Transcriptions

Listening a lot and listening deeply is essential to learning jazz drumming. It is only by listening that we are exposed to the music and start to understand how it's played. Some people debate whether to transcribe or not, and I do recommend trying to learn things by ear too, but transcriptions are a good way of really listening to and getting inside what a drummer is playing. What follows are some transcriptions from the masters of jazz drumming. There is so much to learn and assimilate.

August 5th, 2015

Claudio Slon: Captain Bacardi

Something a little bit different and a way to get into playing some authentic Bossa Nova. This is a transcription of the intro and first time through "Captain Bacardi", the last track on Jobim's quintessential album "Wave". There are a few key points, not least the opening the hi-hat on the "ands" of 1 and 3, which is surprisingly hard to get together and a very Brazilian sound. Also note the amount of improvisation from the basic pattern, there is a lot of improvised comping, but it becomes simpler when the melody arrives. The tempo is also a challenge.

Claudio Slon, Captain Bacardi

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Jimmy Cobb Buy the CD:
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Filed Under : Jazz Drumming: Comping | Claudio Slon
February 2nd, 2014

Elvin Jones: Blues to You

It's taken much longer than I planned to get this done, but this is the third and, for the moment, final part, of my study of Elvin Jones on "Coltrane Plays the Blues". Unlike the others, this is not a complete transcription (its' too long!), but the first 16 choruses, that end in a typical Elvin lick. There is so much to unpack here and work on, but I think the main difference to notice from the two earlier transcriptions of slower blueses is the way Elvin varies the cymbal pattern. He is playing a lot of patterns based on 3 beat figures that break up the time and create lots of tension and release; these are supported by the comping figures in the snare and bass drum. Also of note is the chops required to play triplets with one hand at this tempo (bar 23)!!!

Elvin Jones, Blues to You

John Coltrane, Coltrane Plays the Blues, Elvin Jones Buy the CD:
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Filed Under : Jazz Drumming: Comping | Elvin Jones

 

 

April 11th, 2013

Art Blakey: Jazz Shuffle

It's hard to definitively call this groove a "Blakey Shuffle" as it is a widely used jazz variation of a groove that came from the blues, but it's pretty close to it. It is mostly famously heard on the hard-bop tune "Moanin", but can also be heard on tunes such as "The Chess Players". It is slightly unusual in jazz drumming because of the back-beat on beats 2 & 4, but it really grooves and drives the music. You'll have to work on getting a good balance between all the parts and you'll find you need some good left hand control. It is essential to play along with the original to feel the groove! (It's not written but play the Hi-Hat on 2 & 4 and feather the bass drum on all four beats).

Art Blakey, Moanin, Jazz Drumming

Art Blakey, Moanin, Jazz Drumming, Jazz Shuffle Buy the CD:
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Filed Under : Jazz Drumming: Comping | Art Blakey
November 3rd, 2012

Brian Blade: Ask Me Now

Brian Blade has got to be one of my favourite drummers, so I don't know why it has taken me so long to get something down and then up here by him. What's so inspiring about his playing is the depth of his musicality, it's never about chops or technique it's about making great music and he is able to that in almost any style. This transcription is of the track "Ask Me Now" from the fantastic standards album "Real Book Stories" by Wolfgang Muthspeil. Whilst not complicated, it's particularly interesting for the slow tempo and Blade's use of semi-quavers (16ths) and triplets to divide up the beat in the comping. It's a wonderful insight into Blade's subtle and musical approach to playing this kind of standards jazz! It should give you a few ideas!

Brian Blade, Ask Me Now, Jazz Drumming

Wolfgang Muthspeil, Real Book Stories, Brian Blade Buy the CD:
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Filed Under : Jazz Drumming: Comping | Brian Blade


Jimmy Cobb: So What

Philly Joe Jones: Milestones

Eric Harland: A Blues

Tony Williams: E.S.P

 

 

Faithful, Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Michal Miskiewicz.Faithful - Marcin Wasilewski Trio

 

Five Peace Band, with Vinnie ColaiutaFive Peace Band Live - The latest fusion offering from John McLaughlin, Chick Corea and co. featuring Vinnie Colaiuta.

Rabo De Nube, Charles Lloyd Quartet. Eric HarlandRabo De Nube - Charles Lloyd Quartet.