Jazz Drummer’s Workshop
Analyzing and Exploring an Odd Grouping
by Greg Sundel
Bill Stewart applied this concept with the John Scofield Trio on the song “Toogs” from the live album EnRoute (Example 2). Stewart’s pattern begins with a stick shot—played by pressing the tip of an angled left stick into the snare head and striking it with the right—and then moves to the snare and tom. Practice the figure slowly, and focus on striking the angled stick with the right before tapping the snare with the left.
By playing the figure over five measures, Stewart is able to resolve back to beat 1. Practice this slowly, and keep track of your position in the phrase by focusing on the hi-hat foot.
Next we’ll use a similar idea by orchestrating a five-note figure between the bass drum and snare. We can use this in a four-bar phrase by altering the ending to resolve to beat 1. Dropping the last two notes of the five-note pattern at the end of this phrase allows it to fit into four bars. Practice this slowly, and count out loud.
Now alternate between the bass drum and hi-hat. After you’re comfortable with this, try practicing the pattern with either a bass drum or hi-hat lead. Once you can play the figure with both voices leading, switch between them from measure to measure.
To spice up the phrase, play rimclicks, the rack tom, and the floor tom with your comping hand.
Greg Sundel has performed or recorded with Billy Corgan, Lauryn Hill, and Joshua Redman.
His book Drum Your Way is available through his website, gregsundel.com.