Jazz Drummer’s Workshop
Elvin Jones–Style Triplet Fills
Part 2: Orchestrating Accent Patterns
by John Xepoleas
Here’s the sticking pattern for this lesson. Practice it until it becomes part of your muscle memory.
Now let’s move the pattern around the drumset. To start, play the accented notes using the ride cymbal and bass drum. Play them with an aggressive feel, and make sure they’re the lead parts in the pattern. Play all of the left-hand notes softly on the snare.
In this example the right hand starts on the snare and then moves to the toms.
Now the right hand starts on the snare and then moves to the ride cymbal (played along with the bass drum); it concludes by hitting the high tom.
This is the same as the previous example, except the right hand ends on the low tom.
Now combine a couple of the previous examples and play them as a two-bar fill after two measures of time. In the following pattern we’re playing one bar of Example 2 followed by one bar of Example 4 for the fill.
For this version we’re combining Examples 3 and 5 to create the fill.
That wraps up this lesson. Check back next month for the third and final installment of this series.
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.
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