by Steve Fidyk
Transitioning from one time signature, tempo, or musical style to another is a very common technique in modern jazz. These shifts are often referred to as metric modulations, where a specific note value from the current tempo becomes the quarter-note pulse in a new tempo. Tony Williams, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Ari Hoenig are masters of this concept.
In order for a transition to work out smoothly, it’s important for you to be as articulate and clear as possible with your rhythms. As you approach the shift, you need to provide a foundation that makes the band comfortable, without disrupting the flow of the time.