A couple of my students have been working on Allison Miller's Latin bell patterns with Syncopation idea that I posted last year, where we play some sort of constant latin groove with both feet and the left hand and then read "Syncopation Set 2", or page 38 with the right hand. Be sure to revisit the original post if you're not sure what I'm talking about.
This got me to thinking about how I could apply this to samba and Bossa Nova drumming. If you remember from some of the posts on samba rhythms, particularly Partido Alto or Telecoteco, the underlying rhythms in samba generally have an "up" side and a "down" side. The phrase then goes UP, DOWN, DOWN, UP or DOWN, UP, UP, DOWN. It suddenly struck me that if we take each bar in Syncopation and play beats 1, 2, 3, 4 and then follow it with beats 3, 4, 1, 2 we end up with a similar "up" and "down" pattern. For example, in "Syncopation Set 2" number one looks like this:
If we play that bar as written, and then immediately follow it with beats 3, 4, 1, 2 we get this:
Now that's looking a lot like a phrase we would expect to see in samba, especially if you think of it as 16th notes in 2/4:
You can now use that rhythm the same way you would any other telecoteco rhythm. Put it in your left hand behind a hi-hat/ride cymbal ostinato, or put it in your right hand behind a samba groove. As always, you can reach for the "Jazz Samba Builder", or some of the Kiko Freitas samba ideas. If a note appears in parenthesis try playing it the first time only and leaving it out each subsequent time it goes by. It will feel even more like a true samba phrase.
Because some of the examples in Syncopation are already reversed farther down the page we would end up with a lot of repetition. So I've gone through the four pages of "Syncopation Set 2" and written each example out as 16th notes in 2/4. Try it out in any of the ways mentioned above. Send me an e-mail for a PDF.