Monday, March 28, 2022

Joe Henderson Quartet 1994

Programming Note: Well it's definitely Monday. :( Seems I can't post this on the blog, but please use below as a link to watch this incredible footage. I promise it'll be worth it!  

Wow! This is a great set from one of Joe Henderson's great working bands with Al Foster, George Mraz, and Bheki Mseleku. Al Foster is such a great example of someone who really found his own voice. It's also worth noting how "common" all the tunes they play are, and how often they (especially Joe) played them. Just goes to show that's it's not the tune, but the person playing it! Enjoy.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Paradiddle Madness!

 I have spent a LOT of time over the years working on Paradiddles and Paradiddle Inversions. What I haven't spent as much time on, is Double and Triple Paradiddles.

So, quick review.

Double Paradiddles are RLRLRR LRLRLL so if we want to play them in a very "consonant" and non-over the bar way, they work great as triplets or in 3/4.

Triple Paradiddles are RLRLRLRR LRLRLRLL (although we could certainly start both of these rudiments on the left hand as well.) This sticking adds up to a bar of 4/4 on each side of it, so that works quite well to start with.

Here are a few ways I used these rudiments. Most of them voiced around the drum set and quite a few of them going over the bar. Note I didn't film most of these or even write them out, but you will benefit from filling in the blanks on these yourself, as well as coming up with your own ideas.

1. Triple in 8th notes in 3/4

2. Triple in triplets in 4/4 and 3/4 (add whatever foot patterns feel represent these time signatures).

3. Doubles in 8th notes in 4/4.

4. Doubles and Triples in 8th notes in 4/4 w/ dotted 8th notes in bass drum.

5. "         ""           in hi-hat. ( BD plays quarters)

6. 4-5 in Triplets

7. 4-6 in 3/4 time.

8. 4-7 with 7 beat on again/off again BD pattern.

So, as usual, there's tons of work to do.

We can also play with putting in accents that don't naturally go with the stickings. Try playing double paradiddles in 8th notes in 4/4 but only accent in half notes. Or here's a fun one. This is a Triple Paradiddle w/LH on snare and RH on hi-hat with dotted quarter accents and a 2-beat feel in the feet. It has a sort of relentless feel that I like, and seems to get more powerful the quieter I play it. As always, play for the music and be kind and gentle with yourself.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Thoughts on over the barline playing

 Basically, relate everything to the tune you're playing.

Here it is in more detail…..

Monday, March 7, 2022

Embracing matched grip

 I have mentioned before that I am exclusively a matched grip player. Except for a very brief period in my early 20s, I haven't even attempted to play traditional grip. When I experimented with conventional grip I realized that I would have to practice incredibly hard to even get it to a passible level, and I decided to focus on other things. I have nothing against anyone playing trad grip, or switching to it. It does drive me a little crazy however, when people try to associate a grip with a style of music. Lots of great Rock players play traditional, lots of wonderful Jazz players play matched. I wish that was the end of the discussion, but far from it!

Lots of trad players (especially American ones)  justify what they're doing as part of a legacy. I also think it's a way drummers demonstrate how much time they've spent with the instrument by learning the "harder' grip, and maybe playing matched as well. I've argued against these points until I'm blue in the face, so I won't bother to do it again. I will, however mention a few advantages that matched grip has that maybe don't get mentioned that much…….

1.) Matched grip is a much more "elemental" way of holding the sticks.

Yes, obviously it's easier to play louder but rather I'm talking about getting in touch with the first instinct someone has when they pick up the sticks. If someone has never seen someone play traditional grip, there's NO WAY they will grab the sticks in that fashion the first time they play. Even if they have seen someone play trad grip before, they invariably get it wrong. The first person to ever play drums with sticks played like Ringo, like it or not! To play matched is to be in touch with the primitive, non-intellectual, and emotional beginnings of the instrument!

2. One hand can "teach" the other.

Because both sticks are held the same way, if you do something you like with one hand, you can mimic it to learn it with the other. I recently realized I had a better way of choking cymbals with my RH, so I'm setting about teaching my LH to do the same…… (See video below.)

Once again, I think it's very important for me to stress I have nothing against traditional grip and the many great drummers who play that way. I just feel that lately, matched grip is being viewed in a somewhat limited way by the drumming cognoscente. What ever way you hold the sticks, play the crap out of the music! That's the important part! :)