Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Daily best music in the world: Buck Hill

Here's a really nice 1978 recording of some 70s powerhouse bebop by Washington DC saxophonist Buck Hill. Wikipedia says about him:
Hill began playing professionally in 1943 but held a day job as a mailman in his birthplace of Washington, D.C. for over thirty years. He played with Charlie Byrd in 1958-59, but was only occasionally active during the 1960s. 

In the 70s, after age 50, he began recording as a leader. Here the rhythm section is Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, and Billy Hart— as a young man Hart actually knew Hill in Washington, and played with him. Hart says Hill gave him his first jazz records, a couple of Charlie Parker 78s.

There's nothing artificial about this:

Monday, August 03, 2020

CYMBALISTIC: 24"-ATHON

MONDAY 8/3 UPDATE: Last day, folks. Speak now or pay full shipping later. And miss out on these wonderful 24" rides, which are going back to C&G.

Hey gang, due to a fluke set of circumstances— mainly, I'm holding a group of 24" jazz rides that have to go back to Cymbal & Gong headquarters in a couple of days— I'm going to offer an END OF JULY 2020 LIGHTNING OPPORTUNITY SHIPPING SPECIAL BLOW-OUT:

If you want one of the 24" rides, I'll give you FREE SHIPPING...

Strike that— let's do free shipping for ALL cymbal purchases (USA only) through Monday, August 3rd. Why not.

Cruise over to Cymbalistic and see what I have in stock, and email me through that site or at the EMAIL TODD link in the sidebar here to make a purchase.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

EZiest swing in 5/4

Teachers' item here. In working with various beginners, younger students, and hobbyists, you have to be flexible and creative in how you show them things. At those stages, differences in how people learn are really amplified— they're slow to get some things, and faster to get others, with no consistency from individual to individual. I don't want them getting hung up if a certain part of the process is not working for them yet, and I don't need them to learn things in a specific order, so I'll try a lot of different things to help them get their foot in the door. Then they can learn the hard thing over time, while still progressing with their actual playing.

This is an easy procedure for teaching a 5/4 swing groove without the student having to read it, or even learn a new pattern. It should be simple for anyone who can play a jazz beat in 4/4, and more natural and direct than just throwing a book at them.

First, play one measure of a jazz feel, with bass drum on the first note, and stop on 1 of the second measure. With new things, I often have them play it one time only, followed by a long, unmetered pause.

Play this one time, counting out loud: 1 2 3 4 1. Swing the 8th notes. 



Do it again, one time, except count 1 2 3 4 5



Despite the written time signature, we're effectively in 5/4 now. Play the above thing repeating. At first I may have them put a long pause in between measures— without counting or tapping their foot during the pause: 



They can shorten that pause until they're just playing the repeating pattern in time. Continue counting in 5.

Of course many students won't need to do all that, and some may need more help, which I improvise based on whatever seems to be hanging them up.  

More advanced students will want some independence patterns to go with that, for which you can just go to Jim Chapin's Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer. Just add an extra beat one to the end of the pattern. So this: 



Through the magic of Photoshop, becomes this:


And this pattern: 



Becomes this: 



Just repeat the first beat. Or don't. You can play the book pattern exactly as written, and simply add a quarter note on the cymbal at the end.

See my series Cracking 5/4 for more introductory materials/concepts for learning to play this time signature. 

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Page o' coordination: Freddie Waits Afro

A combination groove o' the day and page o' coordination here. On MC by Andrew Hill, from his album Grass Roots, Freddie Waits plays a Afro feel with a simplified cymbal rhythm that is similar to the “Afro Blues” rhythm (my phrase) I wrote about a few years ago. It's a good introductory groove for this type of thing, and, with a stronger dotted-quarter note pulse, it's probably good if you're playing with a weak rhythm section. Or, what the hell, if you just want a cleaner groove with a stronger main pulse.

On the top line are the cymbal/feet ostinato, and the complete groove as Waits played it on the record, and the rest of it is the practice patterns:




Learn the page, then drill it while doing my left hand moves.

Get the pdf