When working on playing authentically in any musical style, one fail-safe approach is to begin by absorbing the playing of your favorite drummers. Transcribe what you like, practice it, absorb it and then use it freely. Once you can do that, alter the ideas to make them your own.
When it comes to uptempo jazz, I was first struck by Steve Gadd’s playing on several records:
Chick Corea’s “The Mad Hatter”–track: “Humpty Dumpty”
Chick Corea’s “Friends” –track: “Cappuccino”
Then I went to Tony Williams’ playing. His uptempo jazz playing was sublime. “Four and More” (Miles Davis) is great place to start, but any of Tony Williams’ playing as a teen will give you a sense of his unique style. His ride cymbal playing was astoundingly fast, clean and crisp. And his comping was efficient and funky.
For these two pages of exercises, I’ve started from transcriptions of Williams and Gadd (it’s well documented that Gadd was heavily influenced by Tony) and then taken liberties to make them more applicable for mere mortals. For example, I’ve decided not to include five notes in a row on the ride cymbal because of the technical difficulty of those phrases for those of us with somewhat less than Tony-level ride cymbal technique.
You’ll notice that the 16 exercises are all four measures long–which is kind of how one needs to think at these faster tempos (240 bpm plus).
You’ll also notice that the cymbal patterns are broken and varied. That’s because I wanted these exercises to help me and you with a more modern/contemporary style of playing.
Here’s the link so you can download the PDF: Uptempo Jazz Comping One
Hope these help.
Don't miss LEVEL5's next show: 9:30pm on Wed, 2/21/17 at NYC's legendary club, The Bitter End.
"The Sybil EP," the debut from Mark Feldman's LEVEL5, is due for release in 2018, and features Oz Noy and Will Lee.
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