Friday, June 09, 2023

Kicks and setups with Reed - 01

We covered this cursorily back in 2011, let's talk about it again, with some more detail. 

“Kicks and setups” is big band drummer speak for one of the major jobs of a jazz drummer, or any drummer: playing accents in unison with the rest of the ensemble, and setting them up to help the ensemble play them right, and for musical effect— usually with one note or two notes on a drum, or with a longer fill. So: 

Kick* = ensemble accent played by the drummer. Usually with cymbal and bass drum, or cymbal and snare drum, or snare drum or bass drum alone on staccato accents. 

Setup = what the drummer plays before the kick to support it. One to three 8th notes, or a longer fill.   

* - Not to be confused with the “kick drum” itself— on this site I say bass drum

Some examples of how kicks and set ups are indicated in big band charts or other arrangements: 

The major kicks in those examples are the offbeat tied notes and dotted notes, which typically call for a set up by the drummer.  

So: get out your mark up copy of Syncopation, and go to p. 10, and on the fourth measure of lines 1-8, add a tie to the last in any series of 8th notes. Here's my current working copy, which has a few other extraneous marks:

Notice on line 8 the tie will be at the beginning of the fourth measure. I don't know why I put it there on line 4, I could have put it the end of the line. 

We're only concerned with the tied notes, and the 8th notes right before them. Interpret the rest of the line as slash marks, meaning: play time. So we would read lines 1 and 8 as: 

The tied note is the kick, the other 8th notes are the set up. Play the kick on cymbal, with bass drum in unison, play the set up notes on the snare drum. Play swing time for the rest of the line.   

Here's how you would play lines 1 and 2: 

Play lines 5-8 with all three untied 8ths on the snare drum, or leave the first 8th note on the cymbal, for a two-note set up— which is extremely common. So line 8, both ways, goes: 

Also invert that basic orchestration, with the kick played on cymbal and snare drum, and the set up played on the bass drum. On lines 4-8, put only the last set up note on the bass drum: 

So the first step is to play lines 1-8 both of these ways, including counting the four measure phrase correctly, coming back into the time feel after the kick correctly. Next we'll look at some ways of embellishing this basic framework. 

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