Re: John Riley
Yes, it is a great book. Lately, I have just become obsessed with playing where I am at, and not trying to overreach: On the pad, I don't go for speed as much anymore, because Dom Famularo told me that neither he nor many of his pro buddies practice speed per se; they practice endurance and control. So for instance, the pumping motion (Moeller). I play this for 30 minutes, but the goal used to be to eventually break my own record, even if I could only hold it for a couple of seconds. I assumed that at lower speeds I could keep it going forever. But now I go to a lower tempo, and keep doing that for 10 minutes. It has already helped me discover new facility and relaxation, and I know this will translate into speed, because the hands just feel better.
Same thing with the ride beat. One can argue what is the most important instrument on the drum kit in jazz, but certainly the ride cymbal is a powerful driving force in the music. As Steve Smith says, in(ter)dependence is not about being able to play a lot of disjointed melodies, it is about the ride "playing itself" to allow you to play other stuff on the snare and other instruments. This takes years. The ride pattern that Riley talks about is a series of up, down, and full strokes. So, if you haven't played the free stroke a lot, your ride won't sound so good. If your control strokes are not developed, the skip not won't be skipped so well, and the overall feeling will suffer. And people will feel it.
Now, how do you then learn the ride pattern: by taking a year or two to get the strokes right individually. Of course, this will quickly help all aspects of your drumming in all styles, but the point is: just playing the ride pattern for a long time only helps if you are there. If you are not, go back. Don't worry about independence, don't worry about the ride pattern, learn * the * strokes.
When I say "you" above, I am speaking mostly to the "me" of three years ago, by the way. I had been playing for 20 years before taking the step back, so I am probably the guiltiest person in the room. DPS