Friday, October 27, 2017

That Philly Joe Thing

Welp, I'd say it's high time for another Philly Joe Phriday.  Today I'm going to pull out my Jazz Police badge and sound a bit like a crotchety old man.  And I'm directing most of the "get off my lawn!" to the bassists out there.

There's a very cool thing that Philly Joe does quite a bit, that very few other drummers used.  This is one of the most noticeable defining characteristics of Jones' playing, and it's really quite simple.

Often times, as a solo builds in intensity, Philly Joe will play his hi-hat double time.  That's about it.  Yeah, the ride pattern tightens up a bit closer to 16th notes, and he sometimes accentuates the "a" of 2 and 4 on the snare, like so...

...but really everything is pretty much the same, save the hi-hat going double time.  It creates a nice momentum push without killing the groove.

The problem is, a LOT of bassists don't seem to be hip to this thing and damn near every time I try to do it the bassist just goes full on double time, and total kills my vibe.  Maybe that's my punishment for trying to do something that is so intrinsically Philly Joe, but damn it, I want to do it.  I suppose there may be an ever so slight change in the way the bassist needs to articulate their line, just as the ride cymbal feel will get tweaked a bit despite the fact that the rhythm is technically the same, but really, if you just keep walking it'll be cool.

Here is one of the most well-known examples.  Blue Train.  He does it in every solo.  The first time happens around 1:36.