Tagged: Art Blakey

A Loop Supreme

Loop #131

Another taste of the new Gretsch kit. If this loop was on the menu at Taco Bell, it would be topped off with a generous amount of sour cream.

Coltrane and the infamous 'taco session'

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271 BPM

That Great Gretsch Sound

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was fortunate enough to finally become the owner my dream jazz kit, a Gretsch USA Custom. After breaking open my piggy bank and selling 63% of my bone marrow, I finally had the sufficient funds to make the trek up to the wonderful Drum Center of Portsmouth and pick her up.

And why are these drums so great? Well, it’s all about the way they SOUND. They have a certain characteristic and tone that only Gretsch drums seem to possess. It’s that warm, round, and focused sound heard on so many of the classic jazz albums featuring Max Roach, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones and Art Blakey (just to name a few).

Max made me do it

Loop #130

Today’s loop is a two measure clip from a marathon jazz/funk extravaganza that took place shortly after setting up the new kit in the studio. You’ll notice the nice, open tone of the 18″ bass drum, along with some very melodic sounding toms. For mic placement, I just used the overheads and (a touch of the Beta 52A on the kick) to capture the natural sound of the kit. I also completely ripped off Bill Stewart’s signature fills. Look for more Gretsch based loops to come soon…

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105 BPM

Rabbit fur costume for the brain.

Today I bring you the latest track submitted from one of my readers. Recorded by Endai Hüdl in Berlin, Germany, the song is entitled “Ded Blokkz Mambo” and incorporates the Blakey-esque loop #79. Unfortunately, Endai didn’t include much of a backstory to the track. He did, however, provide a brief description:

“Rabbit fur costume for the brain. helps me concentrate…”

After listening to the track, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Ded Blokkz Mambo by endai hüdl

Get Your Shuffle On

I just realized I’ve posted 116 different loops on this site but not a single one has been a shuffle. What the hell is wrong with me? Some of my favorite songs are shuffles. Pride And Joy, Sweet Home Chicago, Moanin’…. I could go on and on. From jazz, to blues to rock, the shuffle is one of the few grooves that can find a home in almost any genre (except for Viking metal or perhaps Psychobilly).

Loop #117

Today’s loop is a straight ahead jazz/blues shuffle ala Art Blakey. With a “four on the floor” feathered bass drum and a steady gallop on the snare drum, it’s the first of many shuffle grooves to come out of the ryangruss.com beat factory.

Blakey Shuffle
Blakey Shuffle

Superbowl Shuffle
Superbowl Shuffle


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131 BPM

More Mambo

There seemed to be a lot of interest in the mambo loop I posted a few days ago, so I figured I’d share this concert footage from 1959 of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers live in Paris. Even FASTER than the original recording, this version of A Night In Tunisia will show you why Art was one of the greatest drummers to ever walk the planet.

Be sure to check out the ending. Pure Rock and Roll! I’m pretty sure if Art had access to a 60″ Paiste gong, some kerosene and a match, it may have sounded more like this (forward to the 4:00 mark).

Mambo!

Apparently I drank something over the 4th of July weekend that inspired me to play nothing but jazz grooves from the late 50’s. Every time I sit down at the kit, all I want to do is put on my trashy, old ride cymbal and pretend I’m Elvin Jones or Art Blakey. Who knew Colt 45 would have that effect?

Speaking of Art Blakey, today I wanted to talk about one of the grooves he’s best known for: The mambo. I first learned how to play this groove after hearing Art lay it down on his 1957 classic, A Night In Tunisia.

Stop whatever it is you’re doing (besides reading this blog, of course) and focus on this track for the next 11 minutes and 17 seconds:

If that didn’t inspire you, then you should probably check your pulse. You may have been prescribed something by one of Michael Jackson’s doctors.

Art Blakey - Mambo Master
Art Blakey - Mambo Master

Loop #79

Today’s loop takes Art’s patented mambo pattern and chills things out just a bit… all the way down to 240bpm. You’ll have to add your own percussion section and 3:2 clave (sorry, I was out of limbs), but you should be able to get that hard bop sound you’ve been looking for.

The rest of the grooves and fills from this session will be available in the highly anticipated release of Gruss Loops – Volume III.

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240 BPM

Working It Out

So, I wanted to get back to the experiment that I started with Bob Reynolds a few weeks ago. For those of you just tuning in, Bob and I decided to collaborate together on my loops by bouncing some musical ideas off of each other and building grooves around them. Bob was the first to offer up a track and sent the following rough demo:

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For those of you playing along at home.
Do You Think I Read This?

I opened up Bob’s demo in Logic and started experimenting by tracking different grooves. As you subscribers will recall, this is how I decided to approach the recording:

My initial reaction, I’m feeling this as 12/8. Not necessarily with a traditional funk beat… but something that blurs the lines of afro/jazz and pop music (this sounds like something Sting would really fuck up… but I promise I won’t). If Jeff Porcaro and Art Blakey had a baby, he’d (assuming they had a boy) be my first call for this session.

So with that in mind, I recorded the “main groove” for the track. Taking a “Rosanna” ghost note approach on the snare (along with a halftime backbeat) and one of Art Blakey’s afro/cuban bembe patterns in the right hand, I came up with the following:

The main groove for the A section

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Maybe some cowbell for the bridge? No jokes allowed.

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Perhaps some straight-up 4/4 on the coda?

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Check out more notes, a rough mix along with Bob’s track and a list of our next steps after the jump…

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This is where it gets interesting.

As you might recall, last week I mentioned I would be collaborating with my old friend, Bob Reynolds, in the process of creating music/ideas/grooves for upcoming loop packs. Well, today I received my first “rough sketch” from Bob along with the following notes:

Not exactly odd time, but I have this 12/8 loop in there that’s playing much
slower than intended (hence the sound of stretching). I feel like this is
maybe in 6/4? I don’t know, I made a chart for it in 12/8 because that’s where
the melodic rhythms worked out the best, and it’s in 4/4 in Logic because
originally I made it along to a funk beat….it’s morphed….what’s your
take?

Check out some “Bobbage” around the 5:50 mark:

The mp3 of Bob’s sketch track and “my take” after the jump…

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Elvin

One of my biggest regrets is that I never saw Elvin Jones perform before he passed away. Whenever he was in New York, performing at The Blue Note or The Village Vanguard, it seemed like I always had a gig or a rehearsal and couldn’t make it to the show. I kept hearing from friends that he was still playing with the same fire and energy that he did in the 1960’s with Coltrane, to the point where it seemed like he getting better in his later years. I had a false assumption that age would never slow him down and I would have plenty of opportunities to witness one of the great masters in person.

Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones

Loop #61

I’ve noticed there seems to be a shortage of decent jazz drum loops out there and I’ve decided to do something about it. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be recording a wide range of jazz grooves. Everything from Art Blakey Mambos to Vernel Fournier bush patterns. Today’s loop is the first of many more to come. It’s a groove in 3/4 inspired by Elvin with a bit of Bill Stewart thrown in.

Preview Here:

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173 BPM