Monday, January 02, 2023

Charleston inversions

Kicking off 2023 with a library item— file this with the pages of tresillo/cinquillo inversions, and this page. The Charleston rhythm is a form of the tresillo rhythm that found its way into mainstream American popular music in the 20s, that we use a lot in jazz drumming today, mainly as a comping rhythm on the snare drum or bass drum. Here I've written out inversions of it, starting on each beat in the measure, and their &s.   

On the second page there are some short exercises combining all of the inversions— in effect they're meter-within-meter phrases, but the idea is just to be able to follow each version of the rhythm some different ways, to not always have to space it the same way.  

Get the pdf

This has come up a lot lately, when people talk about rhythm in jazz— the Charleston rhythm. It's funny how all at once everybody starts saying the same stuff.  Nobody ever told me about it, I just heard it on a Mingus record and it was obviously a thing to play. And I had to play it as an actual thing playing dance music. 

1 comment:

James Drohan said...

Hey Todd, This is an amazing exercise. Really smart work with the second page stuff as well.

I studied with a well known jazz teacher in the UK called Bob Armstrong and he was a big advocate of understanding the Charleston and how it worked over inversions. He's also get you to follow each snare with a bass drum an 8th note later. Once you had that, you'd switch it round so the kick would do the first note and the snare the second. Much trickier but rewarding than it sounds.

Keep up the great content!