Sunday, August 30, 2015

More Rational Funk

It's testimony to the lameness of the Internet— not my readers, who are awesome, but all the rest of that rabble— that the videos in Bad Plus drummer Dave King's Rational Funk series mostly get around eight to ten thousand views— occasionally commanding as much attention as this joker's worst video, but never, in anyone's most cocaine-induced fit of megalomania, achieving more than a fraction of the views of this video by some guy called Turdadactyl. Let's see, how are we doing today, still worse than Turdadactyl? Yep. Wonderful, let's all commit suicide.

If you're a follower of this blog, you're going to love Rational Funk, so get in there and subscribe to the series on YouTube, follow him on Twitter, and all that jive. Show some support for good drumming stuff on the web.

Here are a couple of good recent videos— extended techniques, and dealing with children:

Commentary on Whiplash:

Dahlgren & Fine in 7/8 — 01

This is a continuation of a thing we did before, in which we worked on playing a very standard three note pattern, RLF, in 7/8, phrased 3+2+2— as it is in the tune Solitaire, by John Zorn, which has been our context for this series. If you're like me, you play a lot of three-note patterns, and have learned to do them well in 4/4 and 3/4 without getting lost. It's considerably more challenging in this fast 7/8. Here we'll take some triplet patterns from page 10 of  the book 4-Way Coordination, by Marvin Dahlgren and Elliot Fine, and learn to fit them into one measure of 7/8, creating a two measure phrase, alternating with an easy right hand-lead pattern in the second measure— a sticking pattern of RLLRLRL, with the RH on the cymbal, playing the bass drum along with the cymbal:

Mainly our job here is 1) to figure out what one measure of the three note pattern feels like— played all the way to beat one of the next measure, and 2) to figure out how to get into the second-measure RLLRLRL pattern, when, due to job 1, the first note may be a RH, RF, LH, or LF. And do it in a way that makes the downbeats clear to the people you're playing with.

On the page are several examples of a sequence of exercises for developing this idea— apply them to each of the 48 one-beat patterns on p. 10 of 4WC. We're using a Dahlgren & Fine-style staff, with each line representing a specified hand or foot. We're assuming the right hand is on a cymbal, the left hand on the snare drum, right foot on bass drum, left foot on hihat. You'll notice there's a black note head in the right hand part in the second and fourth examples— play those notes on the snare drum. In those cases, our three-note pattern ended on a left hand, and to get into the second measure pattern, we're starting it with a LRL on the snare drum. Also, in the fourth example, you'll notice that the second measure of the last exercise ends with a quarter note; that's just to avoid doing three notes in a row with the left hand on the repeat— one of my biases in my practice methods is that I'll try to avoid more than two hits in a row with any limb. It makes it easier to go faster, and lessens the need for developing a lot of chops. It's just a basic philosophy of mine— I don't want my playing to be dependent on having a lot of technical prowess. You can do whatever you want, of course. Just put together one measure of the three note pattern with one measure of RLLRLRL, and connect them however you see fit.

...what an ugly mass of verbiage. If I were you, I wouldn't read it— I'd just look at what's on the page, and try to figure out why it is the way it is, and apply it to the other patterns in 4WC.

Other suggestions: It's a good idea to accent the first note of each measure, and also the fourth note: 1-2-3-1-2-1-2. When the second measure starts with a solo right hand, play the bass drum along with it; when it starts with a solo bass drum, play the cymbal along with it— if you don't have to do anything awkward to do that. Whatever you do, go for the easiest, most flowing thing, that also states the downbeats clearly.

More of this type of thing coming soon...

Get the pdf

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Service announcement — EVERYTHING WORKING, apparently

OK, it looks like we've gotten this hosting nonsense sorted out. PDF downloads are working for the whole site, and you can get to the site via, or via the blogspot address, Just typing in takes you to the interim placeholder I put up when the thing was down.

Please let me know if you encounter anything strange strange behavior by the site in coming days... hit the email Todd link in the sidebar. Thanks for your patience.

Posting will continue to be light, as I'm getting married next week, and have lots of stuff to do...

SUNDAY UPDATE: No BS, now everything is actually together. What a pain. Please let me know if you encounter anything strange...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Vanguard 'n' me

Looking through my archives I found some of my old drum corps music, from the Santa Clara Vanguard in 1986. Hastily copied from Ralph Hardimon's score— I think this was basically my audition, now that I think about it; Ralph left me with the score for about 90 minutes, and I had to copy it out and learn the vibraphone part for the opener, Festive Overture by Shostakovich. So it's rather rough looking. I think I had only been playing mallets for about a year at this point— the first piece I ever actually learned was to prepare for my college audition, and that was in the spring of 1985.

I was in my freshman year in college, and thought my drum corps career was over after the Salem, Oregon corps I had marched with for several years folded after being edged out of DCI associate status, finishing 26th at nationals in 1985. I had been shifting my focus to drum set for several years, and was ready to move on from corps. Then a fellow percussion major at the University of Oregon, who was with the Vanguard in 1984, let me know in April that they had lost a couple of people from the pit (I think they call it “front ensemble” now?), and hooked it up for me to go down to California and audition for the spot. They also lost a tenor drummer, and for a moment I was deluded enough to think I could get that spot. But you don't just walk into a position like that six weeks before the first shows.

I think the person I was replacing may have been the low man in the section, because the parts were mostly not extremely difficult. I had a fast lick on the vibes in the opener, and some big, exposed concert tom parts in a fast piece called The Hut; the rest was mainly sound disks (tuned crotales), gong, concert snare drum, and bass drum. I did get to play the Garden Weasel, sort of a legendary SCV garden implement turned musical instrument, as well as destroy a very expensive 36" Paiste gong, several mallets, and nearly my wrist on the closer, The Great Gate of Kiev, from Prokofiev's Pictures At An Exhibition. One day early in the season Ralph rehearsed that part of the show— which we were playing with great taste and decorum, like good classical percussion students— he continually demanded more and more volume, until I was putting my whole body weight into these gong notes. That earned me a close up on the television broadcast of the DCI World Championships— I think a few veteran members were jealous of that.

The experience of being in the group was different from what I was expecting, based on the SCV alumni I knew; they were all music majors— Tony Cirone or Charles Dowd students— or music professionals, and I shared a lot more in common with them than I did with many members who were not on that path. There was a little bit of culture shock, me being the northwest, little-corps, hippie-schooled, ultra-left wing, transitioning-into-being-a-jazz-musician guy that I was. Overall it was a good experience; Ralph Hardimon I think is one of very few real artists involved in drum corps— he writes music— and I was very fortunate to get to be in one of his groups. Talking to my friend Nathan Beck, who I marched with previously, and who stuck around SCV after me, getting to work with Ralph was really our whole interest in continuing in the activity after high school.

Here's a recording of the show:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Page o' coordination: straight 8th 7/4

More 7! This is a collection of exercises based on a pattern not unlike some of our old Elvin waltz patterns, for use with a new sampled practice loop that will be forthcoming today or tomorrow. The idea is to play these with straight 8th notes, but you can swing them, too— just turn the beats with 16th notes into triplets, in whatever way makes sense to you.

Do the left hand tom moves— they're a value-multiplier. Play through an exercise a few times as written, then play it many more times with each of the moves. Loop coming soon.

Get the pdf

Monday, August 24, 2015

Transcription: Roy Haynes intro

You know what, I still owe you a BOOK OF INTROS. The thing has been languishing a few short hours from completion for quite a few months now. Perhaps me drawing attention to that fact, as I'm doing here, will help me get off my butt and get it done... stay tuned...

In the mean time, here is an intro played by Roy Haynes on a cool hard bop tune, G.W., from Eric Dolphy's first album as leader, Outward Bound. That's a very in-your-face Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Jaki Byard on piano.

The entire passage is played at a fairly uniform, strong volume. The Xs on the snare drum line are played as stick shots. The last two measures are the beginning of the tune, and are approximations— there may be a little more going on than I've written. The 8th notes have a legato swing— don't play an exaggeratedly triplety swing feel— even the 8ths out a bit.

Get the pdf

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tech-boosting NYT writer beat up

For starters, I don't believe anyone was
predicting an actual apocalypse... 
UPDATE: More links at the end! Lots of people talking about this article. 

STILL MORE UPDATES: This thing is a hit. Will Buckley at Fareplay comments, in a piece called The Creative Meltdown That Is, author Steven Johnson writes a follow-up to his original article, gets comments from Marc Ribot and T. Bone Burnett! Excerpts at the end of the post.

Robert Levine at Billboard responds!  

Also see the comments of my Internet media piece for an ongoing discussion of the issues involved here, between me and an anonymous, pro-piracy/libertarian[?] reader. 

A little follow-up to do with one aspect of my Internet media piece of a few days ago: a New York Times Magazine article, The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn't, by Steven Johnson, has been making the rounds lately. In it Johnson makes a case, based on very broad categories of statistics, that all the bad effects of Internet 2.0 media on artists' livelihoods, which artists say are happening, are not happening. Or are offset by good things.

I said this about it in the comments of my Internet media piece, where someone left a link for it:

Interesting article. We'll put him in the camp of writers boosting the idea that recorded music is now worth nothing (ignoring that a lot of people are making money off of it), and there's nothing anyone can do about it. The article is not a scientific study, it's one writer's opinion, based on very broad categories of statistics— which it seems to me would be prone to distortion because of the vast amount of money concentrated at the top, say, 1% of the business. His conclusion “Consumers spend less for recorded music, but more for live.” is indicative of that— if revenues for middle class musicians fall off a cliff, well, hey, U2 is getting $500 a ticket, so that makes up for it. I don't see his conclusions borne out in the lives of the musicians I know, and clearly a lot of artists have been alarmed about the way things are going. 

Similar questions and criticisms are now being raised by more able reporters than I. Jonathan Taplan, an artists' rights firebrand, calls it “one of the most brain dead pieces that the New York Times Magazine has ever published”, and says “Whenever the technology industry comes under criticism, they can always rely on the epic logroller Steven Johnson to roll out a book or article that 'proves' that everything you are observing is actually wrong.” He makes the same complaint as I do about the distortion of the statistics caused by the concentration of wealth at the top:

As we have pointed out before, the recorded music business is a winner take all business in which 80% of the revenue flows to 1% of the artists. So the fact that Beyonce and Jay Z are making more money today that in 2002 does not have anything to do with the lives of the average musician. If you average in the incomes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page, it looks like the median income is rising. Bullshit. 

Taplan is fun to read, but other writers go more in depth refuting Johnson's claims. Like Kevin Erickson at the Future of Music Coalition, in The Data Journalism That Wasn't. It begins:

Steven Johnson’s article “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t” frames itself as a data-driven response to concerns about the plight of creative workers in the digital age. But Johnson’s grasp of the limitations of the data he cites seems tenuous, and he ends up relying on some very dubious and all-too-familiar assumptions. In its sweeping dismissal of artists’ various concerns, the article reads as an exercise in gaslighting.

The piece is so detailed that it's difficult to summarize— do go read that whole thing. I promise you will encounter Johnson's arguments again. Erickson concludes:

The debate today [is]... not just about whether art will make money, but whose art, what kind of art, and how much of the money generated by art ends up with artists, and what they’ll have to endure to get it. It’s about how much agency artists get in defining the terms of the digital landscape. It’s coming from artists who hated Napster passionately and artists who really had no problem with unauthorized file sharing. It’s coming from artists who’ve recorded for major labels, indie labels, or no label at all. 
Let us be clear: our problem with Johnson’s article isn’t that he fails to conform to some doom-and-gloom scenario for artists working today. Indeed, there are a lot of new opportunities for artists, and those opportunities are worth celebrating. Most frustrating to us is that Johnson reinforces a false binary between pro-technology optimistic futurism and anti-technology digital pessimism. And that simply doesn’t describe the state of the contemporary debate about art and the digital age. 
If you want to know how musicians are faring, you have to ask musicians, preferably a whole lot of them. You’ll get different answers from different musicians, and they’ll all be correct in terms of their own experiences. But your overall understanding will better reflect the complexity of the landscape. 

More after the break:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Groove o' the day: Zigaboo Modeliste — Keep On Marching

Here's a funky Second Line groove from Zigaboo Modeliste, on the song Keep On Marching, from the Meters album Good Old Funky Music.

Play the open hihat strongly— it helps if you have some pretty light hihats, as Modeliste does. On the downbeat of beat 3, he plays the hihat both with his hand and with his foot, or sometimes just with his foot— the sound is a little different, and accents that note a little bit.

Here's what he plays in the first measure of the recording, which you can use as a fill. The tenuto mark on the & of beat 3 indicates a half-open hihat.

The track:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gratuitous Whiplash gif o' the day: double time swing-off!

Remember, it took a couple of hours of movie-reality time to declare this guy the loser.

Feel free to share it, with a link.

In which I call BS on Internet media

Cheaper than everything but outright piracy
Internet era music consumership reminds me of this passage from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas:

The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug-collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

Like, everyone is sitting on mountains of free and illicit stuff they're never going to have the time to use, but they've gathered it because they can. Following are some thoughts on what this means to professional musicians, and the economy of our business:

Internet music is infinite, you are finite.
Wonderful, you have a couple of terabytes of music you got for free, and unlimited streaming of all the music in the world, for free or for a pittance. You're still one individual linear consciousness with 16-18 waking hours in a day, with a limited amount of time available for serious, focused listening. Professionals are focused listeners. You don't need all that, and you're never going to use it.

Streaming is not acceptable for professional musicians.
I don't care if you can pull up the entire Red Garland catalog instantly for no money on Spotify, you have to have a library. You can't have your library existing on a server somewhere, at the pleasure of whatever streaming service, who can change the rules any time they want, as can their licensors. If you've used Netflix streaming, you are aware that movies are pulled from circulation seemingly at random— either Netflix decided not to offer them any more, or a licensor pulled them, or a contract expired or fell through. An author who doesn't own any books, who just uses a Kindle, would be deeply suspect. You're supposed to be a serious musician, which means your studio is full of music stuff.

You have to pay. And you have to pay the right people. And as much as possible, that should be local people. Yes, you are a poor artist doing God's work by dedicating your life to music, but there is a cost of admission. And that cost is all your money during your youth— other than what you spend on food, beer, rudimentary body-coverings. You can put that money into your local economy, where it will get into the hands of people who may come to your shows, and talk about you, and it will mean something because you have a thriving local music scene, because you put your money into it... and so on. Or you can send your money, never to be seen again in your community, directly to some people in Sweden, or Seattle, or Denmark, or Silicone Valley— who may know/care jack squat about music, but who wrote some computer code. Meanwhile your local scene has starved to death, because the myriad small transactions that are its lifeblood have dried up— the people who used to have music-related jobs are all doing something else for a living, and don't have time hear music or talk to much of anyone any more.

Music costs money, but it doesn't cost that much money. I don't care how broke you are, you can afford all the CDs you will have time to listen to seriously. I bought a used LP of Nefertiti in 1983 for $3, and then this new CD of it in 2015 for $5. That's a pretty small price for something you're going to listen to for the rest of your life. A record store I frequent has hundreds of scuffed copies of great, essential CDs for $2-4 each. With the massive CD reissuing of the entire modern history of jazz over the last 25 years, you'll find just about everything you want sooner or later, if you adopt the scavenging, record store-loitering habits we all used to have.

What's really going on, part 1: selling at a loss to starve the competition 
What companies like Spotify are trying to do is drive the cost of recorded music down to near zero, to drive everyone else out of business, at which point they can charge you whatever they want. And their advertising revenue will skyrocket— you'll be paying to be advertised to, just like with cable TV. Which, if you haven't noticed, sucks. The clearest evidence of this is that, as successful as Spotify and Pandora have been, they are not making money. They're just trying to hold out selling music wildly below cost— they're undercharging the public, and underpaying artists— until everyone else dies.

What's really going on, part 2: no, spend all of your money on hardware!
Companies like Apple— which was always a hardware company— want media to be free, so you can spend all your money on their newest techno-bauble device every eight months. And, transfixed as everyone is by that little touch screen, they're doing it. Finding myself with time to kill in a shopping mall recently, I could not find a book or record store, but there was a bustling Apple store, full of diffused white light, and a lot of excited, energized people for whom this was clearly the best day of their year; when they can finally get a NEW DEVICE, which temporarily satisfies some non-specific desire to see MORE DAZZLING THINGS appear on the micro-fairyland of the touch screen.

The point here is not to demand that we go back to the golden age of my teenage years, when everything was great; it's to be thinking about what our real needs are as professional musicians; and to illustrate how the current thing is at odds with what serious musicians have always done; and to be thinking about economy of the business we're in, and about how we participate in it in a way that serves our interests. In these discussions people will say, as if on cue,  what tech companies are doing now = the future, and to be opposed to those companies means just absurdly trying to turn back the clock. That's untrue. These companies are just the latest iteration of a long history of self-interested people trying to grab other people's money. Some of them are making the world a better place, some of them are outright evil, none of them were anointed by God almighty to be the guaranteed future of everything.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hot takes: 49 Styles Every Drummer MUST KNOW!!!

Not a cha cha. Not anything.
Note: The random Internet-sourced written example to the left is included for comedic purposes only. Do not learn. Groove not good. 

I was flipping through an old copy of Drum! Magazine (issue 215, May, 2014), and saw this article: 49 Styles Every Drummer Must Know. It's a subject I wanted to talk about, and if someone else has already done most of the work, all the better. It's a decent piece, but maybe it's not actually possible to cover the subject adequately in a single magazine article. That's fine. What I'll do is just give one garden-variety professional's opinion about the styles listed, and their importance for a working drummer as I see it. I'm not going to print out the grooves from the article, but I'll try to give some kind of link or book reference. It's better to listen and copy than it is to just read a one-measure beat out of the magazine and leave it at that. There are a lot of these, so I'll do the quickest takes possible: 

Immediately you realize that, no, you can't really communicate a style in one paragraph and a single, one-measure groove example. My book Playing Samba and Bossa Nova I think is about the shortest practical introduction possible for a major style, of which samba is one.

I don't know why he sandwiched this Cuban groove in between two Brazilian grooves. Cuba != Brazil. This is a major drumming genre, and a demanding one at that, and everyone should spend a good amount of time with it. The language applies to a variety of Cuban/Salsa styles, as well as north American quasi-Latin styles.

Bossa Nova
If you do gigs with jazz musicians, you will play a lot of bossa novas, and you have to have some kind of personal relationship to this music to make it not suck for everyone. My samba/bossa nova field manual is highly recommended. Highly recommended.

Everything I know about reggae I learned from the Peter Tosh album Equal Rights, and a handful of other things. If I was going to get serious about this music, I'd be doing it on a 70s model, working on getting together the sound of my drums, my old school one-drop, and my lead-ins. In more modern playing, you can almost just play straight pop/funk stuff, and let the context make it be reggae. You do have to do some listening, though. It's been awhile since I've done a straight bar band gig, so I don't know how often this comes up these days.

Everything I know about ska I learned from one record, which I love: I Just Can't Stop It by The English Beat. I'm going to honor the great Everett Morton by just trying to play like him on the rare occasion that a ska tune comes up.

He's not referencing the Cuban style, but basically a rock & roll rhumba— a Latin-flavored groove played on the drums, with a ruff leading into beat 2, and a tom tom on 4&; with that information and by listening to a couple of recordings, you can come up with your own way of playing the feel. Usually I spell this north American style: “rhumba”, and save the “rumba” spelling for actual Cuban music.

Cha Cha
This is a basic, essential Cuban/Salsa style that applies to a few different genres. I'm mostly called upon to play it as kind of an old fashioned ballroom thing, and also with a Latin show band. It has a straighter 4 feel than other Cuban styles, with quarter notes played on a high-pitched cowbell, and the clave rhythm somewhat deemphasized. Keith Copeland's cha cha groove is very handy for most of my purposes.

Never had to play this style, but if you get a job on a Caribbean ship, you might want to download Arrow's song Hot Hot Hot, copy the beat, and play along with it.

Many more of these after the break:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Daily best music in the world: Roy Haynes Hip Ensemble

This is a nearly forgotten early fusion project by Roy Haynes: Roy Haynes Hip Ensemble. I read about the group in the Jack Dejohnette/Charlie Perry book, and was lucky enough to find a banged up used copy of the album at House Of Records in Eugene when I was in school.

Scott K. Fish says Roy was playing Ludwig Vistalites at this point. He's playing a flat ride, too, which may or may not be the famous cymbal from Chick Corea's Now He Sings, Now He Sobs— I thought he gave that cymbal to Chick after the recording. There's an ongoing conversation about that here.

A couple of more tracks from this album after the break.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stick Control exercises in 7/8

I was going to try to spread these 7/8 things out a little more, but I've been so occupied with other stuff— like, I'm getting married in a couple of weeks— I'm getting a little desperate to put something, anything up. And I happen to be working on this a lot right now. Between all of these several other pages on this, we should all fairly well have our stuff together for blowing in 7/8 in pretty short order.

Use these just like Stick Control— I play them on the snare drum for one minute each. To move them to the drum set, play your right hand on the cymbal or hihat, left hand on the snare drum, and play the bass drum with some or all of the cymbal notes. Move your left hand around the drums using our same old tom moves, if you'd like— that's a value-multiplier for anything you do on the drumset, actually.

Get the pdf

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Practice loop: fast 7

At long last, here's that practice loop to go with all the stuff in 7 I've been posting of late. This is sampled from the tune Solitaire, from John Zorn's album O'o, which you should own. Joey Baron is on drums, and has a pretty killing solo on this tune. If you rip an mp3 from the video, using one of those barely-legal web browser extensions, and move it to your mp3 player, the track will loop cleanly— you can play along with this all day, if you want.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

RLF pattern in 7/8!!!

UPDATE: I made a couple of small changes which I found helpful in practicing the patterns— in the first set of exercises there are some optional notes in parentheses, and I've changed line 6. I've also posted the practice loop. Get the new pdf here.

People, we've got a series going here— several pages aimed at getting basic vocabulary together for an up tempo 7/8— specifically, Solitaire, from John Zorn's album O'o. It's not usually that challenging an odd meter, but this tempo makes it not-easy in a couple of ways. Don't take this attention we're lavishing upon it to mean that I think this is a really important subject; but if you're playing a lot of modern music, someone's probably going to hit you with a fast 7/8, sometime. Maybe. Today we're looking at staying oriented playing the super-useful, super-familiar 3/8 pattern RLF:

The goal here is just to be able to improvise with this 3/8 pattern in 7/8 without getting lost— it won't be a technical challenge; everyone can play RLF at the speed required. You really need a point of reference, so it's best to play this page along with the practice loop, or with a metronome that can give you a dotted-quarter/quarter/quarter note rhythm.

The method here is very straightforward— just repeat each pattern many times, listening closely to the loop/click. You can your hands around the drums as you like. Also play these with the measures reversed, as well— it's easy to feel the two measures of 7/8 as one measure of 7/4, with a riff of 1-2-3--&-&-&--, which obviously can put the second measure on slightly odd footing.

Get the pdf

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Getting around the drums: the ultra basics

A quick little page of stuff on getting around the drums with one hand, and both hands. In the first part I've basically written out the collection of tom moves we use with the Pages o' Coordination, including the Stick Control-derived method. With that method, you use the Rs and Ls in the book patterns to indicate one drum or another. So if you're calling the R the low tom, and the L the high tom, a patter of RRLL would have you play low-low-high-high. Or if you call them snare and low tom, respectively, you would play snare-snare-low-low. Take a look at the examples on the page, divine the principle, and apply it.

On the bottom half of the page we've got patterns for getting around the drums when playing two or three notes per drum. As you'll see from attempting the patterns labeled “awkward”, to get around smoothly you need to be strategic in how you do your moves.

Play the one-handed exercises many times, with either hand. You can apply the same moves to the left hand part of any pattern at all— just play one note (or one double) on each drum, as indicated in the patterns on this page. Play the two-handed patterns with an alternating sticking, starting with the right hand— if you start them with the left, they mostly won't work.

If you want to add the feet, you can play quarter notes or half notes with the left foot, or use any ostinato you want.

Get the pdf


This is from an interview by Jake Feinberg in Tucson, who you should be following— he's interviewed a lot of great people:

“I've been a sideman in a lot of different bands. The only time I ever took instructions was when I was a studio shark in London. The producer of the record would come in and say, 'I want this kind of sound; I want an edgier sound; I want this, I want that.' They've given instructions right, left, and center.

The only instructions Miles Davis ever gave me were, 'play it like you don't know how to play the guitar.' It's not something you can logically understand. To me Miles was a very advanced human being—a Zen Master. I'm standing with this piece of music, and he totally threw me out of my normal state of mind. I had no idea what I was doing when I was playing after that request. And yet Miles loved it. That was the 'In A Silent Way' recording. I can tell you that I had no idea what I was doing until I heard the playback.

Which is the way you should be when you play music. You cannot be in an ordinary state of mind.
You have to be kind of inspired. You have to have some kind of joy—some kind of exultation. You need basically what's inside everybody, but in music we have to be able to bring it out.

I remember we were in the middle of a session and he wasn't happy. He stops the band and walks over to Jack DeJohnette. He said, 'Jack: ba........Ba.......boom.....Ba....Ba...ok?' Now what do you make of that? Jack says, 'ok Miles,' and his playing changed dramatically from that point. He just cut right loose; he freed right up. That's the genius of Miles. Never ever would he speak about reading or guiding—you had to watch him, and see what he was doing, and how he was doing it. It's as important to know what you don't want as it is what you do. I learned just being with him as a sideman.

'Bitches Brew' is a classic example, in my candid opinion. Miles didn't know what he wanted. All of BB he didn't know what he wanted. But he knew very well what he did not want. So that left the door open for all kinds of opportunity.

My first gig with Miles was a lesson of humility in my life. We finished the first set and I thought he played like a god. We're sitting in the locker room, and he comes over to me and says, 'aw John, I didn't play shit.' He's apologizing to me, and I'm just the young guy who joined the band. I'm this young white guy from Europe. I thought he played like a god. He came over to me, and he didn't need to say that to me. That's how sincere he was. That's how dedicated he was. He knew I loved him. I admired him back 12 years prior to meeting him. He could feel that, and in a way he wanted to live up to my expectations of him. He was brutally critical of himself. He was critical of everybody but he was critical most of all of himself. That's the beautiful thing, and that's what made him great. He was not just a great musician—he was a great artist. New conceptions, directions, and forms—I got lucky. I got to play with one of the great masters of that era. Just being there and hanging out with him, I was picking up all the time: how to do it—how to see things. When you see things through his eyes, you see things differently. When you hear things through his ears, you hear things differently.”

—Guitarist John McLaughlin on Miles Davis, interviewed by Jake Feinberg