic of the method is absolutely clear. But you can do it in steps at first, if you need to.

Another interpretation is to play offbeat straight, non-swing 8th notes through the entire exercise. So the first exercise above would be filled out like this:

With the cymbal and hihat:

We've one more step with this first basic method, which will be coming soon.

No comments: