It’s another cold and snowy day in Boston. I love living in New England because I really get to experience all four seasons, but I also hate this time of year. Three months into winter, late February is when I usually start perusing varioustravelwebsites, looking for an escape from the daily routine of scraping ice off of my windshield.
I have a rather vivid imagination, so rather than dropping a few grand on a trip to the Caribbean, sometimes I’ll just crank up the heat in my studio to about 95°F, crack open a few Coronas, and play some grooves indigenous to tropical regions. Reggae, calypso, samba… anything to feel like I’m within a 500 mile radius of the equator. My wife doesn’t seem to agree that this is the same as lounging around in a beach chair, somewhere on a white sandy beach. My response to this is usually a snap of the fingers, and a request for more guacamole.
Today’s “take me away” groove is Soca. An offshoot of Calypso music, Soca originates from the islands of Tobago and Trinidad and is usually based around a heavy drum and percussion ostinato. Some examples of Soca grooves in popular music are Buster Poindexter’s 1987 hit, “Hot, Hot, Hot” and Kevin Lyttle’s“Turn Me On”. This particular loop is a four bar phrase consisting of just kick and snare. With an almost march-like quality, this groove makes for an ideal drum break on any Caribbean dance floor. Look for more Soca grooves in the upcoming and highly anticipated release of Gruss Loops Volume X.
If you consider yourself a true music fan and live in Boston, then odds are you’ve been to Wally’s. Since 1947, it’s been a Beantown institution, known as a stomping ground for both Berklee students and touring musicians alike. The size of a small apartment (it’s literally the ground floor of an old brownstone), Wally’s is about as intimate as a venue can get. In order to safely walk to the bathroom, you need to squeeze past the hi hat and pray to god the drummer doesn’t do a fill.
While my friends and I were in college, Wally’s was our Mecca. You could find us there on any given Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday night. These were known as “funk nights”… and funky it was. The musicians responsible for “house band” duties usually consisted of Sam Kininger on sax, Eric Kranso on guitar, Adam Deitch on drums, and a slew of other musicians who would later go on to form the band, Lettuce.
This is a groove inspired by those late night jam sessions at Wally’s. Uptempo funk with a bit of conga in the mix. For this loop I used my little 10″ Premier snare and cranked it up nice and high with no dampening.