One of the big name Brazilian drummers I have yet to cover on this blog is Ivan "Mamão" Conti, from Azymuth. Mamão and Azymuth are probably best known for the tune "Partido Alto" which is now a jazz fusion standard and one of the first tunes to use the partido alto rhythm in the modernized drumset orchestration that can be heard on the track.
Conti phrases and orchestrates Brazilian rhythms in ways different to many of the other Brazilian drummers both old and new that we've looked at on the blog. I find that his playing is focused less on chops, and is not as busy as some other players. Part of this could be due to the fact that Azymuth don’t often play at extremely fast tempos, opting instead for more mid-tempo grooves. Also, despite the slower tempos I tend to hear less of the steady 16th note time keeping in favor of a more syncopated approach, which is exactly what we’re looking at today.
This transcription comes from the tune “Pulando Corda” on Azymuth's latest release which came out last year on the Jazz is Dead label.
As I mentioned earlier, Mamão foregoes the constant right hand 16th notes, and instead plays his own variation of telecoteco. The left hand then supports the right hand rhythm with occasional accents at various points in the bar. We’ve seen a somewhat similar approach by Edison Machado.
The phrases below were transcribed directly from the recording, and as you’ll see the second bar of the phrase rarely changes. But like most samba influenced music, these rhythms are directional meaning you can mix and match any of the first bars with any of the second bars as long as you stay on the right side of the rhythm.
Equally, you could change the direction by playing any of the second bars followed by any of the first bars.
Both of the above approaches are worth experimenting with, and you could even revisit this post and try a different telecoteco pattern in your right hand while playing around with different rhythmic placements of the left hand.