Friday, May 09, 2014

Quick Lick(s) - Kiko Freitas

Another one of Brazil's finest these days is Kiko Freitas.  For the last 15 years he has been the drummer for Brazilian legend João Bosco.  Along with two other members of Bosco's rhythm section, guitarist, Nelson Faria, and bassist Ney Conceição, they form their own group called, oddly enough, Nosso Trio, which is Portuguese for "Our Trio".

We all have our bag of tricks that we like to reach into, and recently one of Kiko's really started jumping out at me.  As soon as I heard it once I began hearing it everywhere.  It's a very cool lick which he seems to go to a lot.  Apparently Freitas spent some time in LA studying with Dave Weckl, and if that is indeed true, you can certainly hear it in these licks.  It has an undeniable fusion vibe to it, but with Kiko's inherent Brazilian feel.

There seems to be a formula to this lick that he follows pretty closely.  The first part is ghost notes in the left hand - usually on the hi-hat and sometimes on the snare - combined with right hand accents around the kit for the first beat and a half to two beats.  Generally these accents fall on the e's and a's which is what really accentuates the Brazilian feel of it.  This is followed by some sort of linear foot-hand-hand combination.

Here are a couple of different orchestrations:

As you're experimenting with these it's important to note that the contrast between the accented and unaccented notes is pretty high.  The unaccented notes are almost to ghost note status.

In longer phrases, Freitas often likes to added a dotted eighth note figure, usually on a short, trashy cymbal sound like a stack or a china, though occasionally he plays this with the bass and floor tom as in the last of these three examples.  Note that the first bar of each of these follows the exact same formula as above, followed by the dotted eighth figure in the second bar.

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