Modern Drummer Presents: Exercises in African-American Funk

Modern Drummer Presents: Exercises in African-American FunkWritten by renowned drummer Jonathan Joseph (Jeff Beck, Joss Stone, Richard Bona) and University of Miami director of drumset studies Steve Rucker, Exercises in African-American Funk is designed to introduce musicians who’ve studied jazz, R&B, rock, soul, and blues to a concept that applies West African rhythms to various genres.

The series of exercises contained in the book guide you through a fusion of African and American elements. On the American side, we have shuffle and shuffle-funk. On the African side, we have the rhythms from Cameroon known as mangambe and bikutsi. Mastering these exercises will strengthen your groove, provide you with an understanding of the three-against-four polyrhythm, give you an awareness of the second partial of the triplet, and introduce you to a fresh new way to hear and feel music.


About the Authors

Jonathan Joseph has played with a wide variety of acclaimed artists, including Alexander O’Neal, Al Jarreau, Mike Stern, Betty Wright, Beverley Knight, Bill Evans, David Sanborn, Jeff Beck, Josef Zawinul, Joss Stone, Pat Metheny, Randy Brecker, and Ricky Martin.

Born in 1966, Joseph began playing drums in church services at the age of six. After attending the University of Miami, he toured extensively with Grammy-winning vocalist Betty Wright and appeared on her album B-Attitudes. In 1993, Jonathan was asked to join the Zawinul Syndicate, led by jazz legend Josef Zawinul. In 1994, he began working with Latin-jazz flutist Nestor Torres, and in 1995 he joined contemporary jazz saxophonist David Sanborn’s band.

Between 1996 and 1998, Joseph maintained a rigorous touring and recording schedule with Al Jarreau, Mike Stern, Bill Evans, and Randy Brecker before joining the touring band of pop star Ricky Martin in 1999. In 2000, Joseph toured with the legendary fusion band the Yellowjackets and performed with world-renowned bassist Richard Bona. Joseph was the drummer and musical arranger for pop/R&B singer Joss Stone in 2004 for her Soul Sessions tour. In 2013, Jonathan went back on the road, with legendary guitarist Jeff Beck.


Steve Rucker was a drummer in the popular band the Bee Gees. With the Bee Gees, he appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night With David Letterman, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He also appears on the Bee Gees’ One Night Only recording and DVD.

Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Rucker attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, and he has a master’s degree in jazz performance from the University of Miami. He has performed or recorded with Michael Jackson, Paquito D’Rivera, Barry Gibb, Jaco Pastorius, Joe Sample, Johnny Cash, Bo Diddley, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Sam Moore, Bob James, Ben Vereen, and Gloria Estefan.

Since 1979, Rucker has been the director of drumset studies at the University of Miami.


Check out sample pages here.


Here’s a promo clip that explains several of the concepts contained in Exercises in African-American Funk.


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