Tagged: Max Roach

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

Gruss Loops Volume VI – An In-Depth Preview

I finally snapped out of my post-Halloween, candy-induced coma and created mp3 previews for my latest subscriber-only loop release, Volume VI. With the widest range of styles and sounds I’ve yet to produce in a single loop pack, I consider this my pièce de résistance (until I release the next one). Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Papa's Got Some Brand New Loops
Papa's Got Some Brand New Loops

122_JB – After receiving several requests from my subscribers for more straight-up, James Brown-type funk grooves, I set off to record a series of loops inspired by the Godfather of Soul himself. With the snare cranked up high and a very dry and natural mix, this set of loops will help you to get up and do your thing. You know. Movin’ it and doin’ it. Can I count it off??

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99_FrameDrum – Who said the frame drum was just for traditional, South Indian music? This set of loops takes some of the Carnatic rhythmic phrasings this instrument is known for and melds it with a few Westernized 4/4 grooves that will keep your parents clapping on 1 and 3.

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100_Sugarfoot – This set of grooves is my hat tip to the one and only Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett. Funky pop drumming with some extra sweetness on the kick, these grooves will make you want to adopt a chimp and name him Bubbles.

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285_Bebop – In an effort to fill the 260-300 BPM gap in my catalogue, these uptempo jazz loops take some of the straight ahead stylings of Philly Joe Jones and Max Roach and mixes them up with some more of the contemporary and polyrhythmic phrasings of Bill Stewart and Peter Erskine.

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77_BigReverb – Holy Reverb, Batman! It’s almost like the drummer from My Morning Jacket and John Bonham had a baby. And that baby started recording drum loops with ridiculous amounts of reverb for its website.

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93_Sixteenth – This recording session originally started off as an ode to Michael McDonald’s 1982 Lite-FM hit, I Keep Forgettin’ and ended up as something quite different. With a steady 16th note pulse on the hi-hat and some extra “sub” on the kick, these grooves are equally Gangsta as they are Yacht Rock.

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To become a subscriber and gain instant access to all of the 100+ loops (each as AIFF, WAV and REX2) in Volume VI, just click the button below.





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

Quintuple the Pleasure, Quintuple the Fun

While cleaning up my studio and preparing for the big move, I stumbled across a folder of notes and lesson materials from my Berklee days. Inside this folder was everything from Max Roach solo transcriptions, to South Indian rhythmic cycles, to 4-way independence studies. Flipping through the pages of sheet music was like stepping into a time machine and being transported back to the grimey, unventilated practice studios on Mass Ave. Awh, the good old days.

Casey Scheuerell - Teacher of Odd Things
Casey Scheuerell

While taking a closer look at the contents of the folder, one page of handwritten transcriptions jumped out at me. Quintuplet based grooves?? It took me a few minutes, but I finally remembered the source of the music. It was from one of my lessons with the great, Casey Scheuerell. I studied with Casey during my last two years of college and learned a tremendous amount from him. Not just about drumming, but also about the music business as a whole. We spent just as much time talking during our lessons as we did playing on the two kits he had set up in his office.

From the archives
From the archives

Loop #85

You Zappa Heads and prog-rockers will enjoy today’s loop. It’s geek funk to the fullest and should probably never leave the confines of your own studio. Loosely based on the above transcription from my lessons with Casey, it’s a 4/4 groove with quintuplets on the hi-hat and a 2+3 rhythmic phrasing. To make things easier for tracking to a click, I actually recorded this as a halftime groove in 5/4… just listen to the shaker for the 8th note pulse. Anyway, I’d like to see someone try to dance to it. Let the math rock begin.

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158 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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Download the Logic session here. (68MB)

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245 BPM