Crash course in Jazz fills and brush fills.

topgun2021

Gold Member
I play in a jazz quintet and will have a performance soon. My Jazz playing consists of keeping time, playing simple fills, not soloing, and I only know how to play brushes from Groove Essentials 2.0, and watching Jeff Hamilton.

The band leader wants to me to expand my repertoire of jazz fills and I just want to learn brushes more.

What methods of creating fills and short solos do you use? (such as writing them out before hand)

Crash course material?

Book material?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I adhere to the concept that we are basically emulating the greats. A book and watching Jeff Hamilton is good, but getting your hands on lots of jazz recordings and other dvds to watch is better. You've never listened to Joe Morello with Dave Brubeck? Ed Thigpen with Oscar Peterson? Steve Gadd did some amazing brush work with Chick Corea. Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Max Roach....the greats are all out there waiting to be listened to and discovered.

I don't mind 'book learning' but in this case, you could get a book on fills (I suppose) but it's the context within which you use them that will be slightly incorrect (I don't say totally incorrect for obvious reasons). You have to listen to alot of jazz to hear what's already been said, so you would know what you might want to say in your musical situation. I'm surprised to hear a band leader tell you he wants more and diverse fills. I would think if you were playing time and grooving with the band that would be the most important thing. In fact, I would think if you played mostly time, then whatever you did as a fill would stick out even more and have much more impact, eh?
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
This is a huge subject, and one you want to take up with a teacher, but here are some things that may help:

- Get copies of Syncopation by Ted Reed and the Alan Dawson Complete Drum Vocabulary- work through the part of Dawson that uses Reed.

- Get some Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk lead sheets and play the melody (rhythm only, of course) on the snare drum. Apply the methods from the Dawson book.

- Quick and dirty: Joel Rothman has several books of jazz solos/breaks. They're not necessarily the hippest things in the world, but they'll give you an idea of your range of options, and are a good jumping off point. Like anything else, actually, you have to apply some musicianship to make something out of them. Get them @ Steveweissmusic.com.

- The Riley Bebop book also has solo materials- you have to know a little more about jazz phrasing to apply them musically, though.

- Listen to a lot of Billy Higgins.

Good luck!
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
If you want simple, read this: just play time for a while, until you are in the "ttiplet zone". This happens for me at around 20 minutes. Then fills will naturally come out of the time. After you do that for a few sessions, you will be able to play with that feeling at will.

Everything in jazz comes from the triplet, so it is a very safe bet to do this.

Casper
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
Bo Elder: My band leader is actually my professor at college for our Jazz master class, so it is not like we have a casual group.

ToddBishop: I already emailed my percussion instructor to work on this in lessons.


If we want to get specific. The songs I am playing soon are Sister Sadie and Autumn Leaves. Both are in Creative Beginnings for(to?) Jazz Improvisation by Scott Reeves.

For Sister Sadie, I need to work on one measure fills into different sections of the song, and I am trading four bars with soloists.

Autumn leaves is pretty much the same thing, except when using brushes.

Also, my professor is obsessed with the Art Blakey press roll...

I have been listening like crazy and looking up videos on VicFirth.com
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Bo Elder: My band leader is actually my professor at college for our Jazz master class, so it is not like we have a casual group.
Hmm. So the fact that he's the professor means this isn't supposed to be cool jazz? Isn't that an oxymoron? ;)
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
While I agree with everyone else, I would honestly say that if you want to learn some quick, very authentic classic jazz licks/fills, get John Riley's The Art of Bop book. It has a section on one bar jazz fills and how to use them, put them together in two, four and eight bar phrases, how to move around the kit with them etc etc.

They are the best set of classic sounding jazz fills you will find in any book. They are very easy to pick up, sound brilliant and they will give you good working material to use immediately as well as expand your vocabulary for a lifetime of use.

But, the best thing about them is that while you can use them straight away as written or with a simple variation and sound great, they can literally give you an entire foundation of a ridiculous amount of solo material.

They are basically the hippest licks of Roach, Blakey, Jones, Higgins etc etc etc, written out in their simplest form as a one bar fill on the snare with the bass thrown in when used. Riley plays them on the CD for you so you can copy his phrasing and accent placement to immediately get the correct touch for amazing sounding basic fills (but without sounding basic at all; they really do sound brilliant in any context), along with moving them around the kit and in longer phrases.

It also has a section on brushes which covers all the basic material you need to know, plus tunes to play along to. The fills sound fantastic with brushes.

If you really want to get some great sounding jazz fills fast, extra brush skills and material to listen to and play along to, you need to get this book immediately and start listening to the recommendations in it as well as copy the way Riley plays the material. Listen very closely to the way he phrases the fills, where he accents and the internal dynamics of the fills. Listen to them over and over and play along with them. You will be very glad you did. Good luck.
 

mrmike

Silver Member
While I agree with everyone else, I would honestly say that if you want to learn some quick, very authentic classic jazz licks/fills, get John Riley's The Art of Bop book. It has a section on one bar jazz fills and how to use them, put them together in two, four and eight bar phrases, how to move around the kit with them etc etc.

They are the best set of classic sounding jazz fills you will find in any book. They are very easy to pick up, sound brilliant and they will give you good working material to use immediately as well as expand your vocabulary for a lifetime of use.

But, the best thing about them is that while you can use them straight away as written or with a simple variation and sound great, they can literally give you an entire foundation of a ridiculous amount of solo material.

They are basically the hippest licks of Roach, Blakey, Jones, Higgins etc etc etc, written out in their simplest form as a one bar fill on the snare with the bass thrown in when used. Riley plays them on the CD for you so you can copy his phrasing and accent placement to immediately get the correct touch for amazing sounding basic fills (but without sounding basic at all; they really do sound brilliant in any context), along with moving them around the kit and in longer phrases.

It also has a section on brushes which covers all the basic material you need to know, plus tunes to play along to. The fills sound fantastic with brushes.

If you really want to get some great sounding jazz fills fast, extra brush skills and material to listen to and play along to, you need to get this book immediately and start listening to the recommendations in it as well as copy the way Riley plays the material. Listen very closely to the way he phrases the fills, where he accents and the internal dynamics of the fills. Listen to them over and over and play along with them. You will be very glad you did. Good luck.
I do love this book. Great comping and fills exercises with top notch play alongs. I have been working out of this book for a while and plan on using it for many years to come.
 
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