Friday, July 31, 2015

Rowdy Roddy Piper 1954-2015

UPDATE: Notice in Rolling Stone.

This one's a real heartbreaker— Portland-based pro wrestling icon Rowdy Roddy Piper has passed away. Years ago he was a regular on Portland Wrestling, an iconic Oregon TV program in the 1970s, which came on after Creature Features on Saturday nights on KPTV— I watched a few seconds of it here and there when I was a kid. He was also one of the personalities in the first big wave of national attention pro wrestling got in the 80s.

But his biggest achievement was starring in John Carpenter's 1988 low-budget, blue collar, political, sci-fi action movie They Live. That movie featured perhaps the greatest extended— near interminable, actually— savage beating in film history, between Piper and Keith David, also one of my favorite actors. Put this on full screen:

That scene inspired the famous “Cripple Fight” episode from South Park:

He was 61.

More Dom

I'll say again, I strongly encourage you to check out comedian Dom Irrera's podcasts. There's a lot that reflects musicians' world— what these guys are, musicians used to be. They are very intimate with what's happening in their scene, and with the work of their contemporaries, and with their immediate influences, but are not necessarily all-encompassing scholars of the history of comedy. That's actually the way it's supposed to be, in an active, living scene— it seems that musicians have gotten more serious about history and scholarship as the scene has fallen apart.

Critical opinions are oriented around funny/not funny, and original vs. “stolen” material, rather than the type of judgments fans make, about who's currently hot and who “sucks.” For example, you'll hear neutral, non-snide references to Carrot Top and Larry The Cable Guy, each perennial figures of loathing among comedy fans. The interview with Rob Schneider, who is also the subject of a lot of antipathy, is really good:

Much of the conversation is NSFW in a big way, so best not to play these in front of your grandmother— these guys are pretty “low chakra” types, as Bob Moses said of most musicians in a recent clinic. There's also some racial stuff that's pretty marginal in my book. The comedians have a lot of verbal intelligence, but not necessarily a lot of education, and are generally not real sophisticated politically.

But these things are a great working class entertainment business hang, and very worth the time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Never enough 7/8

Hey, it's what I'm working on this week. I can't help it if it's not especially high-priority. This is an easy Stick Control-based method in 7/8 time. Together with the other pages, including a couple more that are yet to come, and a reasonable amount of practicing, you should be in pretty good shape to survive an encounter with a fast 7/8.

I haven't broken down the method completely for you here, but it should be apparent enough if you are ready to practice it. We're playing a four note cymbal rhythm with the right hand on the cymbal, and playing the bass drum and snare drum in unison with it, based on the sticking patterns on the first thirteen exercises in the first section of Stick Control. R means bass drum, L means snare drum, so if the pattern in the book is RLRL, you'll play bass-snare-bass-snare, in the same rhythm as the cymbal part. Look— compare the exercises here with the same-numbered exercises in Stone:

At the bottom of the page are some examples of variations you can do with each of the patterns, which I recommend. Get all the patterns together as written, then do whatever variations you can come up with, with each of the patterns. On the second page of the pdf, there's a set of exercises for developing a lick which you'll certainly use a lot in improvising in this style. I've put the hihat on the 1, but you could also put it on the fourth 8th note of the measure— the “2” of the lopsided 3 that is 7/8.

I should probably get you the practice loop I'm using, hey? It's coming...

Get the pdf

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More Igbo grooves for drumset

More grooves from that video of Igbo percussionists from the other day— I called it “ogene”, but that is the name of the bells the musicians are playing; the name of the tribe and the music is Igbo. These drumset grooves here are composites of the shaker, udo (bass sound), and ogene (bell) parts. Most of the left hand parts are based on the parts of the bell player on screen right; the floor tom notes are played by the bell player on screen left, the leader.

The grooves have long, short, and ghosted articulations in the bass drum and tonal parts— the left hand parts played on the toms and snare drum with snares off. The pitches of the drums from low to high are floor tom, high tom, snare drum; so you can substitute a smaller tom tom for the snare drum if you want.

Get the pdf

The video is worth many viewings— you may or may not be able to hear all of these grooves in the audio; some of them are pretty transitory.

Vic Firth 1930-2015

By now everyone knows Vic Firth has passed away. I don't know what to say about it, except that he wasn't just a gear manufacturer, he was also a musician, and made major contributions to the literature of percussion. For many of us, his snare drum stick, the SD-1 General, is the only snare drum stick, and is treated with respect and not abused, so one pair is made to last many years or decades— I'm sure a lot of my friends are still on their first pair. So it's a very personally felt thing that he's gone. There's a long piece in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, and notices from BillboardJazz Times, and NPR. You can also leave your condolences on the company Facebook page.

UPDATE: Notice on the Percussive Arts Society web site, with this from Peter Erskine:
“I have had the great pleasure of knowing Vic personally for twenty-five years," said Peter Erskine, "and thanks to television and recordings, I have known his great music-making as timpanist of the Boston Symphony for even longer. And I have used his sticks since high school. Vic is the consummate musician, teacher and business person. No matter whose drumstick or mallet you use, we must all be grateful to Vic Firth for raising the level of stick and mallet design and production. Simply put, I wouldn't want to make any of my music without his sticks, and I cherish the friendship of the man and his family.”

And a New York Times notice.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Page o' coordination: blazing Zorn 7/8

More 7/8, this one specifically for very fast tempos, based on the riff from a tune called Solitaire, from John Zorn's album O'o. It's a short, simple, but very challenging vehicle for a drum solo, and Joey Baron absolutely kills it. I don't know if there's a real good reason to work this up if you're not playing a lot of modern music. I do get asked to play hard stuff, and the idea of having a piece like this put in front of me on a recording date, and me eating it as badly as I do practicing along with the recording, gives me hives. So I want to take a few minutes to learn to cover it.

The measures are phrased 3+2+2— unusual— but the tune is basically played “in 1”— one seven-note-subdivided-beat per measure. The format of the exercises is different than we usually do for the POCs— the left hand column  has the cymbal rhythm, with both feet on the downbeat, and a variety of left hand parts; the right hand column has the same patterns with additional bass drum notes.

Play it down in columns, go left to right down the page, whatever you want. I think if you're not able to whip through this up to speed in less than half an hour, you should probably be working on something else. Don't screw around.

Get the pdf

No YouTube for this one, which is just as well. Buy the track here, or the whole album. I wish I could give a link that forces you to go to your local record store and buy it there, instead of from Amazon. But it's good, buy it. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Groove o' the day: Ogene 6/8

Via African Muzik Magazine and Famoudou Don Moye, music by traditional Ogene musicians, from Nigeria:

I'm transcribing some of the cool instrumental breaks they're playing on the bells, between vocal parts, but until I get those done, here are some of the things happening with the time feel— simplified a little bit, and adapted for the drumset.

The basic groove, played with shaker and jug— a bass sound; since we're drumset musicians, we'll play the parts on the bass drum, and any right hand sound you want— hihat, bell, rim, whatever you have handy. It's felt “in 1”; one beat per measure of 6/8.

Note the staccato, muffled bass drum note in the first measure, and the accented long note in the second measure. The circled note is an optional variation, played occasionally; when you play it, it's a long note, slightly softer than the accented note.

With a tonal middle voice added; in the video it's played on a bell; we'll play it on the high tom, or on the snare drum with the snares off. This occurs briefly after many of the instrumental breaks— the strong, interactive bell parts that happen between vocal phrases. Listen for the double in the second measure; you can hear it pretty clearly at 2:02:

A more complex middle voice, with articulations— this is played by the bell player on the right during many of the vocal parts:

The housetop accent is a stronger note with an open sound; the staccato notes are softer, with a dead stroke; the note in parenthesis is the softest, and also a dead stroke. If you watch the player, you can see there's often more going on than what I've written— more soft notes— when I get some more time with this, I'll post some more...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

That insane Brazilian cymbal technique

It's a thing with Brazilian drumset drummers to play really fast, even singles on the cymbal with one hand when playing samba; here Adam Osmianski has posted an excellent roundup of stuff on the technique for doing that, including some correspondence with a student of his, who has gotten really deep into it— it's better and more informed than a similar thing I posted some months ago.

Playing this way gives a very exciting, high-energy sound. I've heard cases that are too extreme for my taste, where the player's technique has outstripped what sounds good musically to me. Most of us will never get there, and should just keep working on getting it as fast as possible. I keep posting this Elis Regina video, but it has been my guide for this, and as you can hear, it's pretty insanely fast— 16th notes @ quarter note = 126 bpm. The drummer will only do them for a few measures uninterrupted at a time, but that's quite hard enough. I'd love to be able to be this chilled out while being this blazing:

Paradiddle exercises in 7/8

UPDATE: Man, I am getting sloppy. There were a bunch of typos and duplicate exercises in the original pdf— I've updated it, and included some accent variations in the triple paradiddle exercises. 

Hey, breaking our little dry spell, here's something to go with our last set of stuff in 7/8— some paradiddle exercises, using a variety of inversions and variations:

On the RLLR/LRRL inversions you can lose either of the accents for each beat— practice them with both accents, without the second accent, and without the first accent. Moving these to the drumset, you can play every 1 on the cymbal together with the bass drum; or play all the accents on a cymbal with the bass drum; or play the RH on the cymbal or hihat and the LH on the snare, with the bass drum in unison with some or all of the RH notes.

Get the pdf

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Best books: The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion & Drum Set by Ed Uribe

Buy the book
Leafing through a copy of Ed Uribe's book The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion & Drum Set, you may be inclined to Google Map the location of the nearest bridge, and then drive your car off it, with you and your drums in it. It's about 325 pages long, with a lot of verbiage, and a bewildering array of drumming and song styles, terms, and instruments you are supposed to learn; and including several practice regimens of hundreds of systems each. Early in the book is this not-very-encouraging passage:

[In Latin American music t]here is no glory, no media glitz, or peer respect in being a lightweight player— like there often is in American pop culture. In this type of drumming the more prevalent attitude is that there are those who can play and then there's everybody else. You either play or you don't, and if you don't, you have nothing to say. This is not meant to intimidate. It is merely a fact to accept. 

It's not meant to intimidate, but it is nevertheless intimidating music to take up, with some big scary issues for the uninitiated:

  • Clave. What is it, how do you play within it, what happens to you if you violate it? Do you die? 
  • A culture of correctness-oriented musicians (that's my experience with a lot of Anglo-American practitioners, anyway) combined with a dearth of hard information. In conversations about this music, you notice a lot of talk about right and wrong; mysterious terms and concepts which are nevertheless enforced for correctness. 
  • Apparently much more demanding independence than is required for other types of music. In playing this music on the drum set, we are combining percussion parts which were not originally intended to be played by one person. 
  • Usually these groups have a percussion section. As the drum set player, you are the non-traditional odd man, and you must adapt to a variety of possible instrumentations, avoiding duplicating the other players' parts, and filling in whatever parts are not present.

Uribe addresses these issues, and prescribes a very intense, decade-long program just for acquiring the materials he gives you in the book. Fortunately, for jazz drummers like me, it is possible to engage it with a level of commitment balanced with all of the other things we are doing in music, and still get something out of it. This music is actually played by human beings, not all of them insanely gifted Latin American gods, so becoming reasonably competent with it should be possible for anyone with a little talent, and a normal-serious level of commitment of time, interest, and dedication.

So, this is a very serious, big book, if I haven't communicated that yet. Fortunately, you can algebra away quite a bit of it; there is a lot of redundancy— the same pieces of information may occur in multiple sections, which insures that you don't miss the really important things in the extremely likely event you are unable to ingest the book whole. There is also a lot of overlap in the drumming for different song styles— the basic Mambo and Cha Cha approaches, for example, each apply to several styles. And there are a number of obscure or folkloric styles you will probably will never be asked to play, which you can treat as optional— Cha Cha Lokua Fun, Abakwa (which is actually a hip thing to work on). If you stay based in reality somewhat— like, what am I listening to, and who is playing this music locally that I might be asked to play with— you can prioritize what you need to work on.

Like Uribe's other great book, The Essence of Brazilian Percussion & Drum Set, this book has the style of a professional field manual. He lets you know what is expected from you on a professional gig, and where you have some freedom, vs. where you need to play the parts. Playing through his practice systems you begin to develop some freedom within the complex coordination, and you are able to reorchestrate the parts and do variations without having the whole groove fall apart. There are two long chapters on clave, which gets into the finer points of what it is, and supports you in learning to trust your ears in finding it. Through all of this, you begin to find the special mindset of playing this music on the drumset, which is different from anything else in drumming.

I'm not a well-enough educated Salsa/Cuban music player to have serious criticisms about its correctness; as someone who knows how to be a student, I have one or two small reservations, or just open questions after having spent a year or two with it. But a book is not supposed to tell you everything, though, nor can it; nor is it supposed to replace interaction with human beings, so this is my fault for learning this music just through books and recordings, and a few gigs. It was obviously a huge feat putting together a volume of this size and completeness, and it's the best practical resource I've yet seen for approaching this very demanding field of music.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In which I give naked clickbait much more attention than it deserves

There's TONS of this stuff out there. 
UPDATE: Ari Herstand at Digital Music News has also ripped the guy a new one.

Here is something which is at best is clickbait— some drone working for some website desperate for traffic writes something outrageous, with some thin pretense of seriousness, to get people to click through to their site, which will use the data to make themselves a more attractive prospect for advertisers. At worst, it's a form of gaslighting— an abusive person taking advantage of others' insecurity to make them feel worse, more in line with the abuser's own self-loathing. It's probably both: a crappy site engages a bitter, failed talent to vent his resentment, to the satisfaction of the lowest needs of all involved. Whatever these creeps' motivations, the piece does point to real misconceptions held by a lot of musicians about the music business. And these same complaints come up again and again from anti-artist types, so maybe this will give you some fuel for dealing with them.

I will pay them the respect of letting them live up to their values, by not supplying them with a direct link, thereby tainting them with the resulting filthy lucre. If you want to search for it, it was printed on the web site of some free paper in St. Louis [oh, the hell with it— here. tb]. The introduction:

You've seen those memes: the ones about how musicians spend thousands of dollars on gear, hours rehearsing and loading/unloading, and drive 40 minutes to just play a show for $100. How noble and brave our poor musicians are, selflessly sacrificing themselves at every turn for a chance to do what they love while constantly griping and whining about every aspect of it. So of course they deserve to get paid -- they're performing a vital service to our lives, just like an ambulance driver. 
Although musicians are indeed shafted by entire industries that are built purely around their creative output, truthfully, they don't deserve to get paid anything. Now tremble with indignant rage as I explain precisely why.

And with that, here we go: one writer's idea of “Why musicians DON'T deserve to get paid.” I have to warn you, my commentary may be quite unintelligible with typos, as I am totally trembling with rage at the power of this schlub's words:

6. Most Music Sucks Honestly, most of everything sucks. Most architecture sucks. Most visual art sucks. Most writing sucks. Falling in line with this noble, sacred truth, your music also probably sucks. Do you really think you deserve to get paid for sucking, just because you took the time to suck?

Well, yeah. Of course. Are you stupid? This is America.

Obviously, no one is paid based on whether they “suck” or not— not even architects! They are paid based on the fulfillment of a contract with a client, a formal arrangement with an employer. In any field you have to have some kind of appeal to your customers and clients, but that's a very different thing than sucking according to some bargain-basement music writer.

There's more of this sort of thing after the break:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Stick tricks

Sonny, pained.
Be advised, if you plan on using Sonny Payne as a positive example for a lot of jive stick twirling, I have been informed that on the Basie band he was resented for doing that during other people's solos— which shouldn't be real surprising— and in fact once had a gun pulled on him for that reason. Food for thought, you know?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Two performers

Dave Camp
Just had an acquaintance, and fellow Portland musician die this week— Dave Camp, a very talented, charismatic, rock & roll guitarist, singer, and songwriter. I think he was a couple of years younger than me, in his early to mid 40s. I haven't kept up with what he's been up to, but I know he slammed it out for years in the lower middle class of creative musicians— he was working a lot, doing a few biggish things, and surviving. A successful, beloved, artist, though not rich, and not famous. Apparently a few months ago he discovered he had cancer, and then he died from it this week.

As sad as the loss of him is— I know a lot of people who are absolutely heartbroken right now— I more feel like celebrating the completion of a successful life— I want to say congratulations, Dave, you were an artist. 

Another performer, whose name I've forgotten, was a walk-on entertainer on a cruise ship I used to work on— part of a corny, four-person singing group. He worked the straightest of straight jobs— for a bank, or something— was nearing retirement, and was very proud of the very ample nest egg he had set up for himself. A conversation in my presence included the phrase “Two words: compound interest.” The story about him is that one day, a couple of years after I knew him, he was not feeling well. So he went to the doctor, discovered he had cancer, and died from it a few months later.

He may as well have spent his life writing poetry or making abstract paintings.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

7/8 rhythms

I got sort of lightly burned at a session recently, when a player pulled up a tune he had written which was in a fast 7/8. I've been working on my odd meters quite a bit in recent years— for the better part of my career I felt they were a relic of the 70s, and not very happening. I was more about finding a lot of freedom in 4/4, 3/4, and 6/8; with the odd meters I felt you were back in the stone age, playing a lot of downbeats. Now everyone's playing them again, and I needed to get them together for real. I thought I was pretty happening with it, until that fast 7/8, which took me a few minutes of fumbling around to find my vocabulary. I still feel the */8 odd meters are a leetle bit jive, as they put a little rhythmic straight jacket on you— you always have to catch the 2+2+3— it's almost a clave— or it falls apart. Maybe I just lack vision.

Or maybe I just need to work on it more. So here are a few basic rhythms in 7/8, in plain form (plus the beat written out, a la Ted Reed), and filled in. The right hand column has the rhythm played on the cymbal, filled out on the snare drum to make running 8th notes.

Get the pdf, and after the break I'll give some ways of using this.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

“All you need to bring is cymbals” translated

“What? Them's drums, ain't they? Whatsamatter?”
What this familiar instruction really means:

“Bring your cymbals, and these items too:
  • two different sizes of hihat clutches
  • cymbal felts, washers, sleeves, and wingnuts
  • snare drum
  • throne
  • bass drum pedal
  • what the hell: hihat stand
  • extra cymbal stand
  • optional, not optional: snare stand
  • duct tape
  • music stand, clothes pins, stand light, if reading music
  • stick bag, drum key, of course

Failure to bring ANY of the above is 100% guaranteed to leave you TOTALLY SCREWED.”

As one drummer says: “If someone says that they are providing drums... don’t have any expectations[.]”

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Assembling a basic Elvin Jones-style waltz

Here's a page of elements for putting together a basic Elvin Jones-style jazz waltz— I hate to treat his playing so reductively, but what are we supposed to do? It's a thing, it's sometimes asked for, and people need an easy entry into it. When I first learned this groove, or a take on it, I had no specifics at all to go on; I just listened to the records, and tried to match the vibe. Now we've got pages and pages of exercises for putting a similar thing together, but there's a lot to be said for just listening, learning a few basic things, and going for it.

Swing the 8th notes— Elvin generally played a very triplety swing feel. We're emphasizing the 1 and the & of 2 with our swing feel here; I've written them as accents, but just lean on them a bit. First learn the base pattern with the bass drum and cymbal, then learn the left hand parts— once you are familiar with them, you can improvise moving them around the drums. Then play them again with each of the cymbal variations, and again with the different hihat parts. You could go one step further and learn the left hand parts with every combination of cymbal parts and hihat parts, but I think once you've done what I suggested, you'll be able to begin improvising your own things. Then, if you feel the need, you can dive into the many Pages o' Coordination I've written on this subject.

Get the pdf

Don't neglect the listening— there are some tracks after the break.

Rudiments and tempo

The basis of everything, or, like, not.
A question posed in an online drumming forum:

The problem I have with rudiments is that it seems they're only useful within a narrow range of tempo.  
Most rudiments have a minimum tempo, below which they're not very useful at all. They also have a maximum tempo, beyond which either a drummer can't play them, or they're so fast they sound like a blur, at least in most musical contexts. 
That leaves a narrow tempo range where rudiments have practical application. If your band doesn't happen to play in that range, rudiments are pretty much useless to you. 
I'm aware there are indirect benefits of studying rudiments, but that argument says rudiments should be thought of as calisthenics for drummers. That doesn't seem like a terribly strong argument when there are so many other things a drummer could be working on.

Here are a few thoughts on this— it would be easy to go deep into the weeds on any one of these points, but I'm going to try not to:

1. The traditional snare drum rudiments were designed to get semi-trained drummers to play military music uniformly, with a lot of volume, while sounding pretty good. In textbook form, they're intended to be played, and sound best at around quarter note = 100-120. There are slower military pieces, but they largely consist of single notes and long rolls— if you've ever played The Star-Spangled Banner, that's approximately the experience. They are not heavy on hand-to-hand rudiments. In modern playing, you don't typically see even very rudimentally-oriented players improvising with, say, very slow paradiddles.

2. Even though they were originally made for a narrow range of tempos, it's more complicated than that:

  • Flams and ruffs are embellishments that can be used at any tempo. 
  • All forms of rolls— single stroke, open, and closed/multiple-bounce— have a natural speed limit based on the instrument on which they're being played; the rate of the actual hits has to be fast enough to sound like a long tone— finely-textured, or coarsely-textured, depending on what's desired. At too slow a rate, it stops sounding like a long tone, and at too fast a rate (for the particular instrument) the quality suffers. So regardless of the tempo of the music, rolls have to be played at roughly the same real speed. 
  • Other rudiments— like paradiddles, flamacues, ratamacues, etc— can be played at any tempo, by varying the rhythm. It's true that, played ridiculously fast, they sound like static— that's a concern with anything you play. And with a lot of current drumming, which has hyperactivity issues.  

3. The questioner is right that textbook rudiments are not all necessarily extremely useful in everyday playing, and that there are a lot of other things to work on; so you're allowed to use your judgment about how much time you want to dedicate to them. The major reasons I see for working on them are:

  • You will use some of them directly in playing music. 
  • You will develop other things from some of them. 
  • They are good for developing general snare drum facility. 
  • Learning them connects you with the culture of the instrument. 

A student who is serious, but who doesn't want to over-commit to a real traditional rudimental approach, could just learn Book 2 of Haskell Harr's snare drum method, and leave it at that. I think most drummers would benefit from learning that book, along with Charley Wilcoxon's Rudimental Swing Solos— which is actually a very serious course of study. There are non-rudimental* snare drum technical studies in Buster Bailey's Wrist Twisters, Ron Fink's Chop Busters, and Jacques Delecluse's Methode de Caisse-Claire— I think those books (Fink especially) may be more directly useful in modern playing than Harr.

*- I'll have to explain what I mean by that at another time. Those books include singles, drags, rolls, flams, and ruffs, which are included in the traditional drumming rudiments. Suffice it to say that Bailey, Fink, and Delecluse are “non-rudimental” compared to Harr and Wilcoxon.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Masabumi Kikuchi 1939-2015

Pianist Masabumi Kikuchi has died. I mainly knew him through two very beautiful records by Tethered Moon, his band with Paul Motian and Gary Peacock— TM Plays Kurt Weill, and First Meeting. But he did a lot of other things. Ethan Iverson interviewed Kikuchi at his blog, Do The Math, and it's worth reading.

Some more listening after the break:

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Tech is not your friend, part eleventy

A piece called Sleeping Through A Revolution, by Jonathan Taplin, who is a professor at USC, and the producer of a bunch of great movies— Mean Streets, To Die For, The Last Waltz. He's not big on this new artist-impoverishing digital paradise, and the corporate propaganda about the “inevitability” of its present form.

Since the introduction of Napster in 2000, global recorded music revenues have fallen from $21 billion to $7 billion per year. Newspaper ad revenue has fallen from $65 billion in 2000 to $18 billion in 2011. Book publisher operating profits have fallen by 40 percent, and the revenue from DVD sales of movies and TV (of the top 100 titles) has fallen from $7 billion to $2.3 billion. 
The astonishing fact of the precipitous declines in revenue has nothing to do with the idea that people are listening to less music or watching fewer movies and TV shows. In fact, all surveys point to the opposite. Consumption of all forms of media is rising. So where did the money go? Two places: into the pockets of Digital Monopolists and Digital Thieves.

Musicians are generally pretty politically aware, except about their own business as it relates to tech. Do hit the link above and read the whole piece. It can be depressing reading this stuff, but the first step is realizing you have a problem. The current thing is not sustainable. When we're aware that we have a problem, we can start looking for, and getting behind, people who are in a position to make their voices heard on the subject.

Daily best music in the world: Leo

Rashied Ali's band playing my favorite piece from Interstellar Space. With Carlos Ward.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Daily best music in the world: more Parliament

From the 1979 Parliament album Gloryhallastupid, Theme From The Black Hole. Dennis Chambers is one of several drummers on this record; I don't know if this is him.

Basic jazz method with varying cymbal pattern

Please forgive the lack of posting here— it's been in the high 90s/low 100s in Portland for over a week, and it's putting a serious damper on my productivity. The climate in the Pacific Northwest is extremely mild, and there's about a 30° window in which we Cascadian types will not feel oppressed by the weather for being too cold or too hot.

I like using the early easy parts of Syncopation (Progressive Steps To... by Ted Reed, of course) as well as the harder middle part, with which jazz students spend so much time. This is a basic method for doing some different things with the left hand along with a varying ride cymbal pattern, using pp. 10-11 in Reed, called Lesson 4 in the new edition of the book. We'll be playing the book rhythms on the cymbal, adding hihat on 2 and 4, and filling in with the left hand in various ways. To save space on the page, I'm not writing out examples as they appear in the book.

Swing the 8th notes. Some of the patterns will have the left hand quarter note triplets crossing the barline, which is a little difficult to read at first. You can also do the left hand moves we normally use with the Pages o' coordination.

Get the pdf