While I’m not a big fan of packing up everything you own, moving it into a new place and then unpacking again, it does tend have its little rewards. Like rediscovering items you forgot you even possessed. In this case, that item is Joe Henderson’s incredible 1979 album, “Relaxin’ at Camarillo”. I had purchased this record back in high school while going through my “must own everything Tony Williams ever played on” phase and somehow managed to lose track of it after 10 years of continuous moving from apartment to apartment in NYC.
Not only is Tony’s playing on this album mind blowing as usual, this record was a significant musical discovery for me because it introduced me to the fantastic drumming of Peter Erskine. Occupying the drum seat for half of the album, a 25 year old Erskine definitely holds his own alongside another legendary jazz musician, Chick Corea.
Today’s loop (and bonus pack for subscribers) was inspired by the opening track on Relaxin’ At Camarillo, “Y Todavia La Quiero”. Based around an 8 bar vamp, this song not only showcases Joe Henderson’s huge sound and improvisational genius, but also Peter Erskine’s knack for driving a band with dynamics, groove and his trademark musicality. Blurring the lines of latin, funk and rock, Peter takes the chops he honed while in Weather Report and pushes this quartet into new musical territory.
Subscribers, click on the picture of a scantily clad Erskine (you non-subscribers are really missing out… trust me) below to download the bonus pack containing 10 groove variations and fills (each in WAV, AIFF, REX2 formats) from this session.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been getting hounded with emails from ryangruss.com subscriber, Bobby Lee, (above pic) asking me to post some “real music”. Apparently jazz/fusion isn’t his cup of tea… or errr, can of Old Milwaukee. Anyway, I traced Bobby’s IP address and discovered he lives in Varner, Arkansas. I aim to please, so here’s a beat found in many of the songs of another Arkansas native, Johnny Cash.
This groove is a pretty straight ahead train beat. I used brushes on my brass snare and like yesterday’s loop, I didn’t muffle the kick drum. Bobby Lee, hopefully this gets your stamp of approval.