Superstition by Stevie Wonder

This past week or so I’ve been working on songs for a dep gig with a great band of local musician friends I’ve had the pleasure of working with on and off for some years. Their set is comprised of classic R&B, motown, funk and soul material, with some of the world’s top drummers in the chair on the original recordings – and so my job here is proving to be once again an enjoyable challenge!

One particular song on the list is a firm favourite with many and varied cover bands – and one which I have played on lots of occasions with several different outfits, but I would have to say that its truly sublime feel has proved to be one of the most elusive and revisited grooves with which I have ever wrestled to the point where, to date, I’ve never been happy with how I play it! …and this track was originally recorded by a guy who probably wouldn’t consider the drum kit to be his first instrument! Continue reading

Beat Displacement & Cantaloupe Island

Cantaloupe Island tutorial.

Here’s an interesting and fun rhythmic concept, accessible to players of all levels: ‘Beat Displacement’.
I’m going to reference this directly to an equally engaging and highly musical tune: Herbie Hancock’s ‘Cantaloupe Island’, which features the genre-defining talents of Tony Williams on drums.

Although this tune is widely regarded as a ‘jazz standard’, the feel is in ‘straight eighths’ (as opposed to the more common swing/dotted jazz ride rhythm). The ‘beat displacement’ content is displayed here within the snare drum line, pretty much right through the track, landing neatly alongside the bass emphasis. Here are a couple of bars taken from the drum part:

  • Ride cymbal at the top – and if you’re just starting out playing drums, try leaving out the pedal hi hats to begin with. Continue reading