When playing covers of 'simple' songs for concerts, do you imporvise your own beats?

topgun2021

Gold Member
Kind of an interesting question, especially for people who play in bands at school.

For instance, for my contemporary jazz ensemble, We are playing these songs:

Mary Anne - Ray Charles

All Blues - Miles Davis (in 6/8, is the version on the record in 6/8? I always thought it was in 4/4)

25 or 6 2 4 - Chicago

September - Earth Wind and Fire



I play set on All Blues and Mary Anne. For All Blues, I feel as if I can improvise free and easy (within reason and the music). But for Mary Anne I want to keep the rumba and the swing feel very simple.

The guy who plays set on September and 25 or 6 2 4, however, is improvising beats a lot. For instance, in places where the bass is on 1 and 3, he will and more hits, and it seems his attitude is, "I have never really heard this song, but I don't care, I'll do my own thing." Which is okay, since he is actaully a very good drummer (likes to play Metal and Gospel the most, what an interesting combination). His attitude or train of thought about what to do on covers of songs is interesting to me. For songs with no lyrics, I tend to improvise more than songs with lyrics. I have the thinking that, for covering songs with lyrics, trying to play as close to the original is the best way to go, and instrumental covers leave more room to add your own spice.
 

JT1

Silver Member
Re: When playing covers of 'simple' songs for concerts, do you imporvise your own bea

Well i don't play Jazz but if there is a simple section of a cover and i'm not enjoying playing it then i might spice things up a bit. However sometimes simple is best and if if it is a simple part of a song and it absolutely rocks hard then i will play the intended beat with enthusiasm and rock out with it, Sometimes moving about really helps to make a part more interesting.

I don't make a habbit of doing this but sometimes i will play a cover without ever hearing the original. I like to put how i think it sounds and then hear the actual thing. I do one now with one of my bands called better man by Pearl Jam, i just play how i feel it should be played and have never listened to the original. One day i will but i have been told it is pretty much spot on.

Nothing wrong with making covers original though.
 

the.drummer.kid

Junior Member
Re: When playing covers of 'simple' songs for concerts, do you imporvise your own bea

It's great to play songs that you've never heard or listened to before man. That's perfect for getting noticed and playing regularly at bars and stuff. Try to be very flexible as a drummer. Valuable drummers are the ones that can play ANY genre. Get yourself to learn different types of music.
 

toddy

Platinum Member
Re: When playing covers of 'simple' songs for concerts, do you imporvise your own bea

i'm not sure i'd improvise entirely (although i could). i'd try and expand upon the original idea and create a more interesting drum beat i suppose, or maybe add in a couple of tasteful fills. it depends on the genre really..
 

Eggman

Member
Re: When playing covers of 'simple' songs for concerts, do you imporvise your own bea

If you're playing jazz, it's pretty much expected that you'll be improvising your parts. That's kind of what makes it jazz.

For other styles of music (ie. rock/pop/funk) you'll probably be mostly sticking to the original parts.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
Re: When playing covers of 'simple' songs for concerts, do you imporvise your own bea

I have the thinking that, for covering songs with lyrics, trying to play as close to the original is the best way to go, and instrumental covers leave more room to add your own spice.
yeah, i would say that's somewhat true. my rule of thumb is that if someone is singing, especially in the verse, then do not drown them out or play of bunch of wacky stuff that is going to distract attention away from them. you could get fired for doing that. another rule of thumb in instrumentals or instrumental sections is if someone else is soloing then also don't drown them out or draw a lot of attention to yourself. i mean, you can compliment what they're doing with little accents and so on, but it's their turn to shine so lay back.
 
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