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

Theloniuos Monk/Straight, No Chaser tutorial

Learn to play jazz drums at Dye House Drum Works

I thought I might share a couple of things with you today, as this afternoon I am enjoying the music of Thelonious Monk – and his drummer of the time, Ben Riley.

If you’re not familiar with Monk’s work, check him out. In terms of jazz greats, he’s right up there and really is someone with whom all musicians should become at least aware.

There is so much to love about the man and his music, but for me the real deal clincher is a singular sense of fun that comes through in his compositions and performances. Continue reading

Good Practice

Practice Tips for Drummers

Practice time is often at a premium, so I thought I would offer a few words and ideas on getting the best out of the time you do have.

It is also quickly worth mentioning – for the benefit of those readers who don’t practice at all: don’t sell yourself short! Developing your skill as a musician plays a big part in enhancing the joy of playing and if you can kick-start some kind of regular practice routine, I would guarantee you’ll get more reward from your drumming. Practice really does work! 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