Saturday, July 30, 2022

Groove o' the day: Idris Muhammad - Last Train to Clarkesville

Idris Muhammad plays a hip train beat on George Benson's cover of a Monkees hit, Last Train To Clarkesville, from his 1968 album Shape Of Things To Come. He's playing rim clicks with a stick in a bossa rhythm with his left hand, and filling in with a brush with his right:

Both hands work together to build this groove— he accents the last note of those doubles; the RH accent right before the rim click gives the rhythm some structure. He plays the straight groove all the way through, with a few stops. No bass drum at all except on the breaks. 

Listening to someone play a composed beat like this, I'm always listening for how (and if) they vary it, and develop it, and how they make ensemble accents, and get away from it to do a fill— and get back to it afterwards. All those little ordinary things you do without thinking when playing a stock groove, create a special problem when doing a specific worked-out groove. Usually people have to scale way back on the other stuff, and mostly just play the groove, and that's basically what's happening here.  

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