"Wide" jazz ride pattern?

prokofi5

Junior Member
I've read a couple references to jazz drummers playing a "wide" ride pattern, but I'm not clear of the meaning. I understand the pattern can vary depending on the tempo and context, but can anyone clear this up or point to a tutorial or give me some listening recommendations for wide versus whatever the opposite approach would be? Thanks
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I think it can differ like any other term, but I heard it in two contexts.

1) Simply the where you place ot off beat or "swung" note.
2) In a conversation where someone is just wants to make sure you fill up the space, so it sounds right.
 

Phil A.

Junior Member
I think wide refers to a more triplet based feel. There is going to be more space between the notes in a triplet based swing, giving it a looser, more relaxed feel. I've always thought Joe Morello had a "wide" feel. And then the reverse, tight playing, is closer to sixteenth based. The instructor of my college big band used to tell me to play more tight, giving me the example of Sonny Payne's playing in April in Paris by the Count Basie orchestra. You'll see that this kind of feel doesn't really line up with the triplets and you just kind of have to hear it in your head.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
What was the context, and was there any chance to find recordings and check what they were talking about?

I haven't heard that used enough for it to have a specific meaning to me. To me it suggests a distinct gap between the skip note and the following downbeat-- a triplety feel trending towards even 8ths, like Billy Higgins. I guess for somebody else it could refer to the gap between the downbeat and the following skip note, suggesting a more double timey dotted 8th/16th rhythm.
 

prokofi5

Junior Member
Ahhhh. That makes sense. I don't know why I hadn't thought about the "wide" being between the skip and the downbeat. The context was Ralph Peterson talking about playing for Art Blakey and having to learn "the big wide beat." I'd also read the comment on an instagram post complimenting a drummer on how his ride pattern had become so wide. I went back and found the drummer replied that he had been listening to a lot more older music as opposed to modern jazz so I think it makes sense to be meaning a more triplet-y feel in the contexts I'd seen it. The contrasting Sonny Payne "tight" example really helped clear it up. Thanks for the replies and recommendations.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Ed Soph is an unbelievable instructor.

A bit on the scary, intimidating side in this video, but he sure sorts out the wannabes from the serious musician.
I didn’t take that as especially scary. I’ve had multiple teachers worse than that. But I can see how somebody without an old-school background would find it a little scary.
 

Benthedrummer

Junior Member
I didn’t take that as especially scary. I’ve had multiple teachers worse than that. But I can see how somebody without an old-school background would find it a little scary.
Yeah, I don't have that old school background.

I had a drum teacher that I hooked up with when I moved to the city...... anyways, he would whack me on the knuckles with a stick when he didn't like my grip playing paradiddles.

Then when my dad died I met up with him and told him I wouldn't be able to continue lessons with him anymore.

This teacher never smiled, was a bit mean and was never impressed with me.

As I stood up to leave his studio........he gave me a big hug and told me to never give up drumming.

I couldn't believe that I cried in his arms.

I will never forget him...... lovely old fella.

Sorry for hijacking the topic everyone.
 
I would think "wide" means NOT triplety, either close to 16ths or close to 8ths. I would think of the triplet version as being the standard or the norm that everyone learns first, and other spacings are relative to that. For me, I would say close to 8ths is wide spacing.
 
I would think "wide" means NOT triplety, either close to 16ths or close to 8ths. I would think of the triplet version as being the standard or the norm that everyone learns first, and other spacings are relative to that. For me, I would say close to 8ths is wide spacing.
This has been my feeling as well that 'wide' in part refers to playing the third triplet, or swung note, closer to a 16th. To me, it also can help to achieve what I think of as a wide sound by playing the swung note with very low dynamics or even omitted.

Tone and touch play a part, but I think it largely comes down to some phrasing intricacies, whether playing a consistent spang-a-lang or using modern ride phrasing.

The swung note can serve as a pickup note to the 1/4 notes that carry the time, and width makes me think about the amount of space between your quarter notes and the following swung note (after the 2nd and fourth beat in a traditional ride pattern), whether or not that swung note is actually played.

Let's take quiet swung notes to the extreme to the point where they are silent (i.e. omitted from where they otherwise might be played), as well as pushing the swung note way back even past the 16th note phrasing (where in the extreme it gets pushed closer and closer to being indiscernible in time to the 1/4 note). This creates more space between the time-defining quarter note and the anticipation (pickup) of the next beat. The space between each quarter note stays the same (tempo), but there is no pick up note defining how the subdivisions in that beat should be placed in the meantime.

A wide feel/sound in this sense makes me think of flexibility and forgiveness (as opposed to imposing a strict subdivision that other players must adhere to on a note-to-note basis). Consider another musician playing a busy run that perhaps pushes too many notes into a space, due to let's say the limits of their dexterity/technique and the tempo. This includes both mistakes by amateurs who are trying to play something beyond their capabilities, but is also commonly done by great players who are simply pushing the edge of the music to exciting peaks. What I'm trying to depict is when a soloist plays a phrase over a matter of just a quarter note or two where their subdivisions would actually drag compared to metronomic time, a drummer can create a large forgiving space that accommodates the busy phrase fitting within the time flow instead of letting the end of the flurry of notes clash against the ride cymbal when time must once again be defined at the next quarter note (traditionally).

If as a drummer you insert a loud swung note somewhere closer to the 1/8th note or even triplet subdivision in this situation, it can make the soloist's phrase stick out of place like an elephant getting into a Fiat. If instead the drummer has some flexibility you can let this kind of flurry of notes still fit inside the time flow without the proverbial door closing on them as they walk through (i.e. the time being stamped by a pickup note). I like to think of it as throwing your arms out as wide as they can while running along with your bandmates so that your arms can reach out and catch an individual when they slightly stumble so that everyone keeps moving ahead at the same pace. YOU are the last one to close the door on each quarter note as it passes by and nobody's getting pinched on their way through.

Playing your ride quarter notes (whether explicitly played or not) behind the beat goes hand in hand with this, at least to me.

This flexibility implies good ears, fast reactions, and of course a strong sense of time so that the time flow is not altered even though microscopic time might be manipulated. Of course in other situations where musicians might drag let's say on a more macroscopic scale (more than just an occasional single beat or so worth of subdivisions), it is important to be able to subtly push the time, often by phrasing closer to the triplet - or 1/8th note, and phrasing ahead of the beat.

This sense in which playing 'wide' can allow for flexibility (as is required in the art of improvisation) in response to another player's riffs, still comes in secondary to my initial description that playing 'wide' creates space in the first place, so that other musician's may be inspired to play out on the edge on not having to worry about a drummer chopping up the time flow like a highly automated machine working on an assembly line.

I hope this makes sense. Just my interpretation of wide. Would love to hear what others think.
 
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LarryJ

Member
I have found, playing in big bands with very good but not professional players, that horn players as a section do not deal well with behind or ahead of the beat. If the drummer or bass player is behind the beat, the horns play behind, behinder, and more behinder each beat until the tempo drags. Conversely, ahead of the beat rushes the horn sections. In all fairness, they are paying more attention to their section for intonation, phrasing, dynamics, etc. than to the rhythm section.

By widening the beat (moving the "triplet" more toward a dotted eighth / sixteenth and softer on the second stroke), I can stay on top of the beat but still have a behind the beat feel. Moving toward straight eighths gives an ahead of the beat feel.

I use this technique much less in bebop gigs since the rhythm section is more dominant and most bebop horn players understand the behind/ahead feel.
 

Phil A.

Junior Member
I have found, playing in big bands with very good but not professional players, that horn players as a section do not deal well with behind or ahead of the beat. If the drummer or bass player is behind the beat, the horns play behind, behinder, and more behinder each beat until the tempo drags. Conversely, ahead of the beat rushes the horn sections. In all fairness, they are paying more attention to their section for intonation, phrasing, dynamics, etc. than to the rhythm section.

By widening the beat (moving the "triplet" more toward a dotted eighth / sixteenth and softer on the second stroke), I can stay on top of the beat but still have a behind the beat feel. Moving toward straight eighths gives an ahead of the beat feel.

I use this technique much less in bebop gigs since the rhythm section is more dominant and most bebop horn players understand the behind/ahead feel.
This makes a lot of sense. I had the "wide" and "tight" terminology reversed, but that's definitely been my experience too.
 
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