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Old 05-02-2013, 12:57 AM
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brady brady is offline
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Default A few questions about jazz techniques

I'm honored to be counted amongst the jazzers on the forum but I've only been playing it for about 5 years or so, so there is much to learn. As there always will be...

I've gigged many times and have had quite a few years of lessons and a few private lessons from well known drummers. I say this just so you know a little more of the background.

After listening to countless records and deciphering drummers' techniques, I still wonder what is 'correct' or recommended. With that in mind, a few questions...


- Comping, cross stick in particular. When is it more appropriate than comping on the snare? Also, cross stick on only 2 or only 4. Is there a specific reason to do it on only 2 or only 4 or just drummer preference?


- Straight quarters on the ride. Again, when and why is it appropriate? I've used it several times mostly to strongly state the time. But I've heard many guys do it when I probably necessarily wouldn't.


- 'Samba feet'. I hate my feet. (Who doesn't, right?) Well, I just struggle at fast latin tempos. A while back I adopted a sort of heel up technique that gained me a lot of speed. (Thank you Matt Ritter and 'Unburying The Beater) Is it 'correct' to play heel-up then or will that overpower what's going on up top? If it does, is it a big deal?


Just a few observations... Would love to hear your input jazz cats.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:03 AM
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rstix rstix is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by brady View Post
I'm honored to be counted amongst the jazzers on the forum but I've only been playing it for about 5 years or so, so there is much to learn. As there always will be...

I've gigged many times and have had quite a few years of lessons and a few private lessons from well known drummers. I say this just so you know a little more of the background.

After listening to countless records and deciphering drummers' techniques, I still wonder what is 'correct' or recommended. With that in mind, a few questions...


- Comping, cross stick in particular. When is it more appropriate than comping on the snare? Also, cross stick on only 2 or only 4. Is there a specific reason to do it on only 2 or only 4 or just drummer preference?


- Straight quarters on the ride. Again, when and why is it appropriate? I've used it several times mostly to strongly state the time. But I've heard many guys do it when I probably necessarily wouldn't.


- 'Samba feet'. I hate my feet. (Who doesn't, right?) Well, I just struggle at fast latin tempos. A while back I adopted a sort of heel up technique that gained me a lot of speed. (Thank you Matt Ritter and 'Unburying The Beater) Is it 'correct' to play heel-up then or will that overpower what's going on up top? If it does, is it a big deal?


Just a few observations... Would love to hear your input jazz cats.
Hey Brady,

Those are some great questions. I've been playing jazz a lot and studying it for the past 4 years and I've asked the same questions. I like to comp busy on the snare when I play hard-bop jazz and syncopate triplets with the bass drum and snare. Ted Reed has some great exercises for that. I usually rim click on beat 4 during hard swinging verses, esp w/ jazz vocal stuff.

As for straight quarter notes on the ride, that is referred to as "tipping" and I use it a lot when the bassist starlings walking straight quarter notes (usually on very UP tunes). You can even feather the bass drum - 4 on the floor

samba feet - do what feels comfortable - if ur still comfortable playing heel up after playing a "burner" latin tune for 9 - 14 minutes then go for it -- I normally play heel up but for fast sambas i think its more comfortable to play heel down.

I hope that helps! I've been playing in the University of Tulsa Jazz big-band, combo and jazz vocal combos for the past 3 years so I've been studying this stuff :DDD

-Rstix
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:52 AM
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dmacc dmacc is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

I'm on my mobile device at the moment but will offer my opinion tomorrow when I'm on a regular computer which will allow me to do so much more efficiently.

Ultimately it is the players discretion. There's no one right answer... the freedom of improvisation is only restrictive based on our abilities technically and how we choose to interpret and support the music.

The Philly Joe beat is a cross stick on 4. Sometimes as a chorus builds adding the 2 helps to up the intensity.

The ride should be phrased around what else is going on. More on this later unless someone beats me to it.

Bass drum technique will drive it all for the samba. Only you know what is best for you. Keep experimenting.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:27 AM
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

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I'm on my mobile device at the moment but will offer my opinion tomorrow when I'm on a regular computer which will allow me to do so much more efficiently.

Ultimately it is the players discretion. There's no one right answer... the freedom of improvisation is only restrictive based on our abilities technically and how we choose to interpret and support the music.

The Philly Joe beat is a cross stick on 4. Sometimes as a chorus builds adding the 2 helps to up the intensity.

The ride should be phrased around what else is going on. More on this later unless someone beats me to it.

Bass drum technique will drive it all for the samba. Only you know what is best for you. Keep experimenting.
Thanks man, looking forward to it.

Yeah, I do the PJJ beat fairly often. I occasionally jam with a trumpet player that I know prefers it. I was just wondering if there was ever something the band was doing that would sort of cue a drummer to play only on 2 or only on 4. Or again, just drummer discretion?

As for the ride phrasing, I actually started really breaking it up a lot recently a la DeJohnette or Roy Haynes and my trio/quartet really liked it. I think I mentioned that in another thread, sort of phrasing the melody on the ride, comping on the cymbal if you will.

What's funny about the Latin stuff is that the piano player thinks I have a really great feel for them. I sort of do I guess but it takes more concentration that it sounds like to maintain the foot pattern at higher tempos.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:41 AM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

honestly brother......there are no rules or even preferences that are universal

do what you want when you want

thats part of the beauty of jazz

I once saw Roy Haynes play almost a whole set where his right foot was resting up on the hoop of the bass drum ....his foot didn't even touch the bass drum pedal for at least 20 minutes.


no rules.....if you sound good ...you sound good
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:48 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo View Post
honestly brother......there are no rules or even preferences that are universal

do what you want when you want

thats part of the beauty of jazz

I once saw Roy Haynes play almost a whole set where his right foot was resting up on the hoop of the bass drum ....his foot didn't even touch the bass drum pedal for at least 20 minutes.


no rules.....if you sound good ...you sound good
^^^^^This.

I remember going through college and being helped by guys like Steve Houghton and Joey Heredia, and in the end it was much what Anthony just said. You can listen and plan as much as you want, but you never really know what will work until you're in the driver's seat making decisions on the fly. You're like the quarterback of a great football team, and regardless of who the coach is, you're the guy driving the bus. If its great, it's great.

I suppose you just have to learn to keep your chops up so you can execute whatever comes to mind, eh?
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:50 AM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by brady View Post
I'm honored to be counted amongst the jazzers on the forum but I've only been playing it for about 5 years or so, so there is much to learn. As there always will be...
Well, it's an honor to get to talk to you about it. I don't think I've gotten to hear your playing, but it seems like you know what you're doing.

Quote:
I've gigged many times and have had quite a few years of lessons and a few private lessons from well known drummers. I say this just so you know a little more of the background.

After listening to countless records and deciphering drummers' techniques, I still wonder what is 'correct' or recommended. With that in mind, a few questions...
I wouldn't worry too much about correctness-- you're doing your studying, so you're not going to do anything horribly wrong. And since you're the guy playing the gig, you get to decide what correct is-- as long as the bandleader keeps calling you...

Quote:
- Comping, cross stick in particular. When is it more appropriate than comping on the snare? Also, cross stick on only 2 or only 4. Is there a specific reason to do it on only 2 or only 4 or just drummer preference?
It's sort of a classic piano solo thing. You might do it when you're bringing down the intensity level, or emphasizing the groove. Playing it on 4 only is usually associated with Art Blakey and Philly Joe, but lots of people do it, obviously. Jimmy Cobb does it all over KOB-- on 4 during the piano solo on So What, and on either 2 or 4 during Freddie. The each have their own sound, and 4-only is a little more normal.

Quote:
- Straight quarters on the ride. Again, when and why is it appropriate? I've used it several times mostly to strongly state the time. But I've heard many guys do it when I probably necessarily wouldn't.
Maybe somebody knows a rule for when you do that, but I don't. I let my ears tell me when to do it. My regular time feel has a pretty strong quarter note pulse, so to me it doesn't feel real qualitatively different to just play the quarter notes. You wouldn't do it while you're playing in two, certainly.

Quote:
- 'Samba feet'. I hate my feet. (Who doesn't, right?) Well, I just struggle at fast latin tempos. A while back I adopted a sort of heel up technique that gained me a lot of speed. (Thank you Matt Ritter and 'Unburying The Beater) Is it 'correct' to play heel-up then or will that overpower what's going on up top? If it does, is it a big deal?
I played exclusively heel up for a lot of years, and kind of recommend against it. If you eliminate the habitual downstroke most people make on every note they play on the BD, you can get all the speed you need to do a pretty fast samba heel down.

Re: actually playing samba or bossa nova-- I like a solid bass drum, but there's got to be a feeling of lightness, and you sometimes have to burn extremely softly-- it's really hard to do that when you're moving your whole big old leg from the hip.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:54 AM
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8Mile 8Mile is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

I'm not speaking with any authority here, just sharing my own approach to these things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brady View Post
- Comping, cross stick in particular. When is it more appropriate than comping on the snare? Also, cross stick on only 2 or only 4. Is there a specific reason to do it on only 2 or only 4 or just drummer preference?
I use cross-stick based on what's happening musically at the time. It's not usually something I script for certain sections or anything premeditated like that. It's a response to what I'm hearing. I view it as another comping option on the snare drum, just like I'll occasionally play quarter-note triplets with the cross-stick as well for contrast.

That being said, I find it most effective when the rhythm section is locked in and swinging at a specific dynamic level. Again, it offers a nice contrast. I usually play it just on 4, but I'll vary that as the music strikes me. I try to keep these things in the moment rather than overthink them. I think of these options as way to "shake things up" with my bandmates. It's not only in the context of a tune, but in a set. If the last time we played it, we played it with cross-stick during the piano solo, then I might deliberately leave it out the next time we play it. The context goes beyond a single performance of the tune, sometimes.


Quote:
- Straight quarters on the ride. Again, when and why is it appropriate? I've used it several times mostly to strongly state the time. But I've heard many guys do it when I probably necessarily wouldn't.
I like to vary the ride pattern if I think it fits the music. I just consider straight quarters another option, just like turning around the 55. Interestingly enough, I often play straight quarters when playing cross stick.


Quote:
- 'Samba feet'. I hate my feet. (Who doesn't, right?) Well, I just struggle at fast latin tempos. A while back I adopted a sort of heel up technique that gained me a lot of speed. (Thank you Matt Ritter and 'Unburying The Beater) Is it 'correct' to play heel-up then or will that overpower what's going on up top? If it does, is it a big deal?
Like most foot technique issues, I find this to be just one of personal taste. I find heel down most comfortable but play heel up for volume. For a fast samba, whatever feels comfortable is what I'll go with. I don't think there's a "correct" way here. There are masters who do it both ways.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:38 AM
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brady brady is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

Thanks for all the input guys. I appreciate the responses.

They're all pretty much in line with what I was thinking but thought there may be something I'm missing. Hence the questions.

No rules...good to know. :-) The band likes what I'm doing so I guess I'm doing something right. Eh?
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:45 AM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

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Originally Posted by brady View Post
The band likes what I'm doing

in the end thats what matters the most

when they like what you are doing they are comfortable to be themselves .
when they are comfortable to be themselves there is great chemistry
when there is great chemistry it spreads to the audience
when it spreads to the audience they feed it back to the bandstand
when they feed it back to the bandstand the beautiful cycle of energy ensues
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:28 AM
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brady brady is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo View Post
in the end thats what matters the most

when they like what you are doing they are comfortable to be themselves .
when they are comfortable to be themselves there is great chemistry
when there is great chemistry it spreads to the audience
when it spreads to the audience they feed it back to the bandstand
when they feed it back to the bandstand the beautiful cycle of energy ensues
Nice. Very well put.

If there was room, I would write that on my snare...
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:28 PM
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dmacc dmacc is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about jazz techniques

Not much left to be said but be sure to check these clips from Ian Froman out if you haven't already done so for great insights...

#1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svco860T110
#2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQuNtOlQxIc
#3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKZ8RKF_Xrc
#4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EFobCDLF2E
#5 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrBkz5HPoio
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