Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Listening to Sorcerer

Phew, long post here, but the topic merits it. Let's listen to the Miles Davis record Sorcerer, with his famous 60s quintet including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. I bought it around 1987 as a vinyl reissue— I never heard of it before I saw it at the store, and was real excited to find another Miles record with Tony Williams on it. 

Recorded in 1967, mostly. Several of the tunes appear in the original Real Book, but are not often played. Among records by this group (and the George Coleman iteration) Sorcerer is a little bit of a dark horse— compared to Nefertiti, Miles Smiles, Four & More, for example. Maybe there's more stuff music students get excited about on the other records.  

Overall the frame here is very loose, very open— nobody's nailing down the time for much of it. The time modulations of the earlier records have evolved into a general floating feeling. Much of it is straight 8ths, but we're not yet getting into the rock direction we hear evolving on Filles de Kilimanjaro and Miles In The Sky. This one is more about time areas, sketched out by everyone together— the time often seems like it's somewhere in between what everyone's playing. Same with the form. 

Lots of beautiful playing here, individually and as an ensemble, my focus here is on what I'd be thinking if I were playing or learning these tunes.

Put on your record, or run this, and read on: 

Prince of Darkness
16 bar tune, played twice. Tempo is about 239. Nominally a samba, played with very open modern jazz language. You can broadly hear the form going by, but they're handling it in a very open way, no piano comping, and not a lot of firm markers being played. It kind of hangs off those dotted half note accents in bars 11 and 13— listen for who suggests that during the solos. Wayne Shorter wrote some tunes like this— El Gaucho is another one— very concentrated, distinct forms. Like Giant Steps but way more interesting, speaking as a drummer.

Ron Carter's foundation groove is a samba rhythm, but much of the time he's playing off of dotted quarter notes or half note triplets. Tony is supplying the regular pulse, but a lot of angular stuff too. Texture opens up on Herbie Hancock's solo.  


Pee Wee
I forget if Tony Williams actually composed this, or if Wayne did, and they wanted to give Tony a writing credit. Low key waltz, tempo is about 124. 21 bar form. This may be the most commonly played tune on the record? Miles don't play at all on this track.

Phrased 8+7+6— though my hear hears the melody itself as 6+9+6. It lays across the chord structure in a funny way. But it's 8+7+6— on the blowing there are two measures of the same chord at the end of the first 8 bars, and a big change in bar 9, beginning the odd phrase. The key spot is in bar 16, the one measure that has two chords in it— it's easy to hear even if you're lost the whole rest of the time, and easy to finish the form from there. It's worth listening through a couple of times just listening for bar 16, while not otherwise keep tracking of the form. The change at bar 9 is also distinctive, get that in your ear. 

You see how my mind works on these things. I don't want to count, and I don't want to fight my ears, I want to know how to recover from getting lost. Learning this tune, I would first learn to orient myself around what's obvious to my ears, however feeble, and then learn to hear the parts where I don't know what I'm doing— which I've here narrowed down to bars 13-15. 

Tony plays light time and textural stuff with brushes through the first chorus of Wayne's solo, after which he switches to sticks. Mostly plays off a quarter note pulse, double timing and playing off a dotted quarter pulse in a few spots. Phrases are broad swells or arcs, both in dynamics and density. 

The very dramatic 2001 recording of this tune on Wayne Shorter's Footprints Live! is possibly more famous now, with Brian Blade on drums, channeling the whole world's love and enthusiasm for this band. Very loose playing from everyone here, but there is a clear tempo and they mostly follow the form... with modifications.

The tune is a modal ABA, with a short form that is very drawn out. Played with a straight 8th feel. Below is a chart from the Jazz Ltd fake book, illicit pdfs of which are widely distributed digitally. The choice to write it in 4/2 is strange to me, playing it I would count it in 4/4— one measure of 4/2 on the chart = two measures of 4/4 @ 134 bpm. 

The first line is the intro, the second line is the A section, and the third line is the B section. The last A section is indicated by the “D.S. (first 4)” at the end, and by the sign at the beginning of the second line, and by the fine at the end of the second line. So the form is 4+3+4 bars of 4/2, or 8+6+8 counted in 4/4. The whole thing is played in the key of G. Phrygian, except the B section. On the blowing Ron also implies a change in bar 4 of the A section.


The intro is very loose, with Tony playing free, and settling on the tempo as the A section begins.

During the blowing, except on his own solo, Herbie always hits the first dotted quarter figure in the last bar of the B section— Ron hits it during Herbie's solo. That really sounds like the end of the form, and sometimes it is treated as the end of the form. Like the last chorus of Miles's last chorus is just AB, then Wayne's solo's begins with a fresh ABA. 

The end of Wayne's solo gets a little flaky; Herbie drops out at the beginning of his last chorus, from there they seem to play AB+AB+mystery phrase. Herbie's solo starts very fluidly, though it's still in time and still adhering to normal phrase lengths. At some point the bridge is cued, and they finish it on the form from there, including a final A section before going into the head out— where the play AB-AB and out, with no horns on the second AB.    

If you get lost in space on the A sections you should be able to hear when they go to the B section; at least the end of the B section is always 100% clear. And the top of the repeated A sections is clear as well— they don't just play 8 (in 4/2) bars of vibe. And you can hear the implied chord change in the last bar of the A section as well. 

Listening to it I would learn to first hear those markers when they happen, and notice how they're handled. Sometimes they're the one definitive thing in the phrase, other times they're touched lightly, sometimes dramatic, sometimes not. Generally not everyone is hitting them at once. 

The Sorcerer

Uptempo through-composed Herbie Hancock tune, 16 bars, AB, 8+8. On the blowing Miles and Wayne trade 8s, then play the head again, twice. 

Form-wise, there's not a lot for me to grab onto, aurally— the chords don't really allude to the melody, and we never feel like we've arrived anywhere, which is deliberate. From my perspective it might as well be free bop. You can't play it looking to resolve to a big down beat, because it's not going to be there, you have to leave everything open. Counting 16 bar phrases from when they play the head after the trading, the horns come in with the head out on bar 9, so something off the form happened there.  

In terms of learning this tune, I would listen to the version on Herbie's record Speak Like A Child. It's still real ambiguous, but they play more conservatively, and there are some arranged figures on the head that give you a little more to hang onto. 


Another taken from the Jazz Ltd book— who knows how similar it is to how Wayne wrote it. Form is basically 8 bar AB, with two extra beats in the middle. The tempo is a medium 4/4, with basically a half time ballad feel on the intro, on a quarter note triplet pulse. On the head Tony superimposes a 3/4 feel based on that same pulse. Then on the solos they go into that double time samba like on Prince of Darkness. They get around to stating the medium 4/4 after Wayne's solo. 

The 2/4 bar and the two chords every measure suggest that this could have been written as a fast 4/4, 9+8 bars long. That's a way to think of it if you're double timing it. 

At this moment my ears are pretty wasted, so I can't try to decide how closely they're following the form on the blowing. They do quote the tune. Tony is so wild it's hard to believe he's keeping careful track of where he is. 

Cool walking ballad by Wayne Shorter, I can't locate a chart for it online or in my books. Too bad. 

No time on the head, on the solos they play a medium 4, and Tony makes the interesting choice of playing the solos on the snare drum with sticks. 

Like I said, my ears are gone, so I'm not going to count out the form and figure out that cool slow figure at the end. Maybe tomorrow. Great tune, somebody write a chart. 

Nothing Like You
Recorded in 1962 with the singer Bob Dorough, who was very much in the Blossom Dearie/Dave Frishberg cute/hip mode. With Jimmy Cobb on drums, arranged by Gil Evans. I like the opening, Jimmy Cobb is all over that. He has a real particular sound, that's very staccato and on the front of the beat, distinct from other players like that— maybe Roy Haynes or Charli Persip, or Alan Dawson.  

There we are. I'll probably give Limbo and Vonetta closer listens tomorrow, when my ears have recovered. Notice that this is all pure structure, none of it really touches the musical substance of what they're playing. 

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Very occasional quote of the day: privilege

“The only sensible way to regard the art life is that it is a privilege you are willing to pay for.”

- Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

Friday, June 02, 2023

Transcription: Roy Haynes - Bad News Blues - 03

Part 3 of Roy Haynes playing Bad News Blues on his record Cracklin'. Booker Ervin's tenor solo includes a chorus of stop time, two choruses of blowing, then he trades choruses with Roy. This is the two choruses of blowing, starting at 3:59. I've included the two measures of fill leading into the blowing, and what he does at the beginning of the trading. 

Here are links to part 1 and part 2 of this transcription. 

Haynes gives the impression of being very linear with his snare drum and bass drum, but this is very layered at times— he'll play the snare and bass at the same time, accenting the bass and ghosting the snare. He accents the snare before or after the bass drum. See measures 10-12 and 18-20. 

So he has very fine control of his left hand dynamics independent of what else he's doing. Interestingly, his left hand rhythms are largely non-indepenent— often they're simply in unison with his right hand. 

Get the pdf

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Reed interpretation: slow tempo / fast singles

I guess you could do this with Reed— or just practice the page below by itself and start using it.

NOTE: After completing this post, I see that I wrote two very similar things back in 2014— I like this way better than either of those— hit those links to check them out. 

This is based one of the basic Reed systems, right hand lead triplets— swing the book rhythm, played on a cymbal with the RH, with BD in unison, filling in the triplets on the snare drum with the LH. 

Here we're going to fill the spaces in the book rhythm with 16th triplets— each triplet partial of filler gets a 16th triplet. We'll play them as singles, always starting with the RH. 

With a couple of modifications:

•  Let's catch the second cymbal hit with the left when they're on adjacent triplet partials (see exercises 3-5, 9-10). Use a cymbal on the left for that. On some of those you hit the cymbal with the R the first time, with the L on the repeat. 
•  We want the singles to start and end with the RH, so where there's just one triplet of filler, stick them RLL or RRL, or just play a left handed flam (see ex. 3-4). Where there is a full beat of filler, play 32nd notes instead— eight notes (exs. 6-7, 8, 11).

I'm not even going to spell out again how these exercises connect to the rhythms in Reed— if you should doing this, it should be obvious: 

We see hear some of this kind of thing from Jack Dejohnette on John Scofield's Time On My Hands record— playing fast on a slow tempo. Peter Erksine, who produced that record, gave a master class at the U. of Oregon about this time, and remarked that Dejohnette was the only person he knew who could do that. Of course you have to be able to hear it as well as do it. 

I was doing this with a loop of Mr. Syms, from Coltrane Plays The Blues, tempo about 98 bpm, and that's getting close to the practical speed limit on this idea. You can do it faster, hyper speed singles just start sounding ridiculous at some point. 

Get the pdf

Monday, May 29, 2023

5/8 flam accents

Page of rudimental patterns in 5/8, based on a flam accent #1. We've just extended it a couple of notes. You could connect some of these with a whole lot of rudiments: flam drags, pataflaflas, flamadiddles, flamacues. Do these along with my 5/8 control pages from last year. 

Pretty straightforward. If you use a metronome, put it on the 1, or the 1 every two bars, or on the 1/3 or 1/4 of the 5/8, or set it for quarter notes in 5/4, resolving with the 1s in unison every two bars. I guess if you should be doing that, you don't need me to tell you...

Get the pdf

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Reed singles drill

Simple system for working on singles, that I worked up with a student who plays a lot of Metal. I don't know anything about Metal drumming, so we have to work together to come up with something that's going to be relevant to his major idiom. 

It's a variation on a collection of stuff I file under harmonic coordination— so-called because it's derived from the section of the same name in the book Four-Way Coordination. Not everything I do with it involves much “harmonic” coordination however. 

Do this with the accent pages in Syncopation; accents are played on a cymbal, plus bass drum in unison; the unaccented notes are played on the snare drum... with the modifications below. 

I'll illustrate it with line 1 on p. 47 of Reed: 

You can do this with any of the 8th note, triplet, or 16th note accent patterns you want. Here's how it's structured so you know how to do that: 

1. Play it with both hands in unison— two different cymbals and two different drums (or left-handed flam on the snare drum— rL)

2. Then double the rate of the notes, alternating sticking, with the accents spaced the same:


3. Play the written pattern alternating in double time: 

Then do the whole mess altogether, pyramid-style, playing things 1-2-3-2, 1 to 4 times each, and repeat the entire phrase: 

Slash marks on the quarter notes are abbreviations for 8th notes
and 16th notes— play exactly like the examples above.

On repeating back around to the 8th note part, hit the cymbal with the right hand only the first time.

Here's how you would handle line 11. Both hands in unison: 

Same accent spacing, doubled rhythm:

Double time:

Complete practice phrase:

You won't need to do many of these— the point is to do it, this is just a framework. For longer runs of singles unbroken by cymbal hits, use the 16th note accent pages, pp. 60-63. It would be an excellent idea to plot and drill some moves around the drums with the singles. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Paul Motian documentary

It took me awhile to get around to watching the Paul Motian documentary Motian In Motion— it's great, here it is if you haven't seen it: 

I liked this comment from Steve Swallow about his technique, compared to other drummers: “Paul just kinda picked up a stick and hit something.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

That last Reed tweak: one further

Going one further with that last Reed tweak in 3/4, in which we played alternating triplets, beginning every measure with the right hand. Normally with alternating triplets, every second measure would start with the left hand, so to make that work we had to do some different things on beat 3 of each measure. 

Quick summary of the larger method: reading from my book Syncopation in 3/4, play alternating triplets, accenting according to the rhythm in the book, swing interpretation. Play those accents on a cymbal with bass drum in unison, and the rest of the rhythm on the snare drum. It's an ordinary thing. See the last post for how we made each measure start with the R hand. 

With this tweak of the first tweak, we're going to use an idea from another alternating triplet item, where we omitted any of the cymbal notes falling on the left hand— while continuing to play the bass drum there. 

Best to just illustrate it. Here are the first two lines of the full page Syncopation Exercise 1 from Syncopation in 3/4: 

Here's how you would play it with the original tweak (one way of doing that, there are other options for how to handle the third beat of each measure):  

Here's how to do it omitting the lefts on cymbals: 

The situation in measures 3 and 6 is a little funny to me,  but everything doesn't have to work perfectly. 

A good application for this is to play a repeating rhythm in 3/4, in 4/4. For example, the first measure from the above example, played over two measures of 4/4: 

Or four measures of 4/4:

Small typo: add bd/crash one 1 of the first measure only, every time you play the whole phrase.

There you go. I'm looking to develop living textures, not pure licks, so I do any part of this part of the time. I don't overwork it, I change it up.  

Monday, May 22, 2023

Transcription: Roy Haynes - Bad News Blues - 02

Part 2 of Roy Haynes playing Bad News Blues on his record Cracklin'. This is Ron Matthews's piano solo, starting at 1:51— four choruses, 48 bars. 

Things like this are a little bit of an archeology project. We're not just looking for comping ideas, we're looking at when he plays in the phrase, and what for— is he supporting the groove, is outlining a phrase, is he conversing with the soloist, what. And to some extent how— what's the logic for how he's executing it physically. As I said last time, Roy is often real economical with how he coordinates things— very linear, with lots of unisons. So I look carefully we he layers things in a more independent/complicated way, like how did that come about? 

The cymbal rhythm is pushing towards a dotted 8th/16th interpretation here. The swing 8ths generally are not perfectly squared off triplets. He plays light backbeats much of the time. If we're checking where he's accenting with his comping, he plays a lot of &s of 4, relatively fewer &s of 3, not much on the & of 2 or 1, except as a continuation of something he was doing in the previous measure. 

It's telling how he plays the 16th note comping in bars 6 and 16— he plays the full beat of 16ths, RLRL, ghosting that second R on the cymbal. Clearly something that evolved naturally, where most of us are sitting down with Chapin and working out our 16th note timing impeccably vs. the straight cymbal rhythm. 

There are a couple of spots where he apparently plays the open hihat with his left hand, which involve some quick moves from the snare drum. Possibly he's splashing it with his foot, and I'm just hearing the attack from the ride cymbal, which he plays through that. Or maybe he's really quick getting his left hand to the hihat, and it's something he doesn't. It fully doesn't really matter. 

That lick in the last two bars of the transcription is one that's worth learning on its own.  

Get the pdf

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Transcription: Roy Haynes - Bad News Blues - 01

Roy Haynes playing Bad News Blues, from his album Cracklin'. We'll be seeing more of this one, there's a lot of interest in this recording. Playing a tune like this some people might simplify and slam out the groove. A bandleader calling something like this might ask for a shuffle— which Roy is decidedly not playing. He sketches out a shuffle at times; generally he's playing very loose and modern, and he absolutely swings.

...we saw something like this with Idris Muhammad awhile back— a groove situation where he was playing with a lot of freedom. We have more freedom than we may think, so long as the groove is there. 

I've just transcribed the head in and out— the tune is just a two bar riff over a 12 bar blues form. 

The important accents there are the & of 4 / & of 1, which Roy only hits a couple of times. When he does play them, he sets up the & of 4 with a little fill. But mostly he hits the 1 and the 4 in the first measure— often the accent on 4 is held through the 1 of the second measure. The last two beats of the phrase are usually some kind of fill.  

The transcription: 

Play that 16th triplet lick as singles.

I think of Roy generally as an economical drummer, in the sense of being “non-independent.” I'm accustomed to seeing lots of unisons, lots of linear things, not a lot of layered independence. That's mostly the case here, but there are a couple of spots where things layer in an unusual way— see the end of bar 8, and bar 11. 

In measure 19 there's something happening with the left hand that probably falls pretty naturally with traditional grip; matched grip you'd have to contrive some kind of push pull thing to play that. Which would be stupid, because it's really nothing. The important thing there is the accents. 

Get the pdf 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Know your tempos: Workin' / Steamin' / Cookin' / Relaxin'

You can buy them 
all in one collection now.
Hey, we haven't done one of these in a while. All the tempos from four very famous Miles Davis records, with his very famous quintet from the 50s, with Philly Joe Jones on drums— core literature. 

It Never Entered My Mind - 58
Four - 207
In Your Own Sweet Way - 114
The Theme (take 1) - 137
Trane's Blues - 164
Ahmad's Blues - 114
Half Nelson - 257
The Theme (take 2) - 132

My Funny Valentine - 67
Blues By Five - 177
Airegin - 292
Tune Up - 315
When Lights Are Low - 123

Surrey With The Fringe On Top - 128
Salt Peanuts - 350
Something I Dreamed Last Night - 56
Diane - 143
Well, You Needn't - 230
When I Fall In Love - 67

If I Were A Bell - 184
You're My Everything - 57
I Could Write A Book - 227
Oleo - 258
It Could Happen To You - 188
Woody'n You - 256

All of them, again, in ascending order:
Something I Dreamed Last Night - 56
You're My Everything - 57
It Never Entered My Mind - 58
My Funny Valentine - 67
When I Fall In Love - 67
Ahmad's Blues - 114
In Your Own Sweet Way - 114
When Lights Are Low - 123
Surrey With The Fringe On Top - 128
The Theme (take 2) - 132
The Theme (take 1) - 137
Diane - 143
Trane's Blues - 164
Blues By Five - 177
If I Were A Bell - 184
It Could Happen To You - 188
Four - 207
I Could Write A Book - 227
Well, You Needn't - 230
Woody'n You - 256
Half Nelson - 257
Oleo - 258
Airegin - 292
Tune Up - 315
Salt Peanuts - 350

It's good to attach a number to these things, and know that Miles ballads, in this period at least, gravitated around 57 and 67 bpm. Those showy numbers like Half Nelson and Woody'n You are around 257. Those slow medium items @ 114, and two different types of bright swingers around ~185 and ~230. 

And here— for my own peculiar interest— are all of them doubled or halved to put them in the familiar ~100-200 range— the medium to top end of standard metronome range. Useful and helpful as a practical thing dealing with time. There's got to be some kind of useful information in Miles putting a lot of tunes in tempos that equalize to the low to mid teens, or high 120s to mid 130s.

Four - 103
Something I Dreamed Last Night - 112
You're My Everything - 114
Ahmad's Blues - 114
In Your Own Sweet Way - 114
I Could Write A Book - 114
Well, You Needn't - 115
It Never Entered My Mind - 116
When Lights Are Low - 123
Surrey With The Fringe On Top - 128
Woody'n You - 128
Half Nelson - 129
Oleo - 129
The Theme (take 2) - 132
My Funny Valentine - 134
When I Fall In Love - 134
The Theme (take 1) - 137
Diane - 143
Airegin - 146
Tune Up - 157
Trane's Blues - 164
Salt Peanuts - 175
Blues By Five - 177
If I Were A Bell - 184
It Could Happen To You - 188

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Groove o' the day: Ed Blackwell - Love

Here's a fast 6/4 Afro type of groove from Ed Blackwell, on the track Love, from a duo record with Wadada Leo Smith, The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer. There's no tune, it's just free blowing over a groove. People should do that more. These are some variations from about the first 90 seconds of the track. 

We're in kind of a compound 6/4 here— the dotted half note gets the beat, at about 86 bpm. Or if you're counting quarter notes, ~260. 

Get the pdf

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Daily best music in the world: early Weather Report

I have a lot of writing projects going right now, and seem to be unable to finish any of them, so let's listen. Here's Alphonse Mouzon playing on the first Weather Report album, doing what people now call an ECM feel. 

I'm working on a transcription of it, which I may or may not be able to complete: 

And the same tune from a concert in Germany— at least it's been given the same title, I'm not hearing any composed material in common between the two versions:

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Very occasional quote of the day: artificial excitement

“I think there's a tendency to overplay with most young drummers. Rushing is common in trying to force things to swing by playing on top a little bit. If things weren't swinging by forcing it a little bit, it might seem that by playing a little bit on top, it at least makes it seem more exciting. But, it also makes it feel a little more uncomfortable. I think that might be a common failing of younger drummers. To maybe artificially create excitement.”

Bassist Jack Six, , Modern Drummer, July 1981, piece by Scott K. Fish

Friday, May 12, 2023

Finessing Reed funk phrases

A baseline thing to do with Reed funk methods is to practice in two measure phrases. For example: one measure cut time funk* / one measure RH lead**.

* - CUT TIME FUNK: Reading from Syncopation, play melody rhythm on bass drum, except play the 3 on the snare drum— adding it to the written rhythm if necessary—add quarters/8ths on cymbal. 

** - RH LEAD: Play melody rhythm on cymbal with RH, plus bass drum in unison. Fill in gaps in rhythm with LH on SD to make a full measure of 8th notes. 
Here's how you would play that phrase reading line 1 on p. 34 of Syncopation— look it up, the rhythm is 1& &3 4:  

As you get deeper into practicing that, especially when running the full-page exercises, that formula creates some rather artificial connections between the two measures— the resulting thing is not how I would play. Or maybe there are some hipper possibilities, that move more naturally. We'll look at some examples of that from Exercise 1 on p. 38 of Syncopation. 

You could play the page straight through, or isolate any two measures and repeat them. Let's isolate measures 2-3 of line 2:

Played strictly first measure: cut time funk / second measure: RH lead: 

It's kind of weird to just start a measure with a ghost note. You could accent that note instead, or just start the RH lead portion earlier, on beat 4: 

With measures 3-4, also on line 2: 

Played like this with the straight formula: 

On the repeat, we're hitting the cym/bd on the & of 4, and cym only on 1. I'm more inclined to put an accent on that & of 4— let's do it on an open hihat, closing it on 1. 

I'll also start the RH lead part early, as on the last example:  

The first two measures of line 3: 

By the formula: 

Like with the first example, I would start the LH filler early. And if I wanted to play a crash on 1 at the beginning of the phrase, I would not hit the cymbal along with the bass drum on the & of 4 at the end. The 4 at the end of the phrase would be a natural place to accent the snare drum, as well:  

Some ideas to think about. This covers most situations you'll encounter practicing from Syncopation. Maybe there will be spots where you'll want to figure your own thing out. Always feel free to make your own alterations. These types of practice systems are neither perfect nor sacrosanct. In a sense the point of practicing is to learn new stuff, but it's also to learn it in a way that connects to what you already know how to do. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


5/26 UPDATE: OK gang, the special is OVER, but, happily, the cymbals are still a tremendous bargain considering that a) they're great, b) you'll use them forever, c) they're not that expensive to begin with! 

By the way:
I also have two more of the super-cool thin 22" Extra Special Janavars in stock! 

CYMBALISTIC: It has occurred to me I've had several 20s hanging around for too long— since last year, anyway— and I'd like to move some out.

So let's do a minor special. For 20" cymbals: 

Free shipping within the United States
$50 credit on overseas shipping
$50 credit for people buying in person here in Portland 

Offer ends whenever I feel like it, either when I've moved a few cymbals out, or I decide nobody's interested. A week or two? 

About the cymbals:
 Everybody needs a 20" Cymbal & Gong jazz cymbal. These are mostly in the range I think of as “jazz medium”— between 1800-1900 grams— that can act as a main cymbal, or as a “left side” cymbal, paired with something bigger. I selected them all personally, all will be decently complex, with good stick definition, and will ride and crash beautifully.

They're great instruments, any of these you could use for the rest of your career. 

Here's what I have available, all from Cymbal & Gong:  

20" Extra Special Janavar - “Spock”, “McCoy” [Spock is now sold]
The first round of a custom item I ordered last summer, that have become a very hot item— Janavar series with K-style hammering and lathing. I got to see them get lathed when I visited Istanbul last summer. One has a heavy patina, one has rivets. 

20" Holy Grail Jazz Ride - A-type - “Mayfield”, “Booker”

C&G's most popular cymbal, with a “trans stamp” style squarish bell. Somewhat more aggressive sound than the K-type HGs. These two make me think of Art Blakey. 

20" Holy Grail Jazz Ride - K-type - “Lashonda” [sold]

Quintessential jazz cymbal. What else is there to say? 

20" Mersey Beat - “Kenny”
At 2250g this is heavier than the others, but it doesn't really act like it. All purpose cymbal for people who want a brighter sound. Not the sexiest item, but they're very popular— I keep getting great feedback from active jazz professionals about them. People who know cymbals think they're great. 

Visit Cymbalistic to check out the videos and pick yours out.  

Transcription: Max fours

I am not screwing around people, this is now an ALL Max Roach site. Here he is trading fours on Minor Meeting, from the record Sonny Clark Trio, from 1960— there's another record by that title from 1957 with Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. This would be a good jury or recital project for somebody— it's very clean look at some classic solo stuff. 

The chorus of trading begins at 2:07, the tempo is a bright quarter note = 262— compare that with some other well known up tempo tracks.

Apparently there's no tom tom present, as Max plays the whole thing on snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals. I've offered some likely stickings. There seem to be a lot of six stroke rolls happening.

The beginning of most of these breaks is phrased in 3/4 time within 4/4— lines 1-2, 4-5, and 7. On line 3 he plays a 4/4 idea twice, then displaces it. On line 6 he also plays a 4/4 idea twice, then does the meter within meter thing in the third-fourth measures, with a simple running 3/8 pattern. 

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Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Reed tweak: alternating triplets in 3

This came up while I was practicing out of my book, Syncopation in 3. An extremely ordinary practice system used with Syncopation is to a) swing the top line rhythm, b) fill in the remaining triplets softly, and c) play the whole thing with an alternating sticking. For example: 

a) Book rhythm: 

b) That rhythm swung: 

c) Triplets filled in, played with alternating sticking: 

Using this on the drumset, there's some value to being able to consistently land with the right hand on 1— it takes a little extra attention to land on the left. With alternating triplets, your right hand lands on a downbeat every two beats— your hands are telling you you're playing in 2.    

So, following are some ways of always landing with the right hand on 1, some of which I've been doing for years, without thinking about it— it only just now occurred to me to write it down. We get into some cool Elvin-like stuff here. 

Playing book rhythms that have a quarter note on the third beat, like the one above, there are a number of interesting options— I'll write it out for drum set, playing the accents on the cymbals, with bass drum in unison: 

Typo alert: I left off the accents on some of the cymbal hits on 3. Accent all the cymbal notes, or don't.

Some of those work better than others, depending on what's happening on the 1 when you repeat, or in the next measure, if you're reading the full page syncopation exercises. 

If the book rhythm ends with an 8th note on the & of 3, it's simpler— just don't hit the cymbal on that note, but do play the bass drum. So these two rhythms: 

Would be played: 

And you can take that a little further with some Elvin type things: 

You have to take a loose attitude about all of this stuff— the goal is not always to do a pristine rendering of the system, it's to make something musical out of it that is personal to you.

Monday, May 08, 2023

WSRHWL addendum!

A couple of pages to go with my wild, sprawling, scattershot world's shortest Roy Haynes waltz lesson. That contains a lot of raw concepts for someone who is listening to a lot of Roy Haynes to come up with their own version of his kind of thing, in 3/4 time. Or a 3/4 feel in 4/4 time. 

Here I've given some sticking patterns, put them on a cymbal and snare drum, and then changed them a little bit: 

Like a lot of my stuff, the point is to work through a lot of basically equally-difficult things in one session. See the original WSRHWL for suggestions on where to take these. Briefly: 

•  Add stock rhythms with the feet: BD on 1, HH on 2, or 2 and 3
•  Add BD along with some or all of the cymbal notes. 

There are some more advanced options involving the left foot:

• Play the LF in unison with the LH, or replacing the LH, or replacing the LH on some notes. 
• Along with whatever you do with the LF, add BD along with some or all of the cymbal notes.   

Some things to try. Listen to a lot of Roy and play them your own way, and don't stop for mistakes.    

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Sunday, May 07, 2023

Transcription: Max soloing

On this second of two days of major acts of white supremacist violence here in this paradise we call “the USA”, let's retreat into art, with part 2 of the thing from the other day: Max Roach's drum solo on A Little Sweet, from his record The Many Sides of Max.  

That's what music is for. It's our job to do it with dedication in the face of a world gone totally insane. 

Max's drum solo begins at 1:49 in the track. 

Much of this consists of something I called “Max's rubadub”, because of its similarity to Mel Lewis's thing. The bass drum, cymbal, and snare drum are doing a kind of rolling, integrated, New Orleans type of thing. It's worth your time to learn some two and four bar excerpts from this, and some single measures. 

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Saturday, May 06, 2023

Three camps: four variations

Four alternative ways of playing the rudimental piece Three Camps, that I'm practicing this week, accented 5 stroke rolls, flam accents, flam drags, and flammed 5s.  

Learn each measure individually, then play them in the form given at the top of the page. Chop out. 

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