Q for John Riley and Bop players

ocdrums

Senior Member
OK, my lead trumpet player is complaining about my time playing. As much as I try to "flatten" out the time at higher tempos he still detects a "swing factor" that bothers him. He says he can't phrase the way he wants because my time feel forces him to play with a non bop vocabulary (swing) and his solos are limited by the way I play the time. When I accent the 1s and 3s he feels that this is more conducive to bop phrasing. When I bounce off the 2s and 4s ( As in John's "Uptempo ride" video) he says he hears a difference.

Does this make sense to anyone? Is there a difference between fast swing and bop?

Any thoughts would be appreciated, thanks.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
It makes sense to me because the beats that are accented change the feel of the grove.

There was one tune that I was playing with my band where I had a habit of comping the snare on 1 every so many measures.
It was throwing the band off. I had to stop doing it.
 

Toby_Jackson

Senior Member
Here's my two cents: fast bop phrasing is notated in straight eigths, but in practice most players tend to think in 16ths, using beats 1 and 3 as a replacment for quarter notes and treating every two bars in common time as one bar of "up" time.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
OK, my lead trumpet player is complaining about my time playing. As much as I try to "flatten" out the time at higher tempos he still detects a "swing factor" that bothers him. He says he can't phrase the way he wants because my time feel forces him to play with a non bop vocabulary (swing) and his solos are limited by the way I play the time.
The difference between "bop" and "swing" vocabulary is not that one swings and the other doesn't. Bop actually swings most of the time; in swing, the 8ths will even out at very fast tempos, as you'll see below.

It's hard to know what to suggest without hearing you and the trumpet player- any number of things could be going wrong. I don't know where he got the idea that he has to match your interpretation exactly to play with you- you could try just playing quarter notes on the cymbal, and see how he responds to it. What's the approximate tempo in question?

When I accent the 1s and 3s he feels that this is more conducive to bop phrasing. When I bounce off the 2s and 4s ( As in John's "Uptempo ride" video) he says he hears a difference.
It's never wrong to emphasize the 2 and 4 in your time feel- it's one of the major common interpretations of jazz time- though doing it strongly may not be to everyone's taste in every situation. Accenting the 1 and 3 (while de-emphasizing the 2 and 4) is something people do as a joke- it's not a normal ride interpretation in jazz.

Is there a difference between fast swing and bop?
In this context, not really- maybe if you were playing Cottontail back to back with Groovin' High and were going for some kind of jazz history angle, there would be a difference in interpretation. But the degree of evenness/swingingness of the 8ths is up to the discretion/taste/personal style of the player, taking into consideration the tempo, the style of the piece, and the style of the other players.

By the way, if you listen closely to the Charlie Parker clip, you'll notice that the soloists are playing mostly even 8ths, while the drums are swinging the ride pattern- exactly what your trumpet player is complaining about.
 

zakhopper316

Silver Member
Haha it's funny you mention John Riley, he is my instructor at school!! For up tempo stuff, like 240 up we are taught to NOT think in terms of accents on the ride - well actually it doesn't matter the tempo I was taught to keep the sounds even on the ride if u start accenting - especially at slower tempos - you may bring an unwanted blues feel to the tune.

Anyways I was taught to play triple strokes 100% straight on my ride hand. Start at like 240 and do 2&3 4&1 2&3 4&1 (123) (123) let it bounce out. And remember the 3 stroke bounce starts on 2 and 4 and is really straight and also not accented at all.

This is how I learned in college and man it made a huge difference. I can say now that I can play bop. Before I could just swing but this made a huge difference for that up tempo flat sounding max roach type of stuff.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Is he specifically talking about your ride cymbal phrasing, or is it maybe the way you're approaching the entire set? I'm wondering if maybe he's referring to your comping between bass and snare, etc. If you're playing a strong pulse on 1 and 3, or even quarter notes, he might be referring to that.

The thing is, in any style of jazz, the phrasing is going to straighten out into something more like 8th notes at faster tempos. It's unavoidable when things get really fast. But maybe you're keeping the triplet feel going at faster tempos than your trumpet player is accustomed to.
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
As I recall John Riley suggests that time should start to flatten out somewhere around 270-280. If you're maintaining a triplet feel approaching 300 it's going to sound a little odd to others, albeit rather impressive technically.
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
Haha it's funny you mention John Riley, he is my instructor at school!! For up tempo stuff, like 240 up we are taught to NOT think in terms of accents on the ride - well actually it doesn't matter the tempo I was taught to keep the sounds even on the ride if u start accenting - especially at slower tempos - you may bring an unwanted blues feel to the tune.

Anyways I was taught to play triple strokes 100% straight on my ride hand. Start at like 240 and do 2&3 4&1 2&3 4&1 (123) (123) let it bounce out. And remember the 3 stroke bounce starts on 2 and 4 and is really straight and also not accented at all.

This is how I learned in college and man it made a huge difference. I can say now that I can play bop. Before I could just swing but this made a huge difference for that up tempo flat sounding max roach type of stuff.
you are very lucky to have such a fantastic teacher

Mr Riley has a way expressing thoughts so clearly both in teaching and in playing

one of the great contributors to the drumming community

I hope you appreciate your time with him as much as you should....and soak up his knowledge like a sponge
 

zakhopper316

Silver Member
you are very lucky to have such a fantastic teacher

Mr Riley has a way expressing thoughts so clearly both in teaching and in playing

one of the great contributors to the drumming community

I hope you appreciate your time with him as much as you should....and soak up his knowledge like a sponge
I know I am, actually more than you know lol. See I thought if u go to MSM then you get Riley, there's another "more then qualified" instructor that teaches pretty much all the same classes as Rilley and man I was going to be really upset if I didint get him. So in the assertive way that colleges love I wrote a letter before scheduals where out explaining why I needed Rilley..( I was thinking maybe some people had not played through his book yet and didint know how awsome he is. Thank god it all worked out.

I am like a sponge when he is in the classes ( we have him about 3 days a week and another teacher for when he can't come) but I gotta say he has us do the most involved and out there assignments sometimes. The most memorable which I posted a video of on this forum was the " afoxe beat over a samba". We had to trade between Rilley and ourselfs one on one. It was a pretty big exam. The main thing Rilley believes in from what I can tell is playing the right thing over the " harder" thing ya know. He really changed my drumming with that idea.

I didn't know there was such a thing in jazz! Can you elaborate on what that means?
Just when people accent the 1 and 3 on the ride and play the kick with 2 8th notes &1 &3 ect. It can sound alot like blues and could really mess up the phrasing of who ever is plyaying lead.
 

John Riley

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
John Riley here:

Gentlemen, interesting discussion. I do start to flatten out the cymbal beat around 260 or so depending on the vibe of the tune. Below that tempo playing even sounds lazy to me. Swinging the pattern above 300 sounds jittery, like in a Charlie Chaplin movie, so it's even at that point.

Regarding accents in the pattern: to my ears a strong accent on 2 and 4 gives the flow a "swing" era feel. Bass players in those days tended to accent 2 and 4 as well. Playing all the notes more or less the same volume sounds more modern and gels better with the bass player.

Specifically addressing the original question: regardless how much you accent or don't accent, regardless of how swingy or how even one plays: the 4 quarter-notes must be in time. Check this by playing quarters on the snare drum while you play swing on the cymbal. Gradually increase the tempo and make sure all the beats still line up. If you can't play quarter-notes with your cymbal beat, no bass player or lead trumpet player will be able to either.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
John Riley here:

Gentlemen, interesting discussion. I do start to flatten out the cymbal beat around 260 or so depending on the vibe of the tune. Below that tempo playing even sounds lazy to me. Swinging the pattern above 300 sounds jittery, like in a Charlie Chaplin movie, so it's even at that point.

Regarding accents in the pattern: to my ears a strong accent on 2 and 4 gives the flow a "swing" era feel. Bass players in those days tended to accent 2 and 4 as well. Playing all the notes more or less the same volume sounds more modern and gels better with the bass player.

Specifically addressing the original question: regardless how much you accent or don't accent, regardless of how swingy or how even one plays: the 4 quarter-notes must be in time. Check this by playing quarters on the snare drum while you play swing on the cymbal. Gradually increase the tempo and make sure all the beats still line up. If you can't play quarter-notes with your cymbal beat, no bass player or lead trumpet player will be able to either.
From the Master Himself!!

If you haven't done so, you may want to really take a super deep dive into the "unison playing" section in Beyond Bop Drumming. It can really expose some weaknesses and help to resolve them. Myself, I've worked them at slow tempos (quarter = 65) up to fast (currently can play relaxed at 320/bpm).
 
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