Jazz Drummer’s Workshop

Elvin Jones-Style Triplet Fills

Part 3: More Two-Bar Patterns

by John Xepoleas
Welcome to the third and final lesson in our series on creating Elvin Jones–style triplet fills. This time we’re creating high-energy two-bar fills. Let’s begin with the sticking pattern we’ve been using throughout the lesson. Practice this until you’re totally comfortable with it and it becomes part of your muscle memory.

jdw_ex1-new

Now play the right-hand part using the ride cymbal and bass drum. Make the ride and bass drum the lead parts in the pattern by accenting them and playing them with an aggressive feel. The left-hand notes on the snare should be played softly.

jdw_ex2-new

This version is the same as Example 2, except that the rack tom is played on beat 4 of the first measure and the snare is played on beat 2 of the second measure.

jdw_ex3-new

Now we’ll break away from the cymbals and focus on phrasing the accents on the toms.

jdw_ex4-new

In the next example we’ve created the fill by combining the first bar from Example 4 with a variation of the second bar from Example 3.

jdw_ex5-new

Here’s a variation of Example 3.

jdw_ex6-new

This version is similar to Example 6 but has some subtle changes in the second bar.

jdw_ex7-new

Well, that wraps this miniseries on developing high-energy Elvin Jones–type triplet fills. I sure hope you enjoyed it!


John Xepoleas has written two drum books, Style Studies for the Creative Drummer and Essential Drum Lessons With the Greats. He is also an active online educator. For more info, visit johnxdrums.com.