Thursday, December 16, 2021

Afro-Cuban basics

Here's another back to basics sheet; a survival kit for playing Afro-Cuban music, or generic "Latin Jazz".  

It's a simple modular approach with three patterns for the right hand, three for the left hand, and three for the right foot.  If you can play each of these patterns with each of the others you'll be able to get through a lot of material on your average gig.

This is also a nice way to construct a simple arrangement.  When it comes time to head to a different part of a tune just change one element.  I feel that less experienced players often try to do too much.  The groove is the most important thing here, so keep it simple.  For example, let's say you're playing cascara together with clave, and the first bombo pattern.  When that next section comes up try keeping your right hand and right foot the same, but switching to one of the conga grooves with the left hand.  Often times one change like that does more than we realize and can really lift the tune without have to do much else.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Syncopation in 3/4

Here's a sheet to go with the 3/4 ride and hi-hat patterns from the other day.  Really it's just the phrases from "Syncopation Set 2" in Ted Reed's Syncopation with beats hacked off of it.

Try each of these with different ride and hi-hat combinations from the last sheet.  If you want to go deeper, Todd Bishop at Cruise Ship Drummer! has an entire book dedicated to Syncopation in 3/4.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Basic 3/4 ride and hi-hat combinations

I try not to post too much stuff here on the blog that is already widely available in a million other places, but I recently put this sheet together for a student and figured there was no harm in sharing it with all of you as well.  If nothing else maybe it will serve as a reminder to occasionally revisit the "basics".

I generally try to play through anything I give my students to make sure that A) the sheet is right, and B) I'm not asking them to do anything I haven't shed myself.  And funnily enough, while not difficult, this sheet showed me that there are certain ride and hi-hat combinations that just never made their way into my day-to-day playing.  It's not that I couldn't play them, but they just didn't feel as natural, especially when getting the left hand involved.  So it's been fun putting on Max Roach's Jazz in 3/4 Time and take these for a spin.