Saturday, October 10, 2020

Transcription: Shelly Manne - What Laurie Likes

Here's Shelly Manne playing a funk jam— What Laurie Likes, by Art Pepper, from Pepper's album Living Legend. This is really just to get you to listen to Charlie Haden— that's a bassist— who is AWESOME on this whole thing. The drumming is great too though. Longer transcription than usual, because Mr. Manne was kind, and this was an easy performance to write out.

I have a number of notes on this one: 

This isn't a mono-volume funk jam. At different times Manne plays a 2/2 funk groove, or a fast 4 groove, or running 8th notes, or he'll improvise on the cymbals, or on the hihats. Occasionally he'll play soloistic stuff on the snare drum. He always sounds like he's going somewhere— much of the time he's building or backing off. He's not waiting for the soloist to lead on that; he's making it happen on his own, acting as a conductor. 

The 16th note fills usually crescendo. I think a lot of us do that routinely, but it's not the only way to do it. A funk drummer might take more of a bam bam approach, with the fills at basically an even volume all the way through. That's stronger for maintaining the groove. You can hear that done greatly by Ndugu Leon Chancler, or crudely by Ginger Baker. Manne's fills usually crescendo, but they don't necessarily end with a big cymbal crash on 1. There are relatively few actual crashes here.

Manne often plays bass drum through 16th note fills. I've noticed several 70s LA guys do this— Jeff Porcaro and John Guerin, for example. I don't think this is just a carryover from jazz drumming. The music settles a little bit when you come off the cymbals, and playing the bass drum keeps the intensity of the groove through the fills. Something to think about when playing groove music. 

We're not hearing a ton of funk vocabulary; there are a few basic moves he uses again and again. The three-8th note RRL pattern, or even plain old RLRL played between the hihat and snare drum; a cinquillo rhythm on the cymbal when he's grooving. Much of this is not unlike things on my EZ Tresillo Orchestrations page, or what we get from my cut time funk drill.  

There's a lot of open hihat here, usually with a half-open sound, indicated with a tenuto mark. 

As a personal taste thing— to me many of the 16th notes are kind of gratuitous. The groove is strongest when he's just doing 8th notes and quarter notes. Drummers generally always want to go to double time, to the hand-to-hand stuff, to prove this is a jazz performance, and the result is... not that great. Here, even with a lot of improvising and playing around, the 8ths and quarters still sound better. And Charlie Haden doesn't need to play a lot of 16th notes to sound F— KILLER. We'll talk more about this another time.


Ted Warren said...

Yup. The Charlie Haden/Shelly combo is a bit strange. Makes me curious if say, DeJohnette and ray Brown ever recorded together…..

Todd Bishop said...

It couldn't be any more classically Charlie, but it didn't even occur to me that it was him-- Manne colored it so differently...

Steve Cournane said...

A fav’ track for many years!