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.

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