Jazz Drummer’s Workshop
by Rupert Kettle
Cherokee with Clifford Brown, is a good one.
Having learned this lesson, and wishing to experiment further with the idea, the creative soloist could begin by working with changing the meter, while still retaining the structure of the original tune, to offset the A and B sections. Rothman and Lang have laid some good groundwork here (Phrasing Drum Solos and The New Conception, respectively) but only within a four-measure framework. Same idea here, just simple arithmetic.
Let us assume you wish to set up some practice routines jumping back and forth between two eight measure 4/4 periods, A and B. At B, you wish to change to 3/4 meter, but still remain within the confines of eight 4/4 measures. Eight (measures) times four (beats per measure) equals thirty-two beats in the period. Three (beats per measure) goes into thirty-two ten times (or ten ¾ measures) with two left over. You would write a chart, just using “time” for the moment, and practice it. See Example 1 1 1.
Note that while you’ve gone into 3/4 for awhile (with a measure of 2/4 to round things off) you’ve still played the exact amount of beats as the basic eight 4/4 measures. After practicing playing time this way for a few days, you should be able to get loose enough to start working some solo patterns into both the A and B sections.
Once you are used to the 3/4 idea, similar schemes may be contrived. Phrasing the B parts in five (six 5/4 measures plus one 2/4 measure equals eight 4/4 measures. Seven: (four 7/4 measures plus one 4/4 measure equals eight 4/4 measures) etc. When all of these possibilities are exhausted, there is always the sixteen measure period to work with, along the same lines. Another possibility exists in shifting from a base of 3/4 or 5/4, into meters superimposed on given numbers of measures.