This week I’ve been practicing, as I have been for months now, heel-down doubles with the bass drum. It’s been driving me crazy. But, I’m on the right track. The Perfect Balance Pedal has helped a lot.
Sometimes, when I’m working on some technical skill like this, I need some way to keep things fresh. So, I came up with this.
It comes from an idea that I heard Vinnie Colaiuta play on the track “Ben Casey” from the “Unreel” album by Randy Waldman. It’s during the solo, and it is very fast, but Vinnie plays this combination at the peak of the solo.
I just took the pattern he plays between the snare and bass drum, subtracted the ride notes he played, and added the jazz ride cymbal pattern on top for this exercise. Try it.
Here’s the PDF: a triplet independence exercise
No doubt about it, Jim Chapin’s ground-breaking book, Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, is an important tool for a beginning jazz drummer. I worked my way through a lot of it when I was first trying to learn jazz. However, I do think there are parts of the book that are confusing, and I would even go so far as to say that some of the book is a waste of time. Sorry if this sounds like blasphemy, but it is the truth.
That being said, I have updated what we used to be call “Lucky 13,” a worksheet that I had published on the previous edition of the BANG! website, to reflect my current thinking on what the beginning jazz drumming student should be working on when it comes to independence.
This sheet of 9 independence exercises, called “Essential Jazz Independence Part One,” gets right to the heart of the matter by focusing on learning to play triplet figures with one’s left hand vs the triplet jazz ride cymbal pattern that is played with the right hand (of course, reverse the hands if you are a lefty).
Here is the sheet for you to download. Just click this link to the right: Essential Jazz Independence Pt. 1
Have a look at the sheet….bring it into the practice room. Feel free to ask any questions. There are detailed instructions on the sheet itself that you can follow to help you along. Hope this is helpful.
The Tumbao bass drum pattern is a common figure, frequenty played by the drummer to match the rhythm of the bassist when playing Latin music. In this version of the pattern the bass drum plays on beat one, the “a” of beat one and on the “and” of beat two. The pattern repeats again on beat three (as you’ll see on the sheet). Another common way to play the rhythm is to omit beat one, as the bass player frequently does in this music. Having independence with your hands while your foot maintains this bass drum pattern is an important skill to have in your tool box if you are pursuing playing playing jazz in a modern setting. I was inspired to work on this after hearing Vinnie Colaiuta play this while playing with Chick Corea.
The method is completely logical, as you will see by looking at the worksheet that is attached. You can download the worksheet by clicking on the link here: Tumbao Independence Part One
The method is to maintain a common ride pattern with the right hand (here, the jazz ride cymbal pattern in a sixteenth note form), while systematically working through the common possibilities with your left hand.
Try it out….it’s hard work, but the pay off is big. A little further down the road, I’ll post some of the musical patterns you can play off the top of your head once you’ve locked down this independence concept.
Have fun, and please feel free to comment or ask questions.