Thursday, June 25, 2020

Tony Williams-Style Flam Drags

Calling these "Tony Williams-Style Flam Drags" is potentially a bit unfair.  After all, Tony isn't the first or only person to play flam drags on the kit.  Actually, the ideas below seems to be quite in vogue at the moment. But Tony probably is one of the earlier players to split them around the kit in this fashion.  I have some students digging deep into Tony at the moment, and I've also been working on some transcriptions for a scholarly article being written at the University of Oregon, and have seen these flam drags pop up quite a few times.

Your basic flam drag, if you aren't already familiar, is a three-note phrase.  A flam, followed by a double stroke, and then a tap with alternating sticking, which we can group as triplets, or 8th/16th notes.

Another common way to play flam drags is to keep the rhythm the same, but change the sticking to that of a Swiss Army Triple.  RRL or LLR.  Even though the rhythm is exactly the same, the sticking gives it a different character.  This one, in particular, sits very nicely on the kit and is a lot of fun to play.

And if we change the sticking one more time, as well as the accent pattern, we get another interesting phrase that I've heard Tony do quite a bit.  This one is also quite common in the drum corp scene, and I believe they gave it one of those goofy names, but I don't recall what it is off the top of my head.

As always, these are just the stock versions of this rudiment and it's sticking variations.  Get creative and spend some time voicing it around the kit and in different parts of the bar.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Pandeiro transcription - Paulinho Félix, "Procura-se Um Amor"

As you might have guessed from my recent posting I've been playing a lot of pandeiro lately, specifically nylon pandeiro, which is a beast in it's own right compared to playing hide pandeiro.

This time around we're looking at the playing of Paulinho Félix.  In this tune Paulinho employs a lot of material pioneered by pandeiro legend Bira Presidente, who we'll look at in the next post.  However, he's taken Bira's language and expanded/modernized it which, again, we'll chat about soon.

If you followed along with the last pandeiro post, you should notice a lot of similarities in the shape of the tune: constant 16th notes in the verses, broken partido alto style playing in the choruses, hemiola used to create tension, and the almost obligatory triplet phrase.

Thiago Viégas, however, kept things a little bit tamer for the sake of demonstration where as Félix gets a little busier.  There's some fun stuff in here and the tempo is a little brighter, so it should be a little bit more of a workout if you're playing along at home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Mel Lewis Latin Groove

Here is a latin groove I've heard Mel Lewis play a few times.  This is very much a jazz-latin groove as it doesn't really stick to deep rooted practices of any particular rhythmic tradition.  And that's OK.  I love to nerd out on said rules and find one what makes various types of music tick, but that doesn't mean grooves like the one below are any less valid.  If anything, it's more true to the jazz tradition.  Jazz has always been a music of fusions; melding elements from various cultures to create something new.

Here Mel is playing your standard ride cymbal and hi-hat pattern with straight 8th notes.  The rim and tom voicings remind of an agogo pattern that you'd hear in old Brazilian recordings of singers like Carmen Miranda.  Whatever it is, or isn't, it's a cool and versatile groove worth checking out.