Friday, March 22, 2024

Jacob Collier - "Djesse Vol. 4"

Now that it's been released I'm allowed to tell you that I had the great pleasure last year to spend an evening in the studio with Jacob Collier to play a very small part in recording his newest record, Djesse Vol. 4.  No drumming, I'm afraid, but I do appear on two tracks singing backing vocals and doing hand claps.  The vocal track features rhythms from all over the world segued seamlessly from one to the next, as seen in the very cool video at the link below.

Unfortunately, embedding was disabled, but you can still check it out on YouTube:

Monday, March 18, 2024

Groove Transcription - Steve Gadd, "Lenore"

This is one of the first Chick Corea tunes I ever heard.  As a clueless 18-year-old jazz studies major I was told I should check out Chick Corea.  So, I went out and got Verve Jazz Masters 3 - Chick Corea, a greatest hits collection featuring "You're Everything", "Spain", and a number of other Chick classics.  I remember really loving "Lenore", but it wasn't until many years later that I realized how hip the drum grooves were.

In the A section Steve Gadd plays open-handed, with his left hand on the hi-hat, much like he does on "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and other signature grooves of his.

A few times later in the tune he drops his left hand down to the snare on the & of 3, which makes a nice variation.

Now, even the most cursory of searches will show you that I'm not the first person to transcribe or write about this groove, not by a long shot.  But most people seem to focus solely on that first part and fail to talk about how super hip the groove is in the next section.  It's pseudo-linear, with hard-driving accents on the pulse.

Towards the end there's considerably more improvising, but as it builds in density we hear something more like this.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Joel Rothman

Right around Christmas I got a message from the prolific drum book author, Joel Rothman, introducing himself and asking if I'd like to check out some of his books.  I was already familiar with some of Joel's work, and had used his book Basic Drumming back when I first started teaching as a good catch-all book that would cover a lot of topics and last beginner students for a couple of years.  What I didn't know, however, was that not only has Joel been living in London for the last 40 years, but he lives a mere 15 minutes from me.
So, a few weeks ago, Joel invited me to his home and we spent a couple hours talking about drumming, teaching, living in the UK as an American, etc. etc.  And he very kindly gave me a great selection over his more than 100 books.  I'm looking forward to spending some time with them.  I hope work my way through some of them in the coming months and will let you know what I find.

You can find out more about Joel on his website,, and many of his books are available from Hudson Music.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

Transcription - Enéas Costa, "Sonho Meu"

Enéas Costa is a real mystery as best as I can tell.  His discography is impressive, having recorded with the likes of Gal Costa, Chico Buarque, Edu Lobo, and Caetano Veloso. But I've never been able to find out much else about him; where he is/was from, whether he's still alive, nothing.  The only thing I've ever found is one picture which supposedly shows him playing with the great saxophonist J.T. Mereilles, and bassist Luizão Maia, who played with Elis Regina for many years.

But we can certainly hear a lot of him, because his name appears on many an album credit.  In addition to the names above, Costa also did considerable work with Maria Bethânia.  Here he is playing the standard "Sonho Meu", from Bethânia's album Álibi.  This recording also features Gal Costa on vocals, Rosinha de Valença on guitar and cavaquinho, the aforementioned Luizão Maia on bass, and a young Tutty Moreno on percussion.

I've done a traditional note-for-note transcription, but below that is a simplified version, which just shows the comping pattern, which is the real sauce of the phrasing and what we're likely most interested in gleaning from a transcription of this nature.  You can then play along with the recording with brushes, a tamborim, whatever you like, really.

Simplified version: