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  #1  
Old 05-18-2009, 09:01 PM
MoreCowbell!! MoreCowbell!! is offline
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Default Got any jazz drumming tips?

So, i have just begun playing jazz and i'm just loving it! Anyways i was just wondering, Do you guys have any tips or tricks regarding jazz drumming?
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:11 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Hey, good for you.. I think step one is to accept that you're in for a challenge, but definitely a good one! Start working on your swing feel on the ride at all different tempos -and play just the simple ride swing pattern with the hi hat on 2 and 4 along to as many jazz tunes as possible. Try out exercises for getting your snare and bass drum involved with "comping" (if you dunno what that means look it up on different forums to check it out from different angles) - there are great exercises in Jim Chapin's book (Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer), John Riley's book (Art of the Bop Drummer), John Ramsay's book (The Drummer's Vocabulary - teaching's of Alan Dawson) and there are lots of exercises which can be applied to the book Syncopation which you can find in thread on this forum. Get a "Real Book" and start learning tunes on piano (if you can't play any piano, get a teacher or book or some help online).. it's really really important to understand the melody and form of the tunes you'll play and makes you so much more involved in the music and sympathetic to the rest of the band - it's much more fun and musical when you begin to really understand what's going on with the harmony around you. Once you've got the melody together, try some of the advice for soloing given in John Ramsay's book! If you can, get a good teacher!

Ask anyone and everyone for advice..... start checking out local jazz jam sessions if you have any nearby.

Probably most importantly... just listen to loads and loads of jazz and immerce yourself in the genre, if you're into it already then you'll probably find you get more and more into it until the point you live and breathe it!

I'm personally still in the stage of asking anyone and everyone for advice - the people on this forum are really really helpful so over to them for any further info. All the best :)
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Originally Posted by MoreCowbell!! View Post
So, i have just begun playing jazz and i'm just loving it! Anyways i was just wondering, Do you guys have any tips or tricks regarding jazz drumming?
There are so many things that are called jazz these days that it's hard to know what jazz means anymore. Do you mean bebop? Fusion? Smooth jazz? What kind of jazz are you refering to?
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:10 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

I would find a jazz specific instructor, one that leans that way.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:13 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Regarding Jazz drumming, check:

http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Kenny_Clarke.html

http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Cozy_Cole.html

PS: Use the ride cymbal for timekeeping and the left hand and right foot for accents, or the other way, if you are a leftie.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:43 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

One thing to work on is keeping your ride, hihat, and snare at the same volume and tapping the bass drum at a much softer volume level, of course playing the bass only on 1,2,3,4.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Stare at your ride cymbal for a couple of years.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

As with learning any genre, listen to several tons of jazz, for a long time.

For something specific, check out Ian Froman's video lessons on youtube. There are 5 short vids. They are simple but enlightening lessons.
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

as i hard rock drummer i've always found jazz to be challenging. i've been really working on it lately and making some solid progress. here are some things i've learned.

in jazz, the emphasis is on the ride cymbal and hats. the snare is mostly for light "comping" (accompanyment). and the bass drum is played lightly except for accents. the toms are played very differently than with rock music. don't hit them hard at all and don't be afraid to play cool sounding rudimental things on them. rudiments are a big part of jazz playing.

you need to be able to play with brushes, which is an art unto itself. i'd offer some advice but frankly i suck with brushes.

play lightly and think about feel and touch. those are the most important things.

when someone else is playing a solo, play lightly and compliment what they're playing but don't draw attention to what you're doing. you'll get your chance to solo later.

think about the structure of the tune while playing. most jazz tunes start out with a basic melody called the "head". as the song progresses everyone usually takes turns soloing, but while they're soloing they're essentially playing variations on the head melody. you need to think about the melody too while accompanying and soloing. (my drum teacher taught me that!)
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

LISTEN! LISTEN TO JAZZ MUSIC!!
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

I like Antonio Sanchez's idea of musical "accents" - try have an authentic accent when speaking a foreign language; try to have a rock accent when playing rock, a jazz accent when playing jazz...... etc.

This may sound either slightly bizarre at first, or blindingly obvious - but for instance, try not to really punctuate the 1 and 3 on the ride as you might do in rock... you know,
spang, spangalang, spangalang etc., rather than SPANG, spangaLANG, spangaLANG.
Or playing an accented snare stroke on 2 and 4 every single bar when playing bop... you get the idea.

That concept has really helped me sound more authentic when branching into different genres.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

The incorrect ride cymbal accent you describe is accenting 1 and 3, which I agree is a bad idea. Pushing the quarter note (i.e. 1, 2, 3 and 4) and keeping the skip beat quieter is a VERY common approach to the ride cymbal. More contemporary players - like Ian Froman mentioned above, Bill Stewart, etc. - use a lot of strong quarters in their ride cymbal patterns. It anchors the band and reflects what the bass player is usually doing, which is its primary purpose, afterall.

My advice to the OP - listen, listen, listen and listen to some more jazz. Go see as much live jazz as you can get yourself to. Find yourself a jazz-centric instructor to introduce you to fundamental techniques and concepts. And try to hear the music from the bottom up - the bass line is your new personal God.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Stare at your ride cymbal for a couple of years.
ROFL....but in any joke there is a grain of truth...I could play technique, but I had no idea of why jazzdrummers are combing that way...when I played jazz, as a beginner, I was bored of myself having no ideas....and so I practised like this, and I still do once a while: I popped in a CD (those days a wax), sat on my set with headphones on, place my hands to where they belong, but I do not play anything. I just close my eyes and listen, imagining I was the drummer playing, ..this helped me a lot.
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Get a MBA from a big university or marry a woman with a fantastic career.

Last edited by eardrum; 05-24-2009 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Stay the course and don't get discouraged..I won't tell you the long list of technical stuff to do to get better and improve as plenty of other fine folks on here will surely tell you...I'll just say to stick with it as I have and to work and hard study but try to go to the best guys you can..I am still taking lessons at 43 and this last year, my playing has changed dramatically..If I hadn't hung in there I would never have gotten this far and I see some great days/yrs of improvement ahead..I started as a Rock drummer, I pretty bad one at that..Now, I play for a living different types of gigs including Jazz gigs and I sound like and a Jazz Drummer when I play Jazz...It took a long time and a lot of hard work and I ain't done yet...Shit! I feel like I'm just getting started...Enjoy...

Last edited by paramac; 05-26-2009 at 09:35 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:31 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Get a MBA from a big university or marry a woman with a fantastic career.
Lol! Those are two things I overlooked! Dammit! Good advice though....
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  #17  
Old 05-26-2009, 09:33 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Stare at your ride cymbal for a couple of years.
Ha! Good advice! At least a couple of yrs...................... Or decades! That ride cymbal is a bitch! Lol!

Last edited by paramac; 05-26-2009 at 09:34 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:40 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

I've also had a rock background and just starting out with playing jazz in a band rather than just play along with jazz records or occasionally touch on the fringe of the genre as I did in the past. The biggest difference I see so far, apart from volume, is that jazz asks for more nimbleness with accents than rock does.

Lucky for me, the other musos come from a folk and/or blues background - no serious jazzers - and we're playing simple music with lots of Nina Simone numbers. It's still a learning curve but a fun one. Brushes are great. I love being able to practice at home without annoying neighbours. I use a stomp box instead of a bass drum, both at home and otherwise, so I don't have to worry about volume. It's not suited to fancy playing but great to lug. I keep it at a very low volume so it's often more of a presence at the bottom end than overtly in the mix.

What I'm finding hardest is controlling the left hand brush sweep while adding right hand accents. I've looked at quite a few videos and have improved since I started a couple of months ago, so I guess the problem will get sorted out with more practice. At present I feel most comfortable just aiming to keep clean time and to use space to advantage, just with the occasional kick.
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Great for you, jazz playing is not only challengin, but also smooth and very, very fun. A good tip is getting the Ted Reed's Syncopation, and start to play the melodies in the snare. In John Ramsay's book, there are 40 ways of applying that set of exercises to jazz drumming.

For brushes playing, I find very hard to read the brush notation, so I got the Clayton Cameron DVD, which is great.
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Wow, if you're just beginning I would suggest picking a genre or drummer to emulate. There's just too much to try and learn it all at once. Roach's loose phrasing, to Weckl's fusion, to Williams technique and ability to come into and out of polyrhythms that don't neatly go full circle and resolve themselves on 1. There's just too much, but you can't go wrong with starting with the be-bop era drummers. Some I'm sure disagree, but if you can play the basics of be-bop, you should be able to play something for almost everything because of the strong "jazz" feel.. Listen, Listen, Listen and the Listen some more.
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

You need to listen and listen and then listen some more. Here are 3 CDs that you must own (among many others, these just come to mind first):

Chick Corea - Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Roy Haynes on drums)
John Coltrane - My Favorite Things (Elvin Jones on drums)
Art Pepper - Art Pepper + Eleven (Mel Lewis on drums)

Listen to them over and over and over..........
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:09 PM
donv donv is offline
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

[quote=willieboy_sf;579566]

Chick Corea - Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Roy Haynes on drums)
John Coltrane - My Favorite Things (Elvin Jones on drums)
Art Pepper - Art Pepper + Eleven (Mel Lewis on drums)

QUOTE]

Great choices but I would add, Brubecks, Take Five Live and Miles Davis, Bitches Brew. If this starts, it would be one long list.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Originally Posted by willieboy_sf View Post
Art Pepper - Art Pepper + Eleven (Mel Lewis on drums)

Listen to them over and over and over..........
Someones else likes Pepper too, Yaaaaay!! Have you heard Landscape? with Billy Higgins on drums. Landmark stuff!!
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:00 PM
Loui Loui is offline
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Miles Davis Kind of Blue


There are some records that you will find very hard to listen, I mean, free jazz is kinda hard to listen at a first glance.
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Use traditional grip. Something about it makes jazz playing much more natural.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Use traditional grip. Something about it makes jazz playing much more natural.
Thats such a debatable statement. There are plenty of guys playing some great stuff using matched grip.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:15 PM
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Thats such a debatable statement. There are plenty of guys playing some great stuff using matched grip.
I agree, but it does seem that most of the more fluid jazz drummers use a traditional grip. Minnimann--spelling?--is fast and great, but hit's his rims all the time, hit's sticks together and breaks sticks alot. Cobham a great drummer, but his dynamics just don't sound even, consistent. I could go on.

It doesn't make sense, but it does seem to be the reality.Nuture or nature?

Last edited by donv; 05-27-2009 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Originally Posted by donv View Post
I agree, but it does seem that most of the more fluid jazz drummers use a traditional grip. Minnimann--spelling?--is fast and great, but hit's his rims all the time, hit's sticks together and breaks sticks alot. Cobham a great drummer, but his dynamics just don't sound even consistent. I could go on.

It doesn't make sense, but it does seem to be the reality.Nuture or nature?
No, it doesn't make sense, and I know many trad grip jazz drummers with very little fluidity, ease etc. It's just an opinion you have formed, that's all....

By, the way, Bill Stewart, ever heard of him? that should pretty much close the subject for now.....

Casper
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Originally Posted by Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan View Post
No, it doesn't make sense, and I know many trad grip jazz drummers with very little fluidity, ease etc. It's just an opinion you have formed, that's all....

By, the way, Bill Stewart, ever heard of him? that should pretty much close the subject for now.....

Casper
Casper,

Ouch! Again I agree. I've heard a lot of traditional grip jazz drummers that aren't fluid. I was thinking of a certain tier of drummers where that's not an issue. Also for matched gip I said most. I didn't say all.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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Originally Posted by donv View Post
I agree, but it does seem that most of the more fluid jazz drummers use a traditional grip. Minnimann--spelling?--is fast and great, but hit's his rims all the time, hit's sticks together and breaks sticks alot. Cobham a great drummer, but his dynamics just don't sound even, consistent. I could go on.

It doesn't make sense, but it does seem to be the reality.Nuture or nature?
Well first listen to Eric Harland play and then come back and talk to me about his lack of fluidity. Youre talking fusion drummers with Cobham and Minniman anyways.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:08 PM
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Well first listen to Eric Harland play and then come back and talk to me about his lack of fluidity. Youre talking fusion drummers with Cobham and Minniman anyways.
I'm generally not a trad grip player, but I stick to the "most". Make a list. Traditional on one side and matched on the other and see which side of the list is longer. As said by Casper, it's my opinion and I'm sticking to it! lol

I do place fusion in the jazz genre.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:53 PM
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Someones else likes Pepper too, Yaaaaay!! Have you heard Landscape? with Billy Higgins on drums. Landmark stuff!!
Art Pepper was an amazing musician. A giant. As good as anybody, including Charlie Parker. What a shame that he's almost forgotten, at least among non-musicians.
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:39 AM
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Well first listen to Eric Harland play and then come back and talk to me about his lack of fluidity. Youre talking fusion drummers with Cobham and Minniman anyways.
Zakir Hussain, who has played with Harland ( I think they've recorded together too ) thinks he is the baddest drum kit player he's ever played with. And he has played with a few great ones..Harland IS incredible!


Here he is with Charles LLoyd, with Bob Hurst's incredible solo follow by Eric's ....:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pmMT3HTtjM

Last edited by aydee; 05-28-2009 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

I don't mind the idea of choosing a jazz drummer (or drummers) to be musical role models. However, Ithe players mentioned are pretty flash!

I'm wondering about perhaps a more manageable role model. Is there such a thing as the jazz equivalent to Ringo or Charlie Watts? You know ... jazz drummers who play more simply than most but who display good taste and syle?
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:35 AM
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There are some records that you will find very hard to listen, I mean, free jazz is kinda hard to listen at a first glance.


I agree.

Unless you start in a live setting with really great players. I have a lot of friends who are into it after stumbling upon a live show here and there in NYC/Chicago.


Listen to as much music as you can. If you like an artist (not just drummer) - go find 10 more albums with that guy on it - and keep doing that. Keep branching out and discovering new players, new styles of play, etc. (those 60's Blue Note albums are a great place to get to - Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Grant Green, Joe Henderson, Horace Silver, Jazz Messengers, etc etc etc). Listen to what's going on in the music, and listen to what each player is providing the moment. What kind of bass line is going on? What's the drummer giving the group? Pianist? What's the instrumentation? Full rhythm section? If not, listen to how the drummer provides the time as opposed to another recording w/different instrumentation. Is the bassist providing a walking line or something more broken up? how's the drummer augmenting this?

play along to those albums. Play along to every single one. Every song. Don't skip the ballads - get into the ballads! Try playing like the drummer. Try doing your own thing. (these last two items will take a while to get to - I'm getting ahead of myself...let's backtrack)

Practice practice practice! I started my jazz excursions with Jim Chapin's book and eventually found my way to the Alan Dawson stuff using Syncopation and Stick Control (someone else mentioned Ramsay's book - probably the best thing you could pick up in terms of books) and still working on the first exercises.

ALWAYS WORK ON YOUR FUNDAMENTALS. There's a reason Tim Duncan is one of the greatest power forward/centers of all time (he is) - and it's his ridiculous fundamentals he developed. When I studied with Nasheet Waits (8-9 years ago), he said "great hands. no fundamentals to know what to do with them" - and demonstrated by playing very basic jazz things at ridiculous tempos and they sounded so damned good - I thought "Wow, I have so much to work on" and it was the stuff I always thumbed my nose at or avoided: FUNDAMENTALS. Feather that bass drum '4 on the floor' - get those hats crackin' - 2 & 4 and all 4 - try fast try slow - try different dynamics. Make sure the ride has good articulation (controlled by the pressure of the fingers/grip). Get those basics going and get them *sounding good*. I'll hear someone "play jazz" and think "Nope! Not happenin'!" Get those basics sounding good and then the comping will come a little more naturally. And everything will be happening on a solid foundation that you can choose to stick with or move away from - but it's always there. After Nasheet told me that line, I remember practicing the basics for 10 hours a day for months and months straight - ignored everything else and just did basics. He told me he worked on that first page of Syncopation for years - just fundamentals - and that floored me. Here he is doing all sorts of crazy stuff and it came from working on the simplest stuff... I remember seeing Yoron Israel play at this camp a few years before the Nasheet stuff and seeing him playing all this crazy stuff and keeping the feathering going the whole time except to bust out some bombs on the bass drum here and there and going back to feathering without missing a beat - and being thoroughly impressed - but didn't [at the time] equate that into something I needed to work towards...not sure why...

I listened to an old All-State jazz CD a while back (ah nostalgia!) and thinking "My gawd, I sound so thin...so just-barely-getting-by" and the other drummer (they take two every year) was leaps and bounds ahead of me (Connor Elmes - went to NEC and studied with Bob Moses - great player). That was my wake-up call, like "Okay, there's more to this jazz thing and I need to learn it now!" That summer (17 years old) was when I started really hitting the books. Also when I was finally introduced to Elvin Jones via Robert Kaufman (thanks Bob!)


Listen.
Practice.
Play.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

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I'm wondering about perhaps a more manageable role model. Is there such a thing as the jazz equivalent to Ringo or Charlie Watts? You know ... jazz drummers who play more simply than most but who display good taste and syle?
Grady Tate.
Charli/e Persip.
Donald Bailey.
Al Harewood.
Joe Dukes.

I'd start there.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

http://drummerworld.com/Videos/Herlin_Riley_ramble.html
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  #38  
Old 05-28-2009, 08:39 PM
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slingerland755 slingerland755 is offline
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Zakir Hussain, who has played with Harland ( I think they've recorded together too ) thinks he is the baddest drum kit player he's ever played with. And he has played with a few great ones..Harland IS incredible!


Here he is with Charles LLoyd, with Bob Hurst's incredible solo follow by Eric's ....:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pmMT3HTtjM
Abe,
There's a new generation out there. Incredible!
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  #39  
Old 05-29-2009, 09:48 AM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Quote:
Grady Tate.
Charli/e Persip.
Donald Bailey.
Al Harewood.
Joe Dukes.

I'd start there.
Great - thanks Colonol! Which of those guys would you say is the least technically advanced? :)
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  #40  
Old 05-29-2009, 10:19 AM
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brittc89 brittc89 is offline
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Default Re: Got any jazz drumming tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Zakir Hussain, who has played with Harland ( I think they've recorded together too ) thinks he is the baddest drum kit player he's ever played with. And he has played with a few great ones..Harland IS incredible!


Here he is with Charles LLoyd, with Bob Hurst's incredible solo follow by Eric's ....:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pmMT3HTtjM
Oh yeah man, check out Sangam, the Charles Lloyd record. Its just Lloyd, Harland, and Zakir. Sooooo good.
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