Sunday, August 26, 2018

Stick control patterns in 9/8

Oh, fine: here are some stick control patterns in 9/8, for practicing with the Bill Frisell loop from the other day:

You can scour these posts for ways of applying these patterns to the drum set. Or play them with brushes on the snare drum with a basic waltz rhythm in the feet, or just with the bass drum on 1 every  two measures— try to cop some of the articulations Joey Baron plays on the recording.

Get the pdf

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Practice loop in 3: Where In The World

Another practice loop sampled from one of my favorite albums by anyone, ever: Where In The World by Bill Frisell. The band is Frisell, Kermit Driscoll, Mark Dresser and Joey Baron. Produced by Wayne Horvitz. The picture is by the great cinematographer Robby Müller, who died a few weeks ago; it's a still from the Wim Wenders movie The American Friend.

It's in 9/8, meaning what? It's a triplet feel in 3. So you can do all of your jazz waltz stuff (very slow tempo for that), my Chaffee-style linear phrases in 3, my Afro POCs in 9/8, or adapt the well known Stone sticking patterns into 9/8 somehow and do the drum set orchestrations with them.

Best option: Get my Syncopation in 3/4 e-book and do the various triplet practice methods with it.

Tempo is dotted quarter note = 97 bpm.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Groove o' the day: Evolution of Songo - 03

Here's the promised transcription from the previous entry in this Evolution of Songo series— the breakdown from Pero a Mi Manera by Los Van Van, with Changuito playing the drums. For most of the tune he plays the transcribed groove from the last post; during this breakdown he plays something very much like the modern Songo pattern most of us are familiar with. The transcription begins at 2:19 in the track:

The right hand part is played on a catá, but you can substitute a jam block or hihat; left hand part is played as rim clicks on the snare drum. In the third measure the rhythm is played with a rather triplified interpretation— the left hand part has a strong pull towards an inverted quarter note triplet rhythm. As you've probably noticed from the previous Songo posts, the 16th note rhythms have a legato, triplet-like feel overall, that is similar to the Brazilian swing interpretation we discussed a few years ago. In the 8th measure there's a 32nd note/dotted-16th note rhythm; it's sort of an inverted flam, with the first note landing on the beat.

Get the pdf

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

All about rolls

Some examples.
This is more or less the complete practical theory of drum rolls as I know it, as gleaned from about 38 years as a student, player, and teacher in a community of professionals associated with the University of Oregon and San Jose State University percussion departments, and with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. I'm going to refrain from using any notated examples; maybe I'll expand this post into an e-book I'll flesh it out with examples and exercises.

Basic definition
In drumming terminology a roll is a long tone, played by hitting the instrument multiple times for the duration of the written note— or for the intended duration of the note, if we're talking about an improvised or non-notated part. It's supposed to sound like a long tone, not a rhythm; the texture may vary, but to be called a roll it has to be perceived as a long tone.

In some older, rudimental usage I get the impression that it's intended to mean any steady rhythm at all using a hand-to-hand motion. That's an archaic usage, and I consider it wrong today.


Played with alternating strokes, one note per hand. The standard way to roll on cymbals, timpani, concert bass drum, mallet instruments, woodblock, and other percussion instruments. On percussion instruments it must be played fast enough for the resonance of the instrument to blend the individual strokes together to make a long tone; so more resonant instruments like concert bass drum, larger timpani, suspended cymbal or vibraphone may call for a slower roll speed, and drier sounding instruments like wood block, xylophone, or smaller timpani will call for a faster roll speed. On drumset the term is generally used to mean fast alternating strokes on the drums, without the strokes necessarily blending together

Also called a double-stroke roll, it's played with alternating strokes, two notes per hand. Machine gun-like, standard for rudimental drumming, and modern drumset for soloing, filling, hihat embellishments, and brushes.

Also called a multiple-bounce roll, orchestral roll, or buzz roll.  Played with alternating strokes, with multiple notes per hand, overlapping to make a continuous tone. Smooth-textured, standard for concert snare drum in all settings, and on drumset.

This meanings of open and closed are different from what they were in the past; traditionally they seem to have meant slow and fast— I believe that's a reflection of how military drumming was taught in the 19th century; it's archaic and has little to do with current musical reality.

Other types
The so-called “one handed” roll is really a drumming trick, and doesn't have any standard musical application on the snare drum or drum set; it's strictly for show. Some percussion instruments may use a one handed roll played by alternating between two surfaces of the instrument, like in the corner of a triangle or the mouth of a cowbell; there is a similar one-handed brush technique for snare drum using a rapid back-and-forth motion— functionally that is a roll, though I never hear it called that. Cymbal rolls can be attempted one-handed with a mallet if the other hand is occupied.

Three-stroke rolls are a type of open roll with alternating strokes, three notes per hand, usually in a sixtuplet rhythm. Strictly a modern rudimental thing, and not normally used in any other playing; drumset players with drum corps background sometimes use it in soloing as a sort of technical display. I find it to be musically uninteresting and useless.

Construction and notation

Ties, releases, taps, and accents
Usually a roll consists of the roll note itself, tied to a single note release. Rolls written without a tie end without a release, with a little space between the body of the roll and the following note. In Stick Control, George Stone presents untied rolls as ending with an unaccented tap before the next written note (exercises 13-24 on pages 11 and 12 illustrate this). Often rudimental rolls will start with an accented tap at the beginning. Orchestral rolls written with an accent, a fp, or an sfz will have the first, or first two, multiple-bounce strokes accented. In soloing on the drumset, some players will accent multiple-bounce strokes during the body of the roll.

There are two rhythm components of any roll: the written (or intended) duration of the roll itself, and the pulsation speed— the rate of hand motion— to make the roll. The rate of pulsation is determined by the tempo of the piece, and the instrument on which the roll is being performed; it has to be fast enough to make a smooth long tone on that instrument. Often it's assumed to be 16th notes, but depending on the tempo it may be sixtuplets, 8th note triplets, 8th notes, 32nd notes, quintuplets, or septuplets. Pages 38-46 in Stick Control are designed for developing rolls at different tempos, with different pulsation rates.

The current American standard notation assumes all rolls are 32nd notes. It's beyond the scope of this post to explain it in detail, but that's what those familiar roll-indicating slashes connote. Three slashes are used with whole, half and quarter note duration rolls; two slashes are used on 8th note duration rolls, and a single slash is used for single 16th note drags. The three slashes— or one beam + two slashes, or two beams + one slash— indicate the three beams used in notating 32nd notes. They're an abbreviation saying “play this note value for the duration of the note the slashes are adorning.”

It's bastard notation, because if the roll were literally played as 32nd notes, it would not be necessary to have a tie. The only time rolls are actually meant to be played as 32nd notes is when they're in open, rudimental form— but the tie is still used in that setting. Otherwise, what is meant by the notation is to play as many roll strokes as are needed to make the roll sound like a long tone.

A European convention is to notate rolls as a tremolo, with or without ties as in standard American notation.

Note: the PAS graphic at the top of the page distinguishes open rolls from buzz rolls by using the slash notation for open, and an italic Z for buzz; this is not standard throughout the drumming literature. The only place I've seen that to be the case is in marching percussion. In most standard literature, the slash or tremolo notation is used, and as a performer you are expected to know the right kind of roll to use for that setting— almost always either multiple-bounce, or single stroke, again, depending on the instrument.


A drag is a single double stroke or multiple-bounce stroke. It can be a component of a ruff, or it can be played by itself in the middle of a run of notes— typically 16th notes or triplets, typically in a rudimental or drumset setting. There is also a specific rudiment called a drag, the definition of which actually varies, depending on who you talk to— I'm using it generically, not attached to a specific pattern.

There are probably a number of rudimental people who would use this term only in association with the actual formal rudimental pattern, who would consider my definition above to be wrong. But that was a common usage of the word by the corps people I learned from, who were all in the 70s-80s Santa Clara Vanguard orbit— SCV instructors, or former members who became instructors.

Technically not a roll, but it's in the roll family. In modern usage it's a short, unmetered, multiple-bounce stroke adorning a tap; or three unmetered single-stroke grace notes adorning a tap. There is some contention online about ruff terminology, and how they're executed, but I have no interest in that. Again, I learned this from Charles Dowd, who learned it from Tony Cirone and Saul Goodman, and that to me is authoritative.

Numbered-stroke rolls
Rolls with the familiar names 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17-stroke. The names refer to a hand motion, counted as two notes per roll stroke plus one note for the release. With multiple bounce rolls, the name will not reflect the actual number of notes played: an orchestral 5 stroke roll is played with two multiple bounce strokes and a release, so you're not literally playing five notes.

There are also 6, 8, and 10 stroke rolls that typically have two taps: at the beginning and end, or both at the beginning or end. The terminology is not perfectly scientific, because there are versions of the odd number-named rolls that start with a tap and end with a tap, yet both taps are not counted in the name of those rolls. It may have to do with how they were used in traditional rudimental drumming— rudiments were not just patterns in the abstract, they were formalized pieces of verbatim musical content.

For what it's worth, the only numbered terms I personally ever use are 5, 6, 7, and 9. For longer rolls than that, I think of them only in terms of their duration and pulsation rate.

Long roll
A long roll is any roll longer than the ones for which we have numbered names.

So, that's a fairly exhaustive overview of my roll knowledge, at least as far as verbal information is concerned. Some people's textbook definitions will certainly differ from mine. For further study, I'll write a roll studies bibliography and post it another time. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Grooves o' the day: Joe Chambers - Caribbean Fire Dance

Here are some Latin jazz grooves played by Joe Chambers on Caribbean Fire Dance, from Joe Henderson's album Mode For Joe. This is late phase hard bop. Chambers plays a solo on this that gets as loud as anything Art Blakey ever did— and he could play loud. That transcribed solo is coming later in the week.

I've written out the main A section groove, including the entire second A section from the tenor solo (starting at 1:00 in the track), so you can see how he varies it and moves it around the drums; then the B section groove, and a third groove Chambers starts at the end of the trumpet solo, and plays through the trombone solo.

I noted some similarity of the first groove to Vernel Fournier's famous Poinciana groove, and the last groove is somewhat similar to a Mozambique rhythm, and I was curious about where Chambers picked them up, what his process was for developing them, and it occurred to me: he's still around— you can actually ask him about that if you want to know. So I found his email and wrote him a note about it— I don't know if he'll have the time or inclination to get back to me. But that never occurs to me. I always assume these guys are gods who don't inhabit the same plane of reality as me. And I've seen half the guys on this record play a bunch of times.

Play this with the snares off. There's generally a 2 feel happening, with the hihat is played on the 1 and 3 fairly consistently. There isn't a lot going on with the bass drum; he often accents the 1 strongly with it, and during the trumpet solo he goes into sort of a half time samba feel with it.

Get the pdf


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Site news: videos, cymbals


One thing: We're doing videos. I'm gearing up for that right now. That's what all of that camera jazz was about. I'm going to have to figure out a way to do it in keeping with this site's “thing.” I like very few drumming videos I see online— there's a lot of bad information, pointless gabbing, and time-wasting happening there. I'm not going to do “lessons” where I show people who can't read music how to do things by rote, and I'm not going to slime-blast you with site branding BS. We'll probably start with some videos of me playing site materials, and demonstrating things there's no easy way to write about, and see what develops.

Photo courtesy Revival Drum Shop
The other thing: I'm talking to Cymbal & Gong about selling cymbals through the site. We're not sure what that will look like yet; ideally I'd like to hand select cymbals and make videos of them for you to buy, most likely on a limited time basis. Or I could take requests to hand select cymbals. I'd like to make a personalized thing out of it, but we'll see what we can come up with.

If you don't know about this brand yet: they make traditional hand-hammered, K-type cymbals, and old-school A-types. They're designed and beautifully finished by a guy in Portland, and crafted by a group of artist cymbal smiths in Turkey. I think they're some of the best things available. You've seen me rave about my 17" Holy Grail crash— how special does a 17" crash have to be to drive somebody like me out of my mind over it? Everyone else I know who has gotten to play them— expert players who have played a lot of cymbals and are picky about their instrument— has loved them. I've got a full set of them and I basically never leave the house with anything else now. No reason to.

Please comment or email if that's something you would seriously be interested in— like, if you can conceive of actually buying a cymbal off the site on my recommendation, if you heard something you liked. Prices are competitive with other hand made Turkish cymbals.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Three Camps syncopated - 01

Yet another variation on the traditional snare drum piece Three Camps, adding a simple syncopation on the third beat of the first, second, and fourth measures of each phrase. It's kind of hip:

Memorize this and throw the page away. Play it as written, and as triplet rolls (with doubles on the unaccented notes), and with the 16th note RLLR-LRRL sticking at that link. And practice it starting with the left hand.

BONUS which I didn't bother writing up. Maybe another time. Use these stickings— they cover everything that happens in the exercise:

Third measure: RLL RLL RLL RLL
First measure, second camp: RLL RLL RRL RRL
First measure, third camp: RLL RRL RRL RRL 

Get the pdf

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Triplets vs. not-triplets

This is a pretty fine point of theory, but it comes up a lot on this site, so I want to state my thinking about it, so I can link to it every time it comes up, and keep any lurking pedants off my back. People for whom music theory is a social weapon and not a practical tool. You know the type.

Basically, I'm freer in my use of the word triplet than are many other people with a college education. I want to explain what's up with that, and clarify some things about this whole area of rhythm and meter.

So, a definition: 

A triplet is a rhythm of three notes played in the space of two notes of the same value. For example, an 8th note triplet is three 8ths played in the space of two 8ths, indicated by that numeral written above the notes. In music theory class, that and only that is correctly called a triplet. It has to be artificial to the time signature; a temporary three note subdivision in a piece written with mainly a standard, straight-8th, two-note subdivision.

Three-note subdivision of the beat: triplets

With compound meters (most meters with an 8 in the bottom number), a three-note/ternary subdivision is implied. It's native to the meter, so the rhythm above notated in 6/8 would not be triplets:

Also a three-note subdivision of the beat: not triplets

Those are just 8th notes. If I say 8th notes and the meter is 6/8, it means those triplet-looking things that sound exactly like triplets. Which is confusing to some people, because they are often not real comfortable with compound meters; in their mind 8th notes = those march-sounding 1&2&3&4& things, and these triplet-sounding 8th notes in 6/8 seem to be an entirely different creature.

Where I get into terminology trouble: 

Because I teach and write, I need to talk about individual beats and partial beats of this rhythm often, and the easiest, shortest, most understandable word for that is triplet. So I say triplet in that context. Middle note of the triplet. Last two notes of the triplet. In some contexts it's easier for the students' understanding to say it that way.

Yes, that really is the entire point of this post. Sometimes I say triplet to talk about a single beat of rhythm with a three note subdivision even if it isn't really a real triplet. I also often say triplet feel— which just refers to anything in music that sounds like triplets, whether it “is” triplets or not.

It's actually not a hard and fast thing that terminology must be consistent with the meter of the piece. Jazz-educated musicians may say (or a chart may indicate) triplet feel, 6/8 feel or 12/8 feel regardless of the written meter, and people are always clarifying points of rhythm using terms of a different meter. Latin musicians refer to the 3 side of clave as the tresillo— which means triplet; another example. Even in written music, if a piece in 4/4 has a lot of running triplets in it, the copyist may stop putting the numeral 3 over every single beat, and make a notation that the continuing rhythm is still triplets, effectively changing the meter to 12/8.

It doesn't matter. The point is, practical musical communication is often not correct to the letter as defined by music theory. There is usually more than one correct answer for describing a piece of rhythm, and often different terms are necessary to describe it to different people in different contexts.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Groove o' the day: Evolution of Songo - 02

Here is the second groove from the Changuito history of Songo video; Changuito is the drummer for Los Van Van, and is a major innovator in Cuban drumming. The last entry covered a groove created by the previous drummer in that band, Blas Egües. As is explained in the video, this is the first type of groove Changuito developed out of that, that more resembles the Songo groove as it's commonly known in the United States.

This is played on woodblock (or bamboo catá/guagua— it's mislabeled as hihat below), snare drum (rim clicks), bass drum, and tom tom; the 2/3 rumba clave rhythm is included for reference:

These are some variations he plays while demonstrating the groove:

Discussion of this groove starts at 10:10:

Heres' a single by Los Van Van that uses this groove. There's a break after 2:15 with some improvisation— check back soon for a transcription of that. Other recordings of this tune use a different groove with a more pronounced snare drum part.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Cymbals for sale

I have to pay for that new camera, so I'm selling a few cymbals I haven't been using lately:

SOLD - 20" Paiste 602 Heavy (blue label)
SOLD - 20" Sabian Jack Dejohnette Signature Ride
20" A. Zildjian Medium-Heavy (60s vintage)
SOLD - 20" Paiste 602 Concert C1 suspended/ride (pre-serial)
SOLD - 16" Sabian AAX Dark Crash (brilliant finish)

Hit read more at the bottom of the page, or the following link to see the rest of them. I made videos for all of these. Follow the cymbal name links to the eBay auction if you're interested in buying.

Sabian 20" Jack Dejohnette Signature Ride - original 90s version

Original early 90s version. Unlathed, unhammered medium ride for that very dry Jack Dejohnette/Joey Baron/ECM sound. Great stick and bell sound; doesn't really crash, but excellent for accents with the shoulder of the stick. Good for recording, moderate volume acoustic gigs, and rehearsals. All styles of music.

Starting bid is $100, buy it now for $150

New Joel Rothman title

In the mail I just received a new book by Joel Rothman: Drumming Outside The Box - for Rock & Jazz. It's basically a library of patterns focused around creating an unbroken rhythm on the drumset, a la Bob Moses's non-independent method— an ECM-type feel. Also good for taking a jazz feel into a triplety, Afro 6-like feel. Or a Mike Clark or David Garibaldi type funk feel. Anything modern and quasi-linear.

The patterns are for two voices— nominally cymbal and snare drum, though you can play them with whatever limbs (or combinations of limbs) you want, adding feet, adding ostinatos— it's designed to be used creatively. Half the book deals with triplets in 4, 3, and 5; the other half covers 8th notes in the same meters, plus a few pages on 16th notes (I usually play 8th note exercises in 2/2, which is functionally the same thing— a four-note subdivision). The patterns usually don't have more than two notes in a row with a limb, so they're designed to be played fast and with minimal technique— a system I heartily approve of. Basically if you can play the first page, you can play the whole book; the focus is on gaining fluency. You're supposed to smoke through a lot of patterns working on this book.

There are other ways of practicing the basic concept of this book— Reed-based methods, Stone-based methods, my Funk/Figure Control system, which is derived from both of them— but sometimes you want to change gears and look at something different. Different sets of patterns written different ways sometimes help you come up with different things. I'm in favor of having a lot of materials around, and doing the same thing different ways.

40 pages. I don't see a price for it yet, but it's bound to be reasonably inexpensive. No reason not to grab it if you're working on this type of thing.

Get Drumming Outside The Box from Joel Rothman Publications

Get other Rothman titles from Amazon via the links below:

Monday, August 06, 2018

Funk drill tweak

This is a minor tweak to my standard funk drill using Ted Reed's Syncopation. It was played by mistake by one of my students (6th grader), but it sounded good so I decided to keep it and write it up.

Hit the link above if you need to review the basic method for this drill, using pp. 34-45 from Syncopation. Briefly, we're playing the top line, stems-up rhythms on the bass drum and snare drum and adding a cymbal rhythm. Play everything on the bass drum, except for the downbeat of beat 3, which you play on the snare. If there's a rest 3, or a held note, add a snare hit on 3. Add the cymbal rhythm of your choice; in the original post I used 8th notes; here I've written quarter notes. Just look at the examples below and figure it out, or email me for a skype lesson.

Today we'll make a two measure phrase out of it, playing the snare on 3 in the first measure, and on 4 in the second measure; again, if there's a rest or held note on 4, play the snare on 4 anyway. So line 1 from p. 34 would be played like this:

Line 2:

Line 3:

And the first two lines of the famous long exercise now on page 38 (p. 37 in old editions):

Would be played like this:

It seems like a small thing, but this gives the second measure a very different feel, more like a fill with the bass drum, with the snare drum suggesting double time at the end— Ndugu Leon Chancler does a similar thing at the end of many of his tom fills. Or just think of it as an easy way of getting into a more open, less backbeat focused kind of funk playing. If you're just getting your stuff together, I think you should be doing this drill every day until you can do it with the long exercises after page 38, with a variety of basic cymbal rhythms. Add this tweak into your routine somewhere. 

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Photographers are _kin' crazy

I needed to photograph some of my artwork (I'm a painter, too), and was looking at my old digital camera rig— a Nikon D40 digital SLR, which was a popular entry-level camera in the mid 2000s, and is now an embarrassing relic. I thought, hey, why not get a new camera? There must be newer used cameras that will be a giant improvement, that are still dirt cheap. How exciting!

So I start researching photo gear via the usual online resources, and... here's the deal: imagine the worst gearhead drummer in the world, then multiply that times 20. Then imagine they're daily users of some kind of theoretical next-generation hyper-crack cocaine created by the Swiss. They have access to unlimited quantities of that. Then imagine the technical details on which they fixate are one hundred times more numerous and obscure than anything to do with drums. Then mate that visualization with a swarm of homicidal spider monkeys on acid. That's photographers talking about gear.

Well, actual pros are like technical artists in any field, e.g. recording engineers— very detached, focused, low key individuals. There are others who are normal people doing people things, who do it seriously to document some other activity they're involved in. Others are just boring successful people taking up a prestige hobby where they can spend a lot of money. Everyone else with pretensions of being a serious photographer is, when talking about gear, totally insane. 

And then you have people on the internet, who are like I described above, except they were held in some unscrupulous lab where they were injected with the rage virus and released. Unleashed like that. So internet photo gear discussions are a cesspool of ego and untalent... neuroses, envy, pathological obsessiveness... with everyone on a personal mission to miss the entire point of life and art, and murder everyone else with camera statistics.

I may be overstating this by as much as 3%, but clearly many of these people would rather participate in this intricately byzantine game of technical specifications and performance-economic hypotheticals than actually take pictures. I'm convinced that a shocking percentage of them don't even own the cameras they're waging this Balkan-style bloodbath over.

At this point I was going to provide a joke litany of hyper-technical points of consideration forced upon you in researching this routine purchase. Instead just go read this review of the camera I ended up buying. Be forewarned that I did not dose you with any kind of powerful hallucinogen— everything you will see is actual text on the site, meant to aid you in choosing to buy this camera vs. another one.

Reading that nonsense you can see how sadistically the photo community is being _ked-with by the camera companies— whose mission is clearly to design the best gear possible, and release it to the public on an incremental schedule designed to wring the most money possible out of the new photo gear market. It's a game of advancement, obsolescence, and manipulation as exquisitely refined and complex as the cameras themselves.

Anyhoo, that's the background. I have to process all of that information and then find the sweet spot in the obsolescence curve where I can get a camera that is affordable, but not a complete joke. I want something capable of producing objectively excellent results, regardless of where the camera stands relative to current and near-future technology. There have been digital cameras capable of delivering professional results for many years now; that didn't change just because someone came up with something fancier. Still, it's nearly impossible to avoid getting sucked into the death whirlpool of ever-increasing features and spending more than you wanted to.

You have to remember that none of it matters. With my embarrassing prehistoric camera I could have made pictures that would have worked perfectly fine for my purposes. What matters is doing the project, taking the pictures. No matter what the camera, you still have to go out and figure out what to do with it. I use photography as an adjunct to my other creative work. At one point I did it as a kind of diarist (see any blog post prior to 2011). But I'm at a stage with it where I can't do it casually. And I pretty much loathe all other normal photography in the world. So I have to actually go out and make an effort to figure out what to shoot, and how, and why. In the meantime, I still need to photograph my paintings.

Epilogue: In the end I got a Nikon D7000 with an 18-200mm VRII zoom lens— the best semi-pro camera from 2010, and seemingly the second best actual bargain right now. The first best bargain is the successor to the same camera (D7100), which tends to cost a couple of hundred bucks more, with some improvements. The 18-200 is an all-in-one zoom that has been a popular item for about 10 years, and the internet people who hate everything don't violently loathe it, so it must be pretty good.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Groove o' the day: evolution of Songo - 01

First of a mini-series of Afro-Cuban grooves o' the day, transcribed from the history of Songo video below. Grooves are by Changuito, the percussionist who created the Songo drumming style playing with the Cuban band Los Van Van. This is an early version of the groove used by the band's first drummer Blas Egües in 1970.

The groove is played on snare drum (playing rim clicks), tom tom, bass drum, and wood block— here a jam block, originally a bamboo catá or guagua. I included 2/3 rumba clave for reference:

The discussion of this groove occurs starting at about 4:50 in the video:

Here's an early single by the band that appears to use this groove:

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Practice loop in 3/4: All Blues

Another practice loop in 3, to go with all of the recent jazz waltz stuff, sampled from the very famous tune All Blues, from the very famous album Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. The tempo is 139 bpm.


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Page o' coordination: jazz waltz with feet in unison - syncopated

I realized while running through these other recent jazz waltz POCs with the syncopated polyrhythmic thing in the feet, these things are kind of hard, actually! So I wrote up this page, that's a little easier, using a similar idea. The feet are in unison with each other, which I think is something we should all do more of. Be more non-independent. Ed Blackwell did a lot of that, as did John Guerin.

There are a ton of these POCs now, most of them covering the same little batch of vocabulary, in a slightly different way. We're trying to create more available options for when you go on the gig and wing it. I certainly never approach these things like I'm going to memorize them and then try to barf them up verbatim when I'm playing. 

I think you should play your left foot heel-down. You'll have more freedom, and you'll have a more relaxed, detached posture at the drums, which is good. You can splash all of the hihat notes, or just the last one, or just the first one. Just the middle one if you're a real weirdo. Do my left hand moves if you wish.

Get the pdf