The Brazilian samba rhythm is one of the most popular feels in the world. It’s an infectious groove that’s especially popular among dancers, but also among musicians in the jazz field and beyond.

The samba bass drum and hi-hat-foot ostinato is a great vehicle for developing coordination between the hands and feet. In this lesson, I’ve compiled examples of 16th-note hand patterns to play over the samba foot ostinato. If played hand-to-hand with an alternating sticking, the groove can sound a bit strict and rudimental. I’ve found that playing the accents with the right hand and filling in the ghost notes with the left hand results in a more elastic, greasy, and appropriate feel. Start slowly, count out loud, and strive to make the patterns feel breezy, legato, and romantic. Have fun!

Samba foot ostinato:

Hand patterns:


Rich Redmond drums for country star Jason Aldean, is an award-winning clinician, and is an active session drummer in Nashville and Los Angeles. His recent book/DVD, FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids (coauthored with Michael Aubrecht), is available through Modern Drummer Publications.