Originally Posted by ChuckSilverman
Great question...do you have a couple of years for some answers? You ask "what are the rules for creating phrases that expand upon the groove without destroying it?"
Well, there's this concept of "playing in clave" which is a key when playing Cuban music. It's not about actually playing the clave rhythm. It's more like really _knowing_ and/or _owning_ the subdivisions. Now that may seem a little "brainy" when it comes to actually playing music. So, let me say, it's a balance between a more organic approach, which translates to "feel", and the more "educated" approach when it comes to the concept of owning the subdivisions. (Is this making sense?)
A relatively easy way to begin:
1. Take the most basic of cáscara grooves and orchestrate this as a fill, perhaps ending on the last note of the "2-3" with a cymbal crash and rim shot. That would sound pretty good. (Try just the "3" part of the cáscara for a shorter pharse). Understood?
2. Here's a link to something I do and have done which is transcribe solos and then apply them to the drum set. Check this out, for inspiration:
Let me know if this helps you at all. I have a million more ideas...
Haha. Yeah, I know that question has a loooonggg answer :) I know what you're saying about playing 'in clave'. Orchestrating the cascara around the drumset is a great idea! That was the exact answer I was looking for. I will check out the transcription, as well. Thanks so much for the response!