Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Double-paradiddle / paradiddle-diddle inversions - linear, all on one page

I wrote this up for myself, maybe you'll use it, too. These are the 6/8 linear versions of the double paradiddle and paradiddle-diddle inversions page, written for snare drum and bass drum— that's easier for me to read for what I'm doing with them. Doing lots of triplets lately.

I've written the accents just to show where the inverted rudiment begins. You don't need to play the accent. I'm using these as independence patterns along with a jazz cymbal rhythm. Also playing them with the hands in unison— snare and cymbal, two drums, or flams on one drum. And playing with cymbal added on the bass drum notes. If you play these with the measures reversed, and play each measure of 6/8 individually, that adds up to a pretty complete unit of triplet patterns for jazz.

Get the pdf

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Practice loop: Milt Jackson medium blues

This is the main loop I've been using with late Three Camps for drumset materials. Most of them— to my taste yesterday's thing is better to practice without a loop. This is sampled from a portion of Milt Jackson's solo from SKJ, a bonus track on the CD release of his album Sunflower. The tune is a 12 bar blues, and the tempo is about 125 bpm.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Three Camps for drumset - RLL/RRL/six stroke - 03

Settle in, kids, we're going to be seeing several more of these, because a) I like it and I think it's an effective format, b) I can't think of much else to do right now. Times are weird.

This one uses all the basic things found in Alan Dawson's “Ruff Bossa” method— that's a triplet system using all the parts of the six stroke roll, with RLLs, RRLs, RLLRRLs, plus occasional alternating swing 8ths.

Memorize all four of these and practice them as a complete unit. Alert on the first syncopated version: on the “first camp” (AABA), play the B measure as a full measure of RRL. The swing 8th on the first beat only happens on CCBA parts.

Get the pdf

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Daily best music in the world: harmolodic rock

From the 80s, when you could play this kind of music and get an apparently-decent recording contract, here is some James Blood Ulmer. It seems to fit the mood of the day.

Harmolodics, for the unitiated, is a homebrewed theory of improvisation practiced by Ornette Coleman. I suspect it's more “some things Ornette did or suggested, as elliptically described by him” than a true theory. See also Ornette Coleman's Prime Time and Ronald Shannon Jackson.

A little stylistic feature in this type of playing is that they like to put a stop or accent on 4— every measure or every two measures. A minor thing you'll hear a lot.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Paradiddle-diddle inversions

Remember that page of double paradiddle inversions I wrote back in April? April 2020. Or, ~198,000 United States COVID deaths ago, for those of you who have abandoned calendars and moved over to a death-count based time scale.   


Anyhoo, I like that double paradiddle page, and I always keep it close at hand in my pile of practice materials. Here I've done the same thing with alternating paradiddle-diddles— writing them as 8th notes in 6/8, as a two-voice linear pattern, and as a rhythm (based on the right hand part) in 3/4. Doing them alternating makes the inversions a little more interesting, and also has us doing three notes in a row on each hand or part.

The accent on linear version is just so you can see where the inverted pattern begins— usually I would accent the right hand, and vary the accents with the left hand. The linear version is written as RH/cymbal-LH/snare, but you can play it on any two limbs/sounds. See the practice suggestions on the second page of the pdf.

Get the pdf

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Three Camps for drum set - alternating triplets - 02

OK, I officially like this new system— adapting the format of the rudimental piece Three Camps for drumset. It does exactly what it's supposed to do: trick you into practicing some common things longer. The format is 32 bars long, and for every basic idea there is a regular version and an inverted version, so you're playing two standard choruses of each idea, with basic variations. That's a good amount of time to do one thing.

My biggest concern, that the altered form on the inverted versions would be too much of a pain for easy practicing, is not a problem. Actually my biggest concern was that the whole thing would be pointless, but it isn't. It makes sense, and I feel more together after having played through it.

In part 2 we'll use triplets alternating between the snare drum and bass drum. The first page is the version I use; the second page is a slightly simplified version that is a little closer to the original piece.

You can add the hihat on 2/4 when playing it with snare drum and bass drum, and then run it again substituting the hihat for the bass drum part. Find a practice loop at the tempo you want— or make one— and hit it. Here's a slow one, and a slow medium tempo, or a slightly brighter medium tempo.

Get the pdf

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Transcription: Billy Cobham - Introspective

Ahhh good times here in the Pacific Northwest, with the forests burning, and the entire city blanketed in smoke so it looks like we're in Blade Runner, or the Mexico sequences from Breaking Bad, with lunatic heavily armed country folk creating their own ad hoc checkpoints to hinder evacuations and catch imaginary antifa arsonists who they believe have swarmed to the countryside to destroy the forests for reasons unknown.

It's good stuff. So I'm just going to post this transcription and leave it. I can't think of anything intelligent to say about it. This is Billy Cobham playing rhythm figures on the head of a swing tune, alternating with an Afro 6 feel. The tune is Introspective, from Stanley Turrentine's album Cherry. I've included a rhythm part outlining the kicks. Maybe it will help in analyzing Cobham's interpretation of them.

Making the transcription I did notice what Wilson Taylor mentioned in the comments on the recent Cobham piece— that Cobham plays very much on the front of the beat. It does sound like it would be challenging to play with him here.

The transcription begins at the start of the track. The meter change is no big deal; he just switches to an Afro 6 groove at the same tempo.

Get the pdf

Monday, September 07, 2020

Very occasional quote of the day: prove to yourself you are a drummer

“The first thing I'd say is forget about making it big. If you're that good and it's in the cards for you to make it big, you probably will and no one can stop it. 

However, I say first prove to yourself that you are a drummer.”

— Rufus 'Speedy' Jones, Modern Drummer interview by Robert Barnelle, 1983

[h/t to Ed Pierce for directing me to the interview]

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Three Camps for drum set - 01

I like the traditional rudimental snare drum piece Three Camps as a practice format because it's simple and finite— you can play the piece a few times and be done. You've done your work on the one thing. It's a good format for developing speed and endurance. 

I improvised this while I was practicing, and we'll see if it becomes a major part of my “routine.” To the extent that I have a routine. A very disciplined, structured practicer should be able to get a lot of value out of it. I've written some ways of playing the piece on drum set, with a triplet texture in a jazz feel. This is one of the major systems we do when reading from Syncopation, except we've simplified the bass drum and removed the reading element, so we can focus on pure fluency.  

There four different forms: 
• Basic, with the bass drum playing the same accents as the original piece.
• Basic form with the accents displaced one beat, starting on beat 2.
• Syncopated, with the original accents moved to the &.
• Syncopated, accents on the & starting on beat 2. 

You'll notice that the order of the measures changes for each version to accommodate the displacements. I've also written it with Frank Arsenault's form, which repeats the 3rd camp. Usually it's played:
 3rd | 2nd | 2nd-coda
Arsenault does it: 
3rd | 2nd | 3rd | 2nd-coda
That gives us a little more of that brief 3rd Camp variation. See previous posts for explanation of the “camps” terminology.

Add the hihat on 2 and 4 if you want. Memorize all four versions, and play them continuously— one to the next without stopping. Usually the last measure of the piece is a coda— either a fp roll, or a little drag pattern with a stop. Elvin Jones improvised(?) a two measure break at the end. I saw him do that in a clinic. So that's your spot to get creative and insert a hot lick of your choice. Or just play it as written.   

Get the pdf