A prospective student asked me about adding some Latin patterns to his rock playing. The first thing I thought of was this highly useful and amazing sounding Mozambique pattern, brought to the mainstream pop world courtesy of Steve Gadd. I’ve been using it in my playing for a long time, and it never disappoints. Check out Steve demonstrating the Mozambique at this drum clinic.
Now check out the PDF, with a transcription of the basic pattern, plus a few variations. You can open the PDF here: Nasty Lick 45
The Gadd lick is a well known pattern, very similar to this one. (See example #2 from “Seven Gadd Licks,” else where in this blog). I am fairly certain that the first appearance of Gadd’s use of this lick was on Tom Scott’s tune, “Dirty Old Man,” from Scott’s 1975 album, “New York Connection.”
“Joe’s Garage” was released in 1979 and at the time, it is pretty well documented that Colaiuta was very heavily influenced by Steve Gadd’s playing. I believe that this “Dong Work” lick was inspired by the “Dirty Old Man” lick.
The basic premise here is to take 32nd notes, weave them between the hi hat, snare and bass drum and incorporate them into a groove. What makes these kind of patterns sound cool is that they are fully integrated into the groove of the song….they have a pocket.
Another great thing about licks like this is that they are distributed between multiple limbs in such a way that playing fast becomes very easy.
In order for this to sound good, you have to make sure that all the unaccented snare drum notes are ghosted.
So, have a look at the worksheet, and try this out. It’s sick. I promise. Here’s the link: Nasty Lick 43
This idea comes from checking out Steve Gadd on “Samba Song,” from Chick Corea’s “Friends” album. It’s a fantastic example of how you can take patterns you already know and manipulate them to create great sounding drum grooves or licks.
First off, what do we mean by a “reverse” paradiddle? I think of a reverse or backwards paradiddle as the pattern that results from starting in the middle of the paradiddle pattern. Starting with the single paradiddle sticking: RLRR LRLL, we reverse it by playing it as the following: RRLR LLRL. You can also start the “backwards” or “reverse” pattern with your left hand, like this: LLRL RRLR.
To apply this idea to a samba, simply play the reverse paradiddle with your right hand on the hi hat and left hand on the snare, and play the samba bass drum pattern with your bass drum foot beneath it. When playing with my right hand on the hi hat, I choose to omit the left foot part of the standard samba feet pattern (the “ands” when thinking in sixteenth notes, or “two” and “four” when thinking in eighth notes). No left foot necessary. I just like the way it sounds better this way.
If you move your right hand to the ride cymbal, you might consider adding the left foot back into the mix.
Check out the PDF, which lays out a bunch of exercises for you to try.
Here’s the PDF: 10 Exercises To Develop The Reverse Paradiddle Samba
The key to making this sound really cool is to move the accents around with your left hand on the snare. Make sure that the unaccented notes are played very quietly and you’ll have a smoking samba that sounds much harder to play than it is….
Ever since I wrote the piece about Gadd’s playing with the Manhattan Jazz Quintet, I’ve been itching to give you my transcription of his fours from “Jordu.” Steve takes eight fours on the tune, which is from the “Autumn Leaves” album released in 1985. It turns out that the transcribing of these mini solos is a bit more difficult than I thought, and I’ve been revising my original transcription….polishing the details and making sure that it is worthy and ready for publication on the world wide web.
Since I’m still tweaking it, I decided to whet your appetite a little by posting just the first two fours. I’ll follow up shortly with the rest, but these are both great and there are good lessons to be learned from checking them out.
First, get your hands on the PDF by clicking this link: Gadds Fours on Jordu Part One
Proof That The Rudiments Are Worthwhile
The first lesson is that rudiments are useful! Check out the first four. The first lick Gadd plays is a combination of a single paradiddle and left handed paradiddle-diddle. It sounds amazing! So don’t listen to anyone who says the rudiments are a waste of time. This is a great example of why they are not.
Repeating A Phrase is a Good Way to Hook Your Audience
The second lesson, which you can learn by checking out the second four, is that repeating a great sounding lick or phrase is a good strategy to get your audience excited. Steve is great at doing this, and it is one of the things that I believe makes him such a strong soloist. Sticking with a single idea for a number of measures will give your audience something to latch onto. Musicians who play complicated patterns that change every few beats may think that they’re being slick, but I think they are losing an opportunity to build exciting solos by playing to other musicians rather than to the “layperson.”
That’s all for now. I’ll return shortly with the rest of Gadd’s transcribed fours from “Jordu.” Until then…
WHEN MJQ MEANS “Manhattan Jazz Quintet”
Most people think of MJQ as the Modern Jazz Quartet. Not me. For me, MJQ means The Manhattan Jazz Quintet, whose first album was released in 1984. The original line-up
of the band featured a ridiculously sick group of New York based jazz musicians:
Steve Gadd (ds), Eddie Gomez (bs), David Matthews (p), Lew Soloff (tp) and George
The group was put together by Matthews, an in-demand session keyboardist, composer,
producer and arranger whose employers included James Brown and CTI Records among
many, many others.
Gadd appeared on 11 Manhattan Jazz Quintet albums between 1984 and 2008. In between
there have been multiple versions of the line-up, and other drummers in the band
have included Peter Erskine, Al Foster, and Dave Weckl (who played on the MJQ albums “Caravan,” “Face To Face,” and “Plays Blue Note,” all in the late ’80′s).
I’ve always loved Gadd’s straight ahead jazz playing, and once I heard his performances
with Chick Corea, I longed for more. But Steve’s career took a turn in a pop
direction (this is not a diss–it’s just a fact), and it seemed more and more
difficult to find him playing in this setting.
When a friend turned me onto these MJQ records, I was ecstatic. They had everything
I was looking for from Steve’s jazz drumming: aggression, finesse, extraordinary technique, a unique drum sound, a distinctive set of vocabulary, a marvelously fluid and swinging time feel, great solos, great solos, and did I mention that Steve takes great solos on these albums? I always loved how Steve seemed to have distilled Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Philly Joe Jones and Buddy Rich into his own creative sound.
Pssst….I love the 8′s that Steve takes on “Jordu,” from the 2nd album, “Autumn Leaves,” so I’ve transcribed them. I’ll post those shortly.
Gadd’s Discography with MJQ
Below is a list of Steve Gadd’s recorded output with The Manhattan Jazz Quintet. I
am most familiar with those MJQ albums made in the ’80s, and I highly recommend
them, although I would be surprised if any Gadd fans would be disappointed with any of these.
“Manhattan Jazz Quintet” (1984)
“Autumn Leaves” (1985)
“My Funny Valentine” (1985)
“Live At The Pit Inn” (1986)
“The Sidewinder” (1986)
“My Favorite Things: Live in Tokyo” (1987)
“Manhattan Blues” (1990)
“Blues March” (1994)
“Concierto do Arenjuez” (1996) (Gadd not on all tracks)
For More Information…
For more in-depth information about The Manhattan Jazz Quintet, check out the following links:
- All Music Guide http://www.allmusic.com/artist/manhattan-jazz-quintet-p7034/biography
- David Matthews’ website http://www.davidmatthewsjazz.com/
I Want To Hear From YOU!
Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Do you not care at all what I write? Whatever it is, please comment here on the blog or write to me and tell me what you think. Let’s talk.
Steve has a number of great signature licks, seven of which are included here. Click on the link to the right to download the PDF:Seven Gadd Licks
Take ‘em to the practice room, then to the bandstand. Enjoy!