Tagged: Jazz

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

Filling the Gap

While perusing the homepage of this site earlier today, making sure everything was in order, something jumped out at me: A major gap in my tempo categories! How did this happen? How have I not recorded anything between 260-300 BPM?? That’s prime wanking territory. I’ve spent years perfecting paradiddles and triple flama-ratama-dingdongs in the this range, yet I somehow neglected to record anything for this blog. I immediately went up to my studio, set the click track to 285 BPM and got to work.

Loop #101

The second-fastest loop yet to be released, today’s groove kicks of my new tempo category with some straight up bebop playing in the vein of Max Roach and Vernel Fournier. A four bar phrase with brushes on the snare drum, this uptempo jazz groove is one of many that I’ll be releasing in the next loop pack.

Max Roach
Max Roach

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285 BPM

Brush Party

Well, I promised nothing but jazz this week and I’m staying true to my word. As much as I wanted to record some glam-rock, power ballad beats (trust me, they’re coming), I resisted the temptation and stayed focused on the “classic” stuff.

Loop #63

Max Roach
Max Roach

Like yesterday’s groove, today’s loop is another eight bar phrase, but at a brisker tempo and played with brushes. Stylistically, it’s a mix of all of my favorite brush players including; “Philly Joe” Jones, Max Roach and Vernel Fournier.

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245 BPM

Somewhere in Between.

There is a special feel that was born from the brass bands of New Orleans. It first emerged around the turn of the 20th century and eventually worked its way north, merging into other styles of music along the way. This is a groove that is neither triplet nor sixteenth note based. It’s not straight funk and it’s not totally swung. It’s somewhere in between. It’s a feel that’s literally impossible to notate on sheet music and even harder to play.

Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart

There are only a handful of drummers in modern music who can truly find this “in between” feel and make it work in a variety of musical settings. Two of my favorites are Bill Stewart and Idris Muhammad. Whether they’re keeping it cool on a straight ahead jazz session or laying down back beats behind a funk band, they always manage to find this rhythmic sweet-spot.

Idris Muhammad
Idris Muhammad

Loop #22
Today’s beat is a four measure loop based on this “in between” feel. It’s a lazy funk groove that borrows more than a few licks from Bill and Idris (guys, the po’ boys are on me next time). And you, sitting in front of your computer, don’t even think about touching that quantizer.

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Download the Logic session here. (67MB)

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66 BPM