Thursday, February 28, 2019

Mingus riffs

A quick little transcription project, before I get into making a lot of cymbal videos. These are the rhythms for the horn riffs on some Charles Mingus tunes. A riff is a repeating background figure, usually played behind a soloist— an essential ingredient in large ensemble jazz arranging.

In jazz drumming we're accustomed to playing off of tune structures, or playing off of the soloist, or playing a drum groove, e.g. the Philly Joe beat; this is another way of thinking about your comping. We're looking to develop riff consciousness here. Listen to the tunes, play the rhythms as an independent part, along with a jazz time feel, on the snare drum, bass drum, or both. Several of these emphasize the 1 more than we typically want in drumming— handle that with care. You don't have to play as fast as the original tunes.

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