Sunday, December 22, 2019

Brasilian Rhythms - Entradas

Looking at telecoteco again, let’s talk about entradas.

An entrada is exactly what the word translates to, an entrance.  This entrance takes a slightly different form depending on the style of samba.  In a batucada or enredo setting, this is more of a bold statement, announcing that the tamborims have arrived to the party.  It reminds me of the way a conga player plays his big fills after the downbeat of the next section, rather than leading into it.  Some batucada-style entradas are longer than two bars, and generally lead to the carreteiro style of tamborim, which is the constant swinging 16th notes achieved by turning the drum with the left hand.  Some of these entradas are traditional and commonly heard across various groups, whereas other are composed for a specific escola de samba or their enredo (show) for the year.  A few examples:

In a pagode setting, however (or on a drum kit in our case) an entrada is simply a way to set us off on the right foot, especially when our telecoteco is likely to begin on a syncopated note.  We discussed last time about how telecoteco has an “up” side and a “down” side.  To start on the down side you could probably get away without playing an entrada at all as the pattern starts clean on beat one.  However, to start on the up side we use the entrada to set our ears and sense of time before we get into the heavily syncopated pattern that just seems to effortlessly roll over barline after barline.  This could be as simple as adding one downbeat to the start of the syncopated side….

But, more often, an entrada is two bars long.  A few examples….

Generally, these entradas start on the downbeat of a new phrase, but I have occasionally heard them played in the two bars leading to the new phrases, almost like a fill, such that once the downbeat of the new section is reached the listener is already hearing telecoteco.  Here’s an example of this that we’ll talk more about next time.

Finally, I know I said that entradas start on a downbeat to set our ears, but there is one instance in which it starts on a syncopated note.  One syncopated note on the “e” of one, followed by some steady 8th notes until the start of the phrases is reached.  That lone 16th note is generally given a pretty sturdy accent, sort of like a kick in the pants to get the section going.

Below are some various entradas followed by telecoteco and partido alto patterns.  Bear in mind that the entradas are not married to the specific patterns that follow them.  Pretty much any of these entradas will work with any variant of telecoteco or partido alto, so long as you are on the correct side of the beat.  Experiment with some of the entradas here along with some of the telecoteco variations from last time.

Friday, December 06, 2019

New release by Joy Ellis - "Dwell"

Pianist/singer/songwriter, Joy Ellis, with whom I've been working for 10 years now has just released her new album, Dwell, to some lovely reviews.  Putting this record together was a lot of fun and a good challenge for me as Joy was after some unique rhythmic ideas.  Trouble was, she didn't know exactly what she wanted, but she did know exactly what she didn't want.  So, I was forced to come up with some new grooves with which I am pretty happy.  Two in particular that I felt came out nicely were "Castles" and "Family Tree"

I've also gotten a lot of compliments on the snare sound of the title track, "Dwell".  Funnily enough, this is an old Yamaha Maple Custom which was missing one lug entirely.  I tuned it all the way down until it was just barely finger tight, and put a wash cloth on about a quarter of the head.  We recorded at the phenomenal Eastcote Studios in London, and despite being surrounded by thousands of dollars of drum mics, engineer, George Murphy, opted to simply put a good ol' SM57 on it.

You can check out the entire album in the sidebar.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Flam Accent/Pataflafla Etude

Here's a little ditty I was fooling around with earlier today combining flam accents and pataflaflas.  I was almost immediately reminded of my drum corps days when any flam-based exercise would always be amped up a notch by adding drags and "cheeses".  At tempo this becomes a nice chop buster.

E-mail me for a PDF

Monday, November 04, 2019

Dig This - Jack Sperling playing brushes

I recently stumbled across this video of the great Jack Sperling playing some burnin' brushes with singer/guitarist Caterina Valente.  Jack spent the majority of his career as a sideman to some of the biggest singers in the biz; Tex Beneke, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bobby Darin just to name a few.  He also did a fair amount of studio work, appearing on the soundtracks to big name films and TV like Peter Gunn, Rawhide, The Days of Wine and Roses, Bonanza, Charade, and Hogan's Heroes.

Caterina Valente was a lovely surprise for me.  I was not familiar with her before seeing this video.  She was born and raised in Paris, and at 88 years old it appears she still lives there.  Not only is she a killer guitarist and singer, but she does so in 11 different languages, and can actually speak six of them.  The interweb also tells me she's an actress and dancer, but I haven't checked that out as of yet.  What you should check out though is this video of her and Jack playing together on "That Old Black Magic".  Dig the big ol' Rogers kit, too.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Dig This - Edu Ribeiro's playlist

One of the few e-mail subscriptions I still allow to get through to my inbox is that of Edu Ribeiro, one of my favorite drummers.  Recently, Edu sent a list of seven of his favorite recordings and drummers.  It reads like a who's who of Brazilian artists and drummers, including some of my own personal favorites, and even one I must admit I wasn't really familiar with.  Check it out....

Tutty Moreno - Forças d'Alma

Tutty is one of my biggest influences (and according to Edu, his single biggest).  His touch and feel are magical, and he plays samba in a unique fashion that is like absolutely no one else.  He's most often heard on the albums of his wife, Joyce, but here Edu chose Tutty's solo album from 1998.  Edu goes on to say that he had the opportunity to buy Tutty's kit.  I believe the one on the cover of this album may have been the one that Edu now owns and can be seen playing in certain YouTube videos.

Raul de Souza - A Vontade Mesmo

This is a great Samba Jazz record from the 60s that I only discovered about a year ago.  At the time didn't even realize that it was Airto on drums, because it sounds so different to the Airto we've all gotten to know with the huge percussion setup.  Here he's playing a standard drum set in a jazz setting.

Egberto Gismonti - Em Família

Most of my experience with Egberto Gismonti has been through his records on the ECM label.  But this is an early 80s EMI record that I hadn't heard before.  It features Nenê on drums, who, according to Edu, "pioneered this approach to bring the percussion rhythms to the drum set"

Edison Machado - É samba novo

This is an album that is very near and dear to me.  When I was first having my mind blown by Brazilian music, composer Flavio Chamis was helping me with my graduate research and introduced me to this album and explained it's importance.  It remains one of my personal favorites.  Edu says:
The origin of Samba Jazz!  This is a photography of new style coming up from the clubs in Rio at Beco das Garrafas.  Edison playing is high energy.  The sidemen are amazing too: Paulo Moura is playing saxophone, Raul de Souza is there too! 

Rosa Passos - Pano para manga

Rosa Passos is such a treasure of this music.  She personifies that Brazilian feel that is incredibly intense and driving while somehow very light and relaxed at the same time.  This album features Erivelton Silva on drums.

Elis Regina and Tom Jobim - Elis e Tom

Don't need to say much about this one.  You've heard me talk about it before.  The collaboration of one of Brazil's finest composers with one of it's finest singers, and behind the scenes is one of it's finest drummers, Paulo Braga.

Celso de Almeida Trio - Sambalanço

This is a relatively new release of a drummer Celso de Almeida, who, right there with Edu, is one of the finest samba drummers alive today.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

New blog on the block

Kyle Andrews, a great young drummer from West Virginia, now has his own blog over at  Kyle studied at West Virginia Wesleyan College with my good friend James Moore and went on to do a Masters at Indiana University.  He is now freelancing in Philadelphia, and no doubt tearing it up as he is a very fine drummer.  Kyle has some great knowledge to drop, so do swing by and check out the new blog.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Articulation Control with Paradiddles

At the moment I have a couple of students working on Wilcoxon’s “Paradiddle Johnnie” from “Modern Rudimental Swing Solos”.  Both of them are playing really well, but are finding it difficult to control their stick heights/volume so that there is only two distinct levels of sound - accent and unaccented.

In passages such as this one, in “Paradiddle Johnnie”…

…the students are unintentionally producing a third sound by giving additional weight, or emphasis to unaccented notes that fall on a downbeat.  What comes out is a sound that is softer than an accent, but louder that a tap stroke.

So, to help remedy this, I whipped up a simple paradiddle exercise that isolates those phrases, and other ones similar to it.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Weekly Wisdom

As I mentioned the other day, I recently got to catch up with my old college friend, Mike Dawson.  Being the managing editor at Modern Drummer, Mike is a pretty well connected guy, and therefore has a lot of great stories about different drummers.  Last week he told me a great story about one of our mutually favorite drummers, Steve Jordan.  Mike was interviewing Steve and was hoping for a long, deep answer when he asked, "How do you know if what you're playing is really grooving?"  Mike told me that Steve leaned his head forward, looked over the top of his sunglasses, and said,

"Man, if you have to ask that question, it's not really groovin'"