Saturday, March 09, 2019

Groove o' the day: Hot Rod

Update: There is some dispute as to whether the drummer here is actually Idris Muhammad, which would not surprise me at all, because this is the kind of stuff he plays.

This is from a drummer I had never heard of: Tommy Derrick. Apparently his main gig was playing with the organist Reuben Wilson, who I never listened to. But he's great, and here he's playing a cool groove that is very relevant to a current topic of conversation— the 3:2 polyrhythm, or hemiola, in funk drumming. The tune is Hot Rod, from Wilson's album On Broadway, released in 1968.

In the first measure Derrick plays this— he doesn't actually play the hihat on beat 1, but I've added it to make a normal groove out of it:

For most of the tune he plays this:

Play that ghosted bass drum note very lightly, or omit it.

If we isolate what he does at the end of the measure, you can see he's doing the same pattern we've been using with the rub-a-dub:

And at the end of the first measure he's doing a three note pattern we know from Chaffee... and from everywhere else in the world, because it's a very fundamental drumset pattern, RLB:

This integrated three-limb thing is a very modern, drumset-istic way of playing; very different from the old way of stomping out a rhythm with your foot while playing a march on the snare drum. 

I'll put both of those ideas through the hemiola funk series treatment soon—hopefully refining that concept as I go, and eventually rewriting the entire mess. I'm shooting for some kind of unified theory for funk here.

Be sure to check out the entire tune— he has a cool way of playing fills, and he plays a lot of them:


Anonymous said...

Todd -- Are you sure this isn't Leo Morris , AKA Idris Muhammad ??? All the sites I have looked at said he was the drummer for this album.

Todd Bishop said...

Crap! It totally could be Idris. I don't own the record, but Wikipedia(!!!), Allmusic, and Discogs all credit Tommy Derrick. I would not be shocked if that was wrong, because it does sound like Idris.

Otto said...

Wanted to clear this up - Hot Rod is off of Love Bug, not On Broadway... the YouTube video switches between a few different Wilson Blue Note covers... definitely Idris on Love Bug

Todd Bishop said...

Thanks for the clarification Otto!