Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Three Camps in Double-Paradiddles

The other day I played The Three Camps (and some variations thereof) for the first time in ages, and ended up coming up with a few variations of my own that I'll post in the coming days.  I'm not going to do a whole post about The Three Camps as it's been written about so many times.  All you need to know right now is that it's a really old and famous drum solo that you should know (because that's just what you do), and people often create variations of it.

The first variation is with double-paradiddles.  I've always leaned more heavily towards paradiddlediddles than double-paradiddles, so I've been trying to drive the latter into my playing more lately, which is how this variation came about.

The sheet below is a perfect example of why you should know this piece.  It's a mess to look at.  I've written it all out in case you don't know it, but if you do have it memorized all you need to do is play any beat with an accent on the beat or no accent at all as a double paradiddle, like so....

....and play any beat with an accent on the upbeat with this sticking:

It would probably be a little more true to the original if those upbeat accents were on the fifth 16th note instead of the sixth, but I just felt this had more of that Philly Joe soloing kind of vibe to it.

Try the whole thing off the left hand, too.  More variations to come soon.  Have fun.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Triplet Double-Paradiddle Study w/ Accents and Diddles

Here's a little snare study that developed out of an improv session on the pad in the back yard yesterday.  I was playing double paradiddles in triplets and moving the accents around while trying to vocalize the pulse, which in itself can be difficult and we will chat about in a future post.  After adding some diddles my OCD took over making me want to organize it into some sort of system and symmetry.  Once I conceptualized it and wrote it down I found that parts of it were deceptively difficult for two main reasons:

1. the change in double stroke speed between the 16th notes and the 8th notes of the double paradiddle can be tricky depending on where the 16th notes fall.

2.  the "strokings" (not stickings; see this post) are not always natural in the various permutations found in the study.

Maybe it goes without saying, but I'd recommend slowing this way down and really working out the proper strokings, ala Accents and Rebounds.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ratamacues Around the Drums

Time to put those rudiments back to work.  Many of the jazz greats used/use the ratamacue as a fill around the kit, so let's do a bit of it ourselves.

Philly Joe Jones comes to mind in particular when I think of this:

And I've heard Jeff Hamilton turn this around and come up the drums, playing the grace notes on the bass drum, like so:

Philly Joe and Jeff Hamilton generally play both of these in a closed interpretation, meaning they are playing a true ruff which comes just before the primary note, not in any specific time.  But as we've discussed before on the blog, these rudiments can also be played with an open interpretation wherein the grace notes become measured, and are played on the note prior to the primary note.  So this....

....becomes this:

Putting this open interpretation on the kit gives us something similar, but with a different vibe to it.

If we take this one step further we may be pushing the boundaries of what a ratamacue truly is, as it's now closer to being a double paradiddle, but we can get a whole series of new ideas nonetheless by playing the grace notes (which sort of cease to be grace notes) on the two 8th notes prior to the primary note as opposed to the two 16th notes before it.  I recently saw Edu Ribeiro playing an idea like this, and brighter tempos it sounds very cool.

And finally, with everything now being evenly spaced it frees us up to move the idea more freely throughout the bar.

Here is everything above neatly organized into one sheet.  Drop me an e-mail if you'd like a PDF.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Edu Ribeiro Baião Language

For those of you wanting to dig a little bit deeper into Forró rhythms, here is a sheet I've put together of some Baião language.  I transcribed these particular phrases from some Edu Ribeiro recordings, so they were all played on the drum set, but they very closely, if not identically, emulate rhythms that you will hear played on zabumba in a traditional Forró ensemble.

If you aren't familiar with some of the basics of Baião you may want to check out the post I wrote about it awhile back, but a stock interpretation would look something like this:

The sheet below contains variations, and fills.  None of these are really intended to be looped over and over like a groove.  Rather, they should be peppered in with a basic Baião as the music dictates.  This sheet makes a great supplement to the Baião Builder.  To create a nice little exercise out of this work out a pattern using the Baião Builder that feels good to you.  Then, create a four-bar phrase by playing the pattern for three bars, and adding in each of the new ideas below in the fourth bar.  Then work out another Baião pattern and do the whole thing again.  Or, add the new phrases to measure three to create an AABA sort of feel.  Do bear in mind though that these new ideas are not only limited to fills, or phrase endings.  You should play them anywhere in the music that you feel is appropriate.

Only the bass and rim/snare parts are shown here as they will work with any of the cymbal variations on the Baião Builder.

Friday, January 31, 2020

You Be the Drummer - Stan Getz and The Oscar Peterson Trio

It's been awhile since I've posted one of these drummer-less recordings, so what better way to come back than playing with Ray Brown?!  There's not even really anything to say about this one.  Break out Syncopation, or The Art of Bop Drumming, or, hell, just play some time!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Jeff "Tain" Watts Songo Grooves and Fills

For some reason this one has been in the drafts folder for ages, so I'm excited to finally get it out.  I came across this video a few years ago of Tain playing with an unnamed band at the San Jose Jazz Fest in 2014.  I was initially taken by the way he used the cowbell, and by the way he put the last note of the tumbao on the tom or floor tom instead of the bass drum, so I decided to dig into it.


It's funny when we first see/hear certain things, especially at brighter tempos, it seems like there is so much going on, but when you look a little deeper at this video you'll notice that Tain isn't actually playing that many different things rhythmically.  It's often the same, or very similar, stickings orchestrated differently around the drums (sort of like in the Eric Harland transcription we looked at way back when).

And, speaking of what he's playing, it's basically a 3-2 Songo.  This may not immediately jump out at you as a Songo, because Songo is so often played in 2-3.  So much so that 2-3 Songo is often simply taught as the single way to play Songo.  A quick Google search turns up a plethora of images that look like this:

Now, I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with this.  This is a perfectly acceptable way to play a Songo.  It's just that I get the feeling that a lot of drummers don't appreciate the fact that Songo isn't a pattern or sticking, but a style, to which there is much more than this one way of playing that is often shown to be the "correct" way.

Check out where the clave fits in the pattern above:

This can just as easily be played in 3-2:

And of course this is, by far, not the only sticking and/or orchestration that we can employ, as we can see in the Tain video.

There are plenty of hits in this tunes, so rather than transcribe the whole video and end up with a lot of superfluous material, I decided to grab the sections of groove that could easily be applied elsewhere, as well as some fills to go along with them.  You'll have to use your ears and some common sense, but you could likely take a lot of these grooves and mix and match them with the fills at various points to come up with some nice ideas of your own.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Paradiddlediddles / Double paradiddles

I currently have a young student who, at just 13 years old, is already pretty far ahead of his peers in terms of his jazz drumming game.  He listens to all the right things, and has more language than many students five years his senior.  When I first met him at 11 he told me his favorite drummer was Art Blakey.  One thing he lacks, however (at least right now), is control.  We are currently working on a Philly Joe solo and he is struggling to move seamlessly between the various stickings that Philly Joe employs, and to control the height difference between accents and taps; a contrast that Philly Joe always does to great effect.  So I created this simple exercise that combines paradiddlediddles and double paradiddles, which can be heard all over records featuring Philly Joe.  This more of a general exercise in control, but if you'd like to dig deeper into Philly Joe language with these stickings, Todd Bishop has a great post about it over on Cruiseshipdrummer.

E-mail me for a PDF

Friday, January 10, 2020

Neil Peart

There's not going to be much, if anything, that I can say about Neil Peart that hasn't already been said, or isn't already known, but I would be remiss if I didn't make mention of his sad and untimely passing.  Especially as Peart, for me, like legions of other drummers, was a huge early influence.  All told, the amount of time I spent playing along to Rush records would surely not be measured in hours, or even days, but likely weeks.  As I grew older, other styles of music took my interest, and I eventually got to where I rarely listened to Rush, and never played the tunes.  But anytime The Spirit of Radio, Limelight, Free Will, Tom Sawyer, etc., etc. came on the radio I was immediately transported back to the early days of my drumming development, and could play each tune note for note.  Regardless of your taste in music, there is no denying Neil Peart's contribution to the drumming world.  Generations of drummer would not be the same without him.