Continuing with the concept introduced in the last issue, this article explores bass drum comping ideas in 3/4. The phrases included here are intended to help you develop dynamic balance with your right foot in conjunction with your three remaining limbs.
The legendary jazz drummers Max Roach and Joe Morello were among the first to explore and improvise within 3/4 time. The rhythmic ideas these masters developed were solid yet loose and fluid. For inspiration, check out Jazz in 3/4 Time (Roach) and Time Out (Morello with Dave Brubeck).
As you practice the example below, strive to keep each instrument’s sound balanced dynamically with the remaining limbs.
Next, try the following bass drum patterns with the ride cymbal and hi-hat rhythm.
Once you can play each three-voice example with control, add the following snare drum patterns.
As you practice these combinations, listen to each of your limbs to ensure that you have complete rhythmic and dynamic control. Commit to playing each example for an extended period of time, with a metronome and at a wide range of tempos, until the pulse is locked in and feeling strong.
For variation, repeat each of the examples using the following hi-hat ostinatos.
Steve Fidyk co-leads the Taylor/Fidyk Big Band (with arranger Mark Taylor), freelances with vocalist Maureen McGovern, and is a member of the jazz studies faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia. He’s also the author of several instructional books. His latest, Big Band Drumming at First Sight, is available through Alfred Publishing.