In this lesson we’ll explore embellished jazz phrases between the ride cymbal and snare. First let’s look at a standard jazz ride pattern.

While the ride hand plays the previous pattern, comping figures are often played on the snare using 8th-note-triplet partials. The following patterns demonstrate some possibilities. While practicing the exercises in this lesson, play the hi-hat foot on beats 2 and 4, and experiment with any bass drum figure that you feel is appropriate.

Let’s think imaginatively about the previous examples by integrating evolving triplet figures while avoiding a consistent ride pattern. This results in a more exciting and complex combination of 8th-note triplets between the ride and snare and produces a rounded sound. The interplay between the snare and cymbal is linear, meaning two voices aren’t played together at the same time. However, there’s nothing to stop you from playing both surfaces in unison. Make these ideas your own by adjusting the concept in whatever ways you like. These exercises represent only a handful of possibilities. Practice them at moderate tempos.

Once you’re comfortable with the previous examples, group two or more of the figures into longer phrases. By combining the exercises, the ride pattern becomes more difficult to discern. Feel free to drop out some of the notes, accent others, or incorporate ghost strokes as you see fit. Also, try combining them into four-bar phrases or create your own combinations. Have fun!


Joel Rothman is the author of nearly 100 drum and percussion books, which sell worldwide through his company, JR Publications. For more info, visit joelrothman.com.