Tuesday, January 13, 2015

More thoughts on orchestration

During my recent Roy Haynes listening kick I was struck by how he uses static rhythmic functions like hi-hat on 2 and 4 sometimes but isn't bound by it. I think this is an area where my practicing hasn't reflected my reality. I would often practice ideas with my hands and sort of just "plug in" timekeeping with my feet, usually four on the bass drum and hi-hat on 2 and 4. The problem with always doing this while practicing is that isn't usually the way I play while playing modern Jazz. I tend to comp with the bass drum and hi-hat or sometimes leave them out all together. To that end, I 've started taking ideas that originate with my hands and practicing these various ways.

1) Hand pattern only.
2) Hand pattern with bass drum only playing some static pattern (four to the bar, 1 and 3, 2 and 4 etc.
3) Same as 2) but with hi-hat only with hand pattern.
4) Hands with feet playing various static patterns.
5) Hands with feet sometimes playing. (Try playing while thinking of an AABA tune, and only use your feet during the bridge).

This will also help  with being comfortable with more spaces in the ideas. Remember, independent coordination isn't just always putting things together and then having some of the limbs on "auto pilot"
 ( although it's important to be able to do that), it's also being aware of when a limb IS or ISN'T playing and doing that consciously to best serve the music. Just because we can play all the drum kit at once doesn't necessarily mean it makes the best sounds.

Give it a try and good luck!

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