Saturday, February 22, 2014

Transcription - Cuca Teixeira, "Recado"

Everybody knows that Brazil is a hot spot of rhythm and percussion.  Besides the amazing pandeiristas and percussionists, as well as the bateria sections of Rio's samba schools, Brazil has got some absolutely killer drum set players; players who we in the northern hemisphere often don't get to see or hear much from. I would venture to say that some of the greatest drummers alive today are from Brazil.  Guys like Marcio Bahia, Kiko Freitas and Edu Ribeiro are at the top of their game.

One of the most in demand drummers in Brazil today is Cuca Teixeira.  He's a highly sought side man, having worked with Hermeto Pascoal, Marina Lima, Paula Lima, Michel Leme, Thiago Espírito Santo, and Jane Duboc.  Arguably his biggest gig for the past ten years, however, and the one he is probably most known for, has been as drummer for Maria Rita.

Rita is the daughter of the late singer Elis Regina, and pianist/composer/producer extraordinaire César Camargo Mariano, and is an absolute super star in Brazil at the moment.  And rightfully so.

Cuca's first recording with Maria Rita was her second release, aptly titled "Segundo".  The album's second track, titled "Recado" features some of Cuca's best work.  Check out the way he splits the syncopated Partito Alto rhythm between the rim click and accents on the hi-hat.  I think my favorite aspect of his playing here, besides the incredibly deep pocket, is the patience with which he gets through the tune.  As the song intensifies from the piano solo to the end many of us would be tempted to open up to a ride cymbal and snare drum.  But Teixeira stays right at home on the hi-hat and rim click, building intensity with a confident subtlety that many drummers lack.  This track certainly changed the way I think when someone calls a samba.

For a PDF version of the transcription, please send me an e-mail.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekly Wisdom

There is debate over exactly who said this quote.  Most people say that it was South African golfer Gary Player.  Others say that he got the phrase from fellow golfer Jerry Barber.  There are also variations on the quote.  Regardless of who said it, and what the exact wording is, the idea is the same, and oh so true.

"The harder I work, the luckier I get."

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Solo Transcription - Art Blakey, "Alison's Uncle"

Here is a solo by fellow Pittsburgher, Art Blakey.  The tune, "Alison's Uncle" appears on a reissue of Cannonball Adderley's album Somethin' Else.  If you have the record, the track might also be titled "Bangoon".  Many of those "Top 100", "Most Important Jazz Albums", or "1000 to Hear Before You Die" lists puts Somethin' Else right up near the top.


Besides Blakey - as if you need anyone else - it features Miles in one of his rare sideman gigs.  From the mid-50s onward, he mostly led his own groups, and didn't appear on many other musicians' recordings.  It also features bassist Sam Jones, and pianist Hank Jones.  The two are not related, but the latter is the big brother of drummer, Elvin, and big band legend, Thad.

Blakey plays through the end of most of the phrases here and into the first few beats, or even full bar, of the next section.  However, the same figure he plays at the end of the first bar - three up-beats, followed by a triplet - appears in the same place at the top of the bridge, and again halfway through the bridge, marking out the form quite nicely.

I'm not 100% sure of the stickings here.  Personally, I play the majority of the triplet figures as paradiddlediddles, but it could well be singles.  What do you think?

Monday, February 03, 2014

Weekly Wisdom

"I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame.  I simply follow my own feelings."

- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart