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November 2004

premier print issue

god forbid
Brooks Wackerman

machine head


elvin jones tower of power

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in depth articles on

November 2004
It has been an amazing year for DrumPRO. Thanks to all who supported us to make this magazine possible. To all our editors and contributors, I want to say that we did it! Most businesses fail within the first year, but we are gaining momentum in our endeavors to become the most innovative drumming resource on the planet. We are breaking new ground in all areas of the percussive arts and we are proud to be your source for the latest news. Although we are not the biggest yet, I feel confident in you, our readers, to help us get the word out about what George Shepherd weve been so diligently working to create. Please let us know of your wants and about the drummers that youve recently discovered. We are all in this together! This is your magazine, your community and your future - take pride in it!

Raw god forbids Cory Pierce machine heads Dave MClain Cannibal Corpse Groove percussion pop practical studies with loops Tower of Power World turkish rhythms Jazz Elvin Jones Corps studies Rock bad religions Brooks Wackerman William Goldsmith dinner at the sechuan misc book reviews gear reviews CD reviews

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DrumPRO Magazine Issue #4 Publisher CDI Publications, Inc. Sr. Editor George Shepherd Groove Editor Donny Gruendler Rock/Raw Editor Brian Davis Jazz/World/Corps Editor George Shepherd Contributing Writers Brian Davis George Shepherd Anthony Welch Donny Gruendler Carlos Hatem Rick McLaughlin Ruben van Rompae Adam Nurre Design/Layout jimmy.hazard Emerson Areharte for deadthorn.industries www.deadthornindustries.net Website Xanthus Advertising/Publishing Office George Shepherd george@cdipublications.com (714) 436-1234 (866) 437-6570 Submissions P.O. Box 11388 Newport Beach, CA 92658 Subscriptions/ Ordering Subscribe Online at www.drumpromagazine.com or Send $19.95 (u.s.), $32.95 (intl) (U.S. Funds Only) DrumPRO Subscriptions PO Box 11388 Newport Beach, CA 92658 (714) 436-1234 (866) 437-6570 All contents, Copyright 2004 CDI Publications, Inc. Reproduction of any part without publishers written permission is strictly prohibited.


From childhood buddies to full-flown metal messiahs, the members of God Forbid have come a long way in the last eight years. Their sophomore Century Media Records release Gone Forever has established the band as one of the heavy metal revolutionaries who are reviving heavy music the way it should be hard, fast and relentless. The driving force behind God Forbid is drummer Corey Pierce. The 29year-old drummer unleashes a flurry of intricate double bass patterns and massive, neck pain-inducing grooves on the bands latest release. DrumPRO: What was it about the drums that grabbed your attention? Corey Pierce: I think its the most challenging instrument that exists, just because theres so much going on. Its taxing physically and its taxing mentally. Its even harder mentally, because when your bodys fatigued, especially with metal, you have to keep a clear frame of mind. Its very challenging. Everything starts from the drums and works its way up. DP: When did you first get involved with metal? CP: When I was 16. I was listening to Priest and Maiden. I used to just sit at home and play Slayer records a lot. Then there was Metallica and Pantera. I quit playing the kit for 3 or 4 years to focus on drum corp. That was a tremendous help technique wise. It was a lot of practicing, up to 10 hours a day.

DP: Whats your favorite song off the new album and why? CP: Living Nightmare is my favorite song. Theres so much in that song. It starts out really thrashy, then drops into what I think is one of the heaviest breakdowns of the whole record. Its just so grooving. Theres a ton of stuff thats fun to play, tons of double bass, crazy rolls and heavy grooves where youre just noddin your head. It has everything I love to play pretty much in it. DP: Tell me some of the history of God Forbid. CP: Weve been together for about eight years now. Me and (vocalist Byron Davis and bassist Jon Outcalt) went to school since we were 13. We werent really doing much at first. We played a few shows here and then. There was this metalcore band from Jersey who were the leaders of that movement before it came to be what it is today. We saw them and were like, all right we need to get back into the basement and restructure ourselves. Thats when stuff started to come together. Myself and (guitarist Dallas Coyle) were really into a lot of progressive stuff like Meshuggah and Candiria. Wed sit up for hours drinking tons of Mountain Dew, taking in all the sugar we could to come up with crazy ideas. We were into a lot of Oppressor and Death. I was a huge Gene Hoglan fan. Thats kind of where it took off. I think the level of talent in this band has grown so much. You dont recognize the dudes youre playing with because theyve gotten so good. DP: What are your thoughts on the current state of metal? CP:I think its great. Its like a resurgence of real metal with Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage; its really heavy now. These bands are responsible for bringing back a whole new metal mentality. I think its a really good time for metal.


DP: Tell me about one or two shows that stand out in your memory. CP: One of the best shows was the Headbangers Ball tour at the Fillmore in San Francisco. It was sick. There were bodies flying around everywhere. We were on tour with Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage. It was like being on tour with your friends. We were hanging out everyday, drinking, partying and on top of that you get to play in front of a bunch of people every night and you get paid every night. It doesnt get any better than that. DP: What was your approach to the new album? Did you, as a drummer, want to do anything different or try anything new? CP: It was pretty grueling to be honest. They just wanted everything from me on this record. They wanted these crazy weird double bass patterns, or they wanted it crazy fast. Then at the same time, they want to bring me back to this pocket group. I had to learn to be subtle at times. Its

more difficult then it sounds. I listened to some hip-hop to bring back my groove. The speed stuff comes natural at this point. DP: Name five CDs youre currently listening to. CP: Lamb of Gods As the Palaces Burn, Black Crowes By Your Side, Fireball Ministry, I listen to (Panteras) Vulgar Display of Power a lot. I had to go by a new copy because mine was worn out. To round out the list I would have to say a lot of James Brown. The drumming on it seems simple, but to capture that feel with the grace notes and the pocket thing, its just amazing. DP: How do you prepare for a show physically and mentally? CP: I just try to blank everything out and just clear my mind. I dont think about anything except just playing. Most of the drumming is muscle memory. Physically, it just depends on how I feel that day. Generally, I just clear my mind, stretch a little bit, hop up there and let it go.


ou should never forget your roots. Machine Head knows this. After the lack of success with their 2001 release Supercharger, the band split from Roadrunner Records. Guitarist Ahrue Luster left the band and remaining members Robert Flynn, Adam Duce and Dave McClain were left to ponder their future. The three let out their frustration in 11 new songs that echo reminiscent of the Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change days. Back on Roadrunner, the band added long-time friend Phil Demmel on guitar and returns with the raw, brash sound that made them a heavy metal heavyweight. On the new release, Through the Ashes of Empires, drummer Dave McClain keeps every song driving with his array of tom and double kick fills, cymbal fills and head banging beats. DrumPRO: What was the bands mind-set recording the new record? What were your goals with this album? Dave McClain: Pretty much just to write a record for ourselves. At the time we didnt have a record label; we had severed ties with Roadrunner. We were just a three-piece because (Luster) left the band. We pretty much got back to writing stuff like when I was joined the band. We werent writing songs for radio or anything like that. We got to pretty much, to me, what Machine Head is about. DP: Were there any challenges you faced with your drum parts on this album? DM: There are parts on the other records where I held back a little. I wanted to get away from that and get back to having tons of double bass and fills. Sometimes when we play songs I think to myself, what would other drummers like Vinnie Paul do? Then Ill come up with a part. I wanted to make it more exciting and challenge myself at the same time. DP: When did you realize you wanted to be a drummer? DM: Back in the seventh grade, Id go to a friends house and bang around on his drum kit. Before I started playing drums I was into KISS. Back then I was in to Peter Criss and Neal Peart. DP: How often do you practice when youre not touring? DM: Its hard to practice when youre on tour. At home, I try to practice four times a week, at least a couple times a day. Ill watch a drum video, like a Terry Bozzio video. If I hear something crazy I like, then I work on it until Ive learned it. DP: How did you come up with having your bass drums so spread apart in your setup? DM: Basically, because I want to be seen more. So, I put my toms flat. And the only way to do it was to pull out the kicks more. Now, from the far left leg to the far right leg is an eight-foot span. Its not weird for me. But every time another drummer gets behind my kit, theyre like, What the fuck?. I think it visually adds to the group. DP: How do you stay in shape on the road? Do you ever suffer any wear and tear? DM: I dont really keep in shape. I stretch before we play, but thats about it. Well play an hour and 40 minutes and the rest of the band will be drenched in sweat. But I dont really sweat. And I never have any hand problems or anything. DP: How do you feel about the state of metal music right now? DM: I think metal is really healthy right now. Its a weird scene. Theres so many different names like hardcore, or emo-this, emo-that. Bands like God Forbid, Lamb of God and Chimaira are doing well, and I think we fit into the category with those bands. I like the full metal stuff. I dont really care for like the death metal singer then they go into like a Journey chorus. Thats a little too extreme for me. I like melodic vocals, and I like heavy vocals. But going from death metal to Steve Perry just doesnt work for me.

Machine Head Through the Ashes of Empire Roadrunner Records P=4 M=4 RQ=3 A band that is filled with veterans to the metal scene, Machine Head always finds new ways to keep them selves inspired and pushing the boundaries of their imagination. With all the things you expect Machine Head to be Through the Ashes of Empire exceeds expectations hitting you like a breath of fresh air in the back of your throat. Full of grooves, huge guitars and up front drums, this record encompasses everything a true metal record should be. The drumming of Dave McClain is also as strong as ever. The greatest aspects to his drumming are his use of toms against the chunking guitars like on the third track Left Unfinished and the way he lays deep into a groove in Elegy. His drumming also makes the many transitions of the songs flow together seamlessly smoothing out all the rough edges. It really seems like he pushed the limits and left it all on the battlefield of this album. The only downside to the album was some of the lyrics, which seem a bit blatant at times. They could have used a more poetic touch, but it is really only a matter of taste.


are Kings ruling over festering bodies, walking zombies and maggots in a sinister plot to defile the human race and leave their mark on the hollowed out carcass of a world. This band has had an incredible career spanning 15 years, releasing 10 albums with over a million records sold and countless world tours. These are grand accomplishments considering the band has had no mainstream radio airplay and is one of the most censored in the world. For a band that felt fortunate to their first album and tour, their careers have exceeded what most thought was possible for a death metal band.

Cannibal Corpse and Zen probably dont go together smoothly in the minds of most. A band that practices the art of defamation in every extreme probably does not have a lot in common with those who practice Zen meditation. However, there is one common thread between the two that pull them together in a timeless bond. They just are A Zen master will view everything in the world is as it should be, whether agreeable or disagreeable. It just is. That explains Cannibal Corpse perfectly. They just are. When you buy a new Cannibal Corpse record you know exactly what to expect. They arent full of surprises, gimmicks or any new colors or flavors. Its an album splattered in blood, sweat, urine and bile from the imagination of a bands twisted sense of humor. As though Cannibal Corpse created a genre all to themselves, where they

As for the drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, he is very much like the band himself. He just is. He would never try and fool anyone into thinking he is a drummers drummer, but after hearing him play you become well aware of the fact he knows exactly what hes doing. Doing it superbly and without effort. As one of the original Death Metal drummers, Paul carved a path many have tried to follow and his work on the newest record The Wretched Spawn is no different. His drumming displays stomach punching tom work, relentless double bass chops and blast beats brutal enough to chop through your skull. And not only is Paul the man behind the drums, he is also one of the minds that contribute to the twisted stories that are trademark to the lyrics of the Cannibal Corpse experience. Growing up with this band, I could not imagine a world without Cannibal Corpse. With that said I could not imagine Cannibal Corpse without Paul Mazurkiewicz. It would be like my insides were my outsides and Tipper Gore sang bloodlust lullabies.
check out our video interview with Paul at www.drumpro.com

Dillinger Escape Plan Miss Machine Relapse Records, P=5 M=5 RQ=5 Sometimes in life you experience something that just makes you think everything you have done in life is wrong. You are overcome with the desire to throw away your tools of the trade and start over again from scratch. This is how I felt after consuming the contents of Dillinger Escape Plans latest demonstration of aural architecture. This album is signature Dillinger with a dichotomy of songs. Some go through you like shrapnel and others make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, even if just for a moment. However, no matter what these giants of hardcore do, they do it superbly and above the rest. The masterful drumming of Chris Pennie is executed flawlessly and his ability to go from a million miles an hour to a deep groove is done seamlessly. Creativity and talent flow from his pores as he puts every ounce of it into his work with the band. Perfectly encompassing a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde behind the drums. The CD also comes with a bonus DVD, which is a very nice addition. The production isnt the best and the sound quality is lacking, but what it gives you is an insight to the bands unhinged live shows.

Killswitch Engage The End of Heartache Roadrunner Records P=3 M=4 RQ=4 For a band that debuts two new members, Killswitch Engage has put together a strong second record with The End of Heartache laying to rest any thoughts of a sophomore jinx. This album shows the band has evolved and wasnt afraid to explore new territory. New drummer Justin Foley does an excellent job, especially since he was thrown into a situation that was not only demanding of the drummer, but also into a band that had pretty high expectations for their second record. You have to listen no further than the first track to understand why he was the correct choice for the group. He definitely has a large bag of chops to pull from, but is also confident enough as a drummer to lie back in the pocket and provide a foundation for the rest of the guys. Overall The End of Heartache is a solid record that will provide the listener with some great moments, but after track seven the songs start to blend together and become repetitive.

Deicide Scars of the Crucifix Earache Records P=3 M=3 RQ=3 Scars of the Crucifix is Decides first release on their new label Earache Records. It seems the change of labels has revitalized the band as they sound like their old selves again. This is their best effort since Once Upon the Cross. Much of the record is straight-forward brutality with guttural vocals, crunching guitars and blistering drums. But it also has a groovy element to it and some parts almost have a sing along quality like the chorus of the title track. The drumming of Steve Asheim is fast, loose and on the edge of out of control, which is exactly what the album calls for. The musicality isnt exactly ground breaking, but when you cram as many notes into a song as he does there isnt any room for the unnecessary. Blast beats, lighting quick double bass and energy to match an amped up professional wrestler his drumming is on point. The downside would be the vocals of Glen Benton. Many parts of the album are swallowed up by his growling, which seems to get deeper and deeper over time. It covers up the rest of the band and they dont allow the music to stand out as much as it should. Vocals are definitely important in this style of music, but too much of anything can be a bad thing.

book Reviews

Drummers Guide to Music Theory (SL=1+, C=5, LO=5) By Peter Magadini A beacon of light to the frustrated guitarist that cant understand the drummers thoughts on that one chord pattern thingy with the finger lick Who are we kidding? Drummers are the real frustrated ones! Anyway, Peters book is a great bridge to understanding the language of music and the other musicians we frequently work with. Peter does a thorough job at explaining many of the common functions of harmony and how they relate to each other. If you dont know music theory, YOU NEED THIS BOOK! That is, if you want to make a living in this business. Its too bad Peter didnt write a book on: How to NOT get thrown out of your girlfriends parents house for eating all the cheetos, forgetting to wash your hands and going through her underware drawer. You all know who you are Just kidding. For more info, visit: www.musicdispatch.com Book retail price: $7.95 Progressive Drummer Play-Along Series (SL=2+, C=3.5, LO=4) By Gary Rosensweig There are an astounding 20 volumes in this Play-Along series. The series consists of four styles including: Pop Styles, World Beats, Blues/ Funk Styles and Jazz Styles. Each style has 5 levels. Each level has its own book and CD containing 16 tunes. The tunes are sequenced with note-for-note charts written in each book. This was a lot of material to digest and should keep all of you busy for sometime if youre up for the task. Stylistic play-alongs are never a bad idea. The cool thing about the CD is that you can play with the drummer or skip to the next track and play your own version of the groove. For more information, visit: www.drumsetbooks.com Book/CD retail price: $14.95

Feet Dont Fail Me Now (SL=1+, C=4.5, LO=5) By Michael Packer Great book! This new book from Hal Leonard is a great tool for developing solid double foot technique and feel through various exercises. From beginner to advanced, this text really hits the nail on the head in demonstrating the proper way to develop strong independence and groove through the use of foot Ostinatos and multiple rhythmic figures played over them. Visit www.musicdispatch.com Book Retail Price: $12.95 Exotic Coordinations (SL=2+, C=5, LO=5) By Nick Marcy Nick has put together a great resource for self-directed rhythmic study. This 130-page book goes through 11 weeks of daily exercises and routines. Designed to help drummers of any level grasp a musical understanding of creative stickings applied to grooves and musical contexts. Even the most skilled players will have fun going through the many variations and mixed patterns that Nick suggests. I was very impressed with this book! Cheers Nick For more information, visit: www.nicksdrumstudio.com or call 512-255-1786 Grooves do Brasil (SL=3+, C=5, LO=5) By Duda Moura Grooves do Brazil is a great resource for lively study if Brazilian music. The refreshing thing about this book is that its focus is on the feel and not on the technique. The accompanying CD gives lengthy musical examples of the styles demonstrated, with and without the drummer. The music of Brazil is such a guttural and animated display of the soul that only the passion of being inside it can truly teach you the essence of what it really is. Unfortunately, Dudas book is only available in Portuguese. Good thing that the universal language of rhythm still gets the message across. For more info, contact Duda Moura at duda.moura@ig.com.br The Snare Drum Plays the Zoo (SL=1+, C=5, LO=5) By Brian J. Harris This beginning snare drum method is a fun book to get young aspiring drummers to eat their vegetables. (Meaning rudiments and rhythm patterns of course) Brians 104-page book with CD is filled with short verbal passages to help students remember different phrases, dynamics and time. I like Brians idea of getting the student to compose his/her own short piece after each study. This really gives the reader ownership over the material studied. Warning: Adults that study from this book may experience; uncontrollable ice cream cravings, pouting, tantrums, and a fascination with the word why? For more information, visit: www.brianjharris.com or call 520-878-0363 Retail price: $29.95 Rock Drumset Solos (SL=3+, C=3.5, LO=5) By Sperie Karas Sperie has written a book of 8 contemporary Rock Drumset Solos. .ummm, well, theres really no explanation of the material or soloing conceptsjust 8 contemporary solos. Guess the book is exactly what the title explains. For more info, visit: www.musicdispatch.com Book retail price: $5.95 Book Review Rating System We rate three areas: Skill Level, Content and Layout. 1 = lowest (Beginner Level or Poor Quality) thru 5 = highest (Advanced Level or Awesome Quality!) EXAMPLE: Skill Level: 1+, Content: 5, Layout: 3.5 CD Review Rating System We rate three areas: Performance, Musicality and Recording Quality. 1 = lowest (Beginner Level or Poor Quality) thru 5 = highest (Advanced Level or Awesome Quality!) EXAMPLE: P: 1+, M: 5, RQ: 3.5


arch m ing perc ussion

p samle library

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E-PAD Enterprises introduces a different approach to practice pads. I was always taught that the best way to build chops was to play on a pillow or another surface that doesnt allow the stick to rebound. Made with Enduraflextm,, the E-PAD is the perfect marriage between the pillow and the gum rubber that we are all familiar with. These pads make you work a little harder, but no pain, no gain, right! Speaking of pain, the pad was also designed with shock resistant properties, so that there is no pain, just gain Ok, enough with the corny play on words. Bottom line is that this pad is a great tool in developing chops, both control and speed. Oh and I almost forgot to mention, this innovative product, has a compact model with a leg strap for the times when you want to warm up and dont want the bother of the pad slipping off your knees. Very cool! Two thumbs up to E-PAD. Check out www.epadco.com for more information on products: (818) 788-4335 Hansenfutz Practice/Accessory Pedals These innovative pedals are designed for various uses including; Practice; Triggering; Accessories (ie. Woodblock, Cowbell, Tamb.). The first thing I must say is that straight out of the box, the tension is pretty strong but after a few tension adjustments, I became quite acclimated to the comfortable feel of these pedals. The Futz are great for practicing anywhere. They are lightweight, and seem to fit very well even under the desk. Nothing wrong with brushing up on a few Futz(foot) rudiments while working. The Futz are best used on carpet surfaces to allow the Velcro strips on the bottom to securely grip the floor. Futz pedals are endorsed by a number of players to develop speed and for use in triggering or playing accessories. The only downside to the pedal is that it is a bit difficult to get fast multiple stokes from each single pedal if youre using a sliding foot technique. None-the-less, the Futz are great practice tools. Retail: $39.95 For more information, visit www.hansenfutz.com or call 1-800-6975583.

Gear Reviews

Revolutionary New line of LRM Remote Systems for Hi Hat Stands Offer New Sensitivity, Precision and Easily Customizable Features, All in One. This new system comes adapted to a quality stand or custom hand-fitted to your existing stand, (or choice of stand), and allows a new found ease of modification to your original stand, bringing the ability to customize everything from the feel to your reach, positioning, and sensitivity of your pedal and hats, in just seconds, utilizing your present stands pedal action. It also offers at-rest pedal-height adjustments, and a full range of tension adjustments as standard features. There are leg options too, allowing you to place your pedal and hats in the most comfortable positions, without losing the feel and action of a conventional stand. Innovative new angle-adjustment features allow you to make the most infinite and unlimited adjustments to the hats with great precision and allow for adjustments to the slightest angle for better fit, and greater ease and comfort. Tested to extreme reaches as far as 12 feet, the LRM system still responds with the precise feel of the finest quality conventional stand. Quick, light, on-time, and with a sensitivity that lets you feel the hats sizzle as well as the tap of a stick. LRM models are extremely tough and durable, and highly attractive in chrome and black trim. There are three models to choose from: All are designed with resistance that equals original response. Each LRM Remote system can be custom tweaked and modified to your own specifications, and needs. For more product information or details LRM Hi-Hat products, and information about future products: Louis Rushton Manufacturing Co. (541) 926-9781 www.LouisRushtonMfg.tripod.com

Bad Religion The Empire Strikes First Epitaph Records P = 4 M = 4 RQ = 4 Bad Religion has always had a history of writing politically and religiously charged albums. Their latest release The Empire Strikes First is definitely no different. Though this isnt their first record with a message, the timing for one couldnt have had better. With the war in Iraq, the upcoming presidential election and the growing disdain for America abroad the band was not short on inspirational material. Greg Geffin and crew speak from the heart as he spits out scathing prose during the album as in Let Them Eat War and The Empire Strikes First. However, given the seriousness of much of the lyrical content the band still created a feel good, fun album full of sing along Punk Rock anthems. And the drumming; it gets no better then Brooks Wackerman in the world of Punk Rock. With rock steady beats, groovy tom work and embellishments he lays down a concrete foundation for the rest of the band to throw down their thought provoking soundscape. With trademark vocal harmonies, abrasive guitars and the superb drumming of Brooks, Bad Religion has put together another great album.



Percussion Pop
Carlos Hatem
Usually, percussion articles eventually get around to the rules for of the game. For example, in Latin music every drum has a role and a pattern that goes with it. In American music, there are no rules for percussion only for the drum set. As the music evolves so does percussion and its place in the music. American music has always had percussion. Every culture has a drum and America has every culture. Since we have everything available to us and there are no rules how do we do what we do? The basic feel in Pop music is 2 and 4, with or without swing. The drummer fills in all the parts nicely; but there still is plenty of room for percussion. Percussion adds a lot of instrumentation without a lot of notes so we dont compete with keyboards, guitars and vocals for space. Therefore, many instruments that fit in very well with the American palette. Maracas, shakers and cabasa work very well doing 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16 note patterns. They can smooth out a groove, and even add movement to a song. For example: A tambourine is great for enhancing a back-beat and lifting a chorus and a cowbell can be used to lock in those 1/4 notes. Furthermore, woodblocks, castanets and guiros can give the music an exotic feel but still feels like home character. Congas, bongo, timbales are generally well accepted. In their home environment (Cuban and Brazilian music), these drums work with exact parts for every groove mostly dominated by clave. In pop music (having no rules) anything goes. There are no restrictions. There are some things in common. Congas sound meaty and they sound best playing right in the pocket. Timbales sound exciting and they too sound great in the pocket. They also create excitement with their speed and power. In addition, the Bongos are a great groover and they add a great color scheme to many pop tunes. How all these elements work together depends on sound, feel and intention rather than percussion rules. African and Mediterranean drums like Djembe and Dumbek are being used more and more because of their exotic nature. These drums have been around for thousands of years and just now they are becoming more palatable. Again on their home turf these drums abide by more strict rules. In pop music theyre free! Orchestral percussion is a big part of the palette. Tympani, triangles, wind chimes, bell trees, glockenspiel and marimba are only some of the examples. Their individual sound dictates their use in almost every type of music. These instruments color music in a variety of ways. They add drama and sweetness to the musical piece. So rather than give you some written examples of what to play, Ill just give a few suggestions: Learn to really listen. The music will most often suggest what it needs. I feel it is a good idea to learn to play every instrument in its intended use. Then one can use it in a freeform way and if called for, its traditional way. Experiment with everything. It is surprising how many items of daily use like keys, tic tacs and bottles make it on recordings. Be flexible. One may be asked to play a part that is not of the instrument. Try it. If its bad usually everyone knows it, but if its good your a genius! There might be just one rule in POP music: If it sounds good, DO IT!!

Practical Studies with Loops: On Record

Donny Gruendler
Since the publication of my last series of DrumPRO Groove articles, I have had many students (and pros) email me numerous questions. In each and every one of these inquiries, I have found that every individual asked me the same question in various forms.

I now understand the concept of loops and samples; but how do I play and function with loops that may be present in a professional musical setting? Okay, so now we understand what loops are, the role they play in music and how to approach building a rig to play with them. So how do these loops function in the real world of live performance and/or recording? AND how can we perform with them? Just like learning any other musical genre, the best way to grasp these concepts is to study the recordings of the drumming elite that work with these modern elements. In this article we will look at one of todays studio drumming leaders, Mr. Kenny Aronoff. Mr. Aronoff is not only a studio master; but he is also an expert at grooving with loops on many of todays top recordings. Thus, his work on Michelle Branchs CD entitled Hotel Paper is no exception. In this article I will analyze how he functions (and adds excitement) to the loops that are present on two of this CDs recorded tracks. Our first example is: Are You Happy Now? Track 1 of Hotel Paper. In this instance Kenny offers an excellent example of how an acoustic drummer should function with loops. The two main loops used in the track are tabbed out on the next page. (ex 1.) 90 bpm Notice how during the first verse it is a loop playing alone, then Kenny fills into (and keeps playing with the loop in) the chorus. This technique adds just the right amount of feel and excitement in the songs most important section: the Chorus. Then Kenny keeps playing throughout the song with the loop in every section of the song (Verse, Chorus and Bridge). His job from here on out is to add excitement and a human element to the track.

Assignment 1
Try playing the song 2 ways: 1. Play only when Kenny plays (the first Chorus and then the remainder of the song) 2. Play the entire length of the song. (All verses and Choruses) How does the feel change when Kenny enters at the chorus? (Hopefully, you notice that is adds a great deal of energy and excitement to a normally rigid loop) Now that you realize how powerful this arrangement (and loop approach) is, Kenny uses it once again on our second example (ex. 2): Track 4 Empty Handed. Just as in the last example, notice how Kenny lays out during the first verse. He then fills into (and remains playing) in the chorus. 77 bpm



Assignment 2
Try playing the song 3 ways: 1. Play only when Kenny plays (the first Chorus and then the remainder of the song) 2. Play the entire length of the song. (All verses and Choruses) 3. When playing the entire length of the song mimic the loop in every verse. How does this change your approach? I hope that these Kenny Aronoff drumming examples have shed some light on how to conquer the confusing landscape of playing with (and replacing) drum loops. Remember that in music, there are no absolute rules, only appropriate note choices that work to serve the music. Therefore, always keep in mind that having many performance options to each loop (and groove) is the key to your success. In essence, it is my hope that these Real World methods will ensure that all your grooves work with the music for you and for the artist (or Musical Director) who is hiring you..

Tower of Power: Funk In Counterpoint (part 1 of 2)

By Rick McLaughlin By the end of the 1960s, the impact of jazz-rock was obvious and record labels started backing as many projects as they could get their hands on. This would turn out to not just be a craze, but nearly a new form of music that would itself spin off other genre from smooth jazz to adult contemporary, and yes, even a little bit of hip hop. An incredible amount of music was made and several legendary bands emerged, recording the classics of the time. In New York, starting in 1967, there was Blood, Sweat & Tears, a band that played music running the gamut from folk revival to jazz standards to full on R&B. Heading west to Chicago, there was Chicago Transit Authority, a band that focused more on the jazz part of the jazz-rock term and performed some of the most avant-garde music of the genre (listen to Free Form Guitar and the field recording in Prologue, August 29, 1968 and Someday -August 29, 1968, if you dont believe me). Also in Chicago, but a few years later, Earth, Wind & Fire combined slick grooves with beautiful melodies. In 1970, in Detroit, George Clinton and The Parliaments dropped the The and made their band name singular, becoming one of the heaviest funk bands ever. In New Orleans, in 1966, The Meters brought us some of the hottest gumbo around. And of course, Sly & The Family Stone began their substantial contribution in 1967 in San Francisco while, just across the bay, a group of Memphis Horn fans got it together. Sure, they have always been a great band, and the amount of work that Tower of Power has had over the years is testament to that and not always playing their own music, mind you. Sometimes it was just as a horn section, other times it was the whole band, but guest appearances in concerts and on recordings came in, and with incredible artists: Big Brother & the Holding Company, Little Feat, Santana, Graham Central Station, John Lee Hooker, Al Kooper, Billy Preston, The Meters, Elton John, Huey Lewis & the News. You get the idea. In this article, we are going to focus on some of the most incredible

grooves from the bands 37-year run. Although more than two drummers have been in the band, this piece will focus on grooves captained by David Garbaldi and Russ McKinnon. Garibaldi played in the band from 1970 until 1974, before leaving to become an in-demand session musician, rejoining in 1998. From 1991 through 1998, McKinnon held down the drum throne while pursuing a highly respectable session career of his own. And off and on, but mostly on, since day one, Francis Rocco Prestia has been laying down some of the heaviest bass imaginable. When people talk about Tower of Power, they talk about funk. They talk about incredibly tight arrangements that just snap. Each instrument grooving as hard as the other, tight from top to bottom. But if you look at the recorded output, you can see that they, are more than just a one-trick pony. In this article, we are going to talk about three big buckets: the R&B ballad, of which Tower of Power recorded many; Straight Up Funk, a category that they live and breathe, and Funk in Counterpoint, where the snap happens. The R&B Ballad Ah, the R&B ballad, a tried and true element of any great funk band. Tower of Power, of course, is no different. From a traditional point of view, most of these ballads are based on only a couple of grooves like the classic 12/8 groove, the swing groove, and various clave patters from, broadly speaking, Latin music. The classic 12/8 groove (example 1) is one that we have heard on countless recordings: eighth-notes in the hi hat, the snare drum on beats four and ten, and the bass drum accenting one and seven. Notice the variation in the hi hat on beat eight it keeps the phrase clear and supports anything that is played on top of it by defining the difference between the first and second halves of the measure. When read, this succession of 12 beats can sometimes be confusing to play. This is the result of two things: human nature and sound. In some ways, humans are a product of the routines in which they live and in this

regard music is no exception. Since R&B and jazz musicians spend so much of their time reading in 4/4, any shift to another meter is sometimes more difficult than it should be. But add to that the sound of this 12/8: it sounds like 4/4 with triplets in the hi-hat. Analyzed from that point of view, the snare drum is played on beats two and four; the bass drum accents beats one and three; and the variation in the hi hat comes in the middle triplet of beat three.


Example 3 classic 3/4 swing groove Time Will Tell (example 4) from Back To Oakland (1974) shows a combination of both the classic 12/8 and 3/4 grooves, played in 6/8. Measures one and two are the most obvious coming from the 12/8 groove, although still present in the third and fourth measures, while elements of the 3/4 groove exist in the first two measures, but are more clearly a part of measures three and four. For the 12/8 modifications, first notice this constant: the ride cymbal is all eighth-notes in both Time Will Tell, and the classic 12/8 version. Then notice how the bass drum divides the measure in half , playing beats one and four (if thought of in 6/8), or one and seven (in 12/8). As well, both grooves add a pickup, preceding beats one and four (or seven, as the case may be). The snare drum is the least common in this case. And what of the 3/4 groove? First, there is the hi-hat, playing on beats two and five throughout. This helps to establish a notion of a jazz waltz from the start. To me, the beauty of this groove is how the bass and drums lock in. On a tune like this, there is no need for virtuosic flurries. Instead, it requires an amount of understatement that these two great musicians were well equipped to handle. While the drum part appears to be relatively intricate, it really only includes the necessary rhythmic information. Underneath Garibaldis playing, is the support of Rocco: locking in on strong beats, dropping in a short rhythmic punch of his own (mm 2 and 4, the & of beat 3), which resolves to a strong beat. In each case of rhythmic addition, in the bass, the new note doubles something that Garibaldi is already playing, which fattens the groove by adding a clearer pitch to the drums, and a sharper punch to the bass.

Example 1 classic 12/8 groove On Youre Still A Young Man (example 2), David Garibaldi plays a variation on this very groove. Although it was originally recorded on their breakthrough album, Bump City (1972), this transcription comes from Live And In Living Color (1976). In the first full measure, the noticeable differences in Garibaldis variation are the more active nature of the bass drum and the missing sixteenth notes in the hi-hat on beat eight. The bass drum, in this case, not only accents beats one and three, but by adding beats three, six, nine and twelve, fills in the rhythmic space in a contrapuntal fashion, relative to the snare drum. If you think of the second measure as divided roughly in half, the first half becomes a continuation of the first measures groove, and the second half is a fill. Notice that, getting into the fill, beat eight looks like the classic 12/8 groove, but played on low tom and snare. Underneath it all is Rocco. Francis Rocco Prestia is one of the most important electric bassists from this time period. His sixteenth-note style, documented more clearly in examples to be discussed later, is a well known predecessor to what Jaco Pastorius would go on to make popular. And Jaco changed everything for the electric bass. Rocco is so solid, so precise, so beautiful, and so funky, that one would be hard pressed to find better examples of any classic groove. On Youre Still A Young Man, he plays a rock solid line that both locks in with Garibaldis groove and leaves space, while playing a slightly less conventional version of this groove. Notice how the first half of each measure fits in perfectly with Garibaldi, either doubling him or, in the case of beat five, playing the missing note. And on the second half of each measure, Garibaldi is able to fill in the space that Rocco left with snare hits or a fill.

Example 4 drum and bass on intro to Time Will Tell Lest the impression be given that Tower of Power only played in 12/8, 6/8 or 3/4, lets look at something in common time. Also from Live And In Living Color comes Sparkling In The Sand (example 8). Before we get there, just a moment to talk about the clave: its both an instrument; a rhythm unto itself; and a way of analyzing a groove (the clave of rock will include beats two and four in the snare drum, for example). In Sparkling In The Sand, Garibaldi plays a clave rhythm of sorts, in the cross stick on the snare drum. I say, of sorts, because it doesnt line up perfectly with any of the three most common claves: the Son Clave (example 5); the Rumba Clave (example 6); and the Bossa Clave (example 7).

Example 2 drum and bass intro to Youre Still a Young Man The classic swing groove is well documented and an extremely important part of the R&B ballads, both for the rhythm and for the feel. The rhythm ding, ding-a, ding, ding-a in the ride cymbal, two and four in the hi-hat is the foundation for everything that happened in jazz grooves, and among the most influential in R&B. The feel created by this rhythm can be relaxed or tense, or both at the same time, but it always moves forward. Since not all tunes are in 4/4, some changes had to be made to accommodate the meter, but not affect the groove. Among the most common alternate meters in this music is 3/4, and perhaps the most common way of dealing with this shift is to play a modified version of the classic ride cymbal pattern, with a waltz in the hi hat (example 3). In the ride cymbal, the ding-a part of the groove will often fall on beat two just like in the 4/4 version and then again on the downbeat of the second measure. It creates a rhythmic illusion that is kept in check by the hi-hats beats two and three.

Example 5 2-3 Son Clave

Example 6 2-3 Rumba Clave

Example 7 3-2 Bossa Clave Instead of falling into any of these three claves, on Sparkling In The Sand (example 8) Garibaldi plays a one measure clave that is like the 3 measure of the Son and the Bossa claves. The straight succession of eighth-notes in the ride cymbal keeps time moving forward, and the bass drum fills in beats three and four of this groove. In this case, it is precisely because of Garibaldis understatement that Rocco is able to play as much as he does, not that he plays much at all. Its as if both the bass and drums

are working towards something; they each build to the & of three in the fourth measure, although Rocco starts setting it up before Garibaldi (beginning in the third measure).

Beat one: the bass drum outlines the beat with a downbeat and the a, and the bass fills in the rest; Beat two: the bass rests and the syncopated line that started in the bass drum on the downbeat resolves in the snare drum on the &; Beat three: the downbeat and & are in the hi hat, with a and e in the bass drum, while the bass hits the & and e the resolution here is on the e; Beat four: related to the idea in beat three, but resolving on the &, the snare and bass drum play either beat four or & while the hi hat plays both and the bass plays the a and &. After all that, the One of measure eight, still a resolution point and a starting point, sets up the final resolution point for the phrase as a whole: beat four (notice that this is a 7/8 measure!).

Example 8 drum and bass on intro to Sparkling in The Sand Flash forward 17 years. Times have really changed, and although the sound of the band is similar, new technology and new band members have reshaped it. Russ McKinnons playing on Come To A Decision (example 9) from T.O.P. (1993) is among the best ballad drumming of this timeframe, at once interesting and classic. Whats classic about this? To begin with, on paper it looks like the most basic of rock grooves, with one and three in the bass drum and two and four in the snare. Even the pickup to the whole tune is like something out of a packed-stadium-rock-concert. But, the feel is absolutely R&B, without exception. And that is where the interesting things begin, for me. In the bass and drums the only difference between this groove and a rock groove (typically speaking), is in beat two, in the bass drum. If this were Charlie Watts instead of Russ McKinnon, that bass drum would happen on the & of beat two, and it would be a killer rock groove. But holding off on the bass drum until the a of beat two shifts the perspective of this groove back into R&B-land, making the backbeats in the snare much more powerful, while matching the sixteenth-notes in the hi-hat, and syncing up with Rocco.

Example 10 drum and bass on the verse of Down To The Nightclub (Bump City) Again transcribed from Live And In Living Color is perhaps Tower of Powers best-known tune, What Is Hip? (examples 11, 12, 13), which was originally release on their studio recording, Tower of Power (1973). There are three distinct grooves happening in this tune: at the beginning, on the bridge (Hip-ness iswhat it is), and behind the organ solo. Right from the start, the band comes out of the gate at top speed, or so it seems. This perception comes from the powerful sixteenth-notes happening in the bass. The speed is really an illusion, since the tempo is no more than 110 bpm, and while there are ample references to the sixteenth-notes in the drums, the general rhythmic focus is on eighthnotes. As well, the basic groove that Garibaldi plays is the sort of typical rock groove that we talked about on Come To A Decision. While the basic elements are there, hi-hat eighth-notes, bass drum on one and three, snare drum on two and four variation is what makes this sound like Garibaldi playing funk. The first full measure is the simplest. Sixteenth notes in the bass, with the rock groove varied by sixteenth-note bass drum hits on the a of beats three and four. The first hit resolves in the snare drum on beat four, while the second resolves in the bass drum hit on the downbeat of the next measure. In the second measure, Rocco continues to punch away with sixteenth notes. The elements of the rock groove are there, but with jabs in the snare drum on the e of three and the a of four. Notice that the snare and bass drum hit on the a of four has no obvious resolution point.

Example 9 drum and bass on intro to Come To A Decision Straight Up Funk One of their earliest hits is Down To The Nightclub (Bump City) (example 10) which, like Youre Still A Young Man, appeared on Bump City. Similarly, this transcription comes from Live And In Living Color. From the hi-hats point of view, this groove should be based on eighth-notes, but if you look at the real rhythmic motion happening in the groove, its really a sixteenth-note groove. In this groove, the bass/drum hookup is in some ways based on Bootsys First Rule of Funk: its all about the One. At the top of every measure, the bass and drums start a new phrase with a heavy emphasis on the downbeat. Perhaps best displayed in the bass drums dotted eighth-note and then built an idea that resolves on the next downbeat. So, the One becomes both the start and finish points. Within each measure, an interesting conversation happens between the bass and drums, as well as within the drums. As an example, just focus on the first measure of the example, measure five of the tune.

(on previous page) Example 11 drum and bass on the intro of What Is Hip? The next example (example 12) is the first bridge the Hipness is section. Now, the rock groove starts to really fray. While the snare drum continues to play on beats two and four, other hits, sometimes ghosted - sometimes not, start to take center stage. The bass drum is less regular, as is the hi-hat. Meanwhile, Rocco plays a two-measure phrase that fills in the blanks of the melody. To me, the most significant aspect of this example comes from the repetitious, yet slightly varied performance on the drums. Beats one and two are similar within each measure of the example, as are beats three and four. But because of the ghosting here, the added notes there, and the subtracted notes somewhere else, each measure sounds fresh. The first two beats of each measure remind us of the rock groove, despite the ghosted snare hit in measures 50 and 52. As well, the bass drum always hits the downbeat, but adds a kick on the a of two in the third measure. Notice how, in measure 51, the hi-hat plays quarter notes for the first two beats. Beats three and four are exactly the same in every measure, save the bass drum hit on the downbeat of three in measure 50. These variations are quite small, and in the grand scheme of things may not seem very important, but to me, these subtle shifts are the mark of a master, someone who puts only enough variation to change things up, but not so much as to take away from the power of what is there already.


Example 13 drum and bass behind the organ solo to What Is Hip? Again from T.O.P., Soul With A Capital S (example 14) shows us that Russ McKinnon can play it simple, groove super hard, and that he knows his David Garibaldi grooves. Simplicity is key, in the hi-hat and snare drum, each outlining basic elements of the groove - an eighth-note based pulse with beats two and four in prominent roles. The bass drum punches away with a totally grooving, sixteenth-note based syncopated line, and at the end of each measure, the very Garibaldi resolution that we saw on the bridge of What Is Hip?. Roccos line is repetitious, but intricate enough not to get stale. Notice how McKinnon and Rocco line up on the One, and then again on the & of three.

Example 14 drum and bass on the head to Soul With A Capital S Counterpoint Funk Example 12 drum and bass on the bridge to What Is Hip? Finally, as far as What is Hip? is concerned, is the organ solo (example 13). Roccos line is fantastic, starting on the a of beat two, it can feel like it is two beats off, if you are not paying close attention (the a of beat two sounding like the a of beat four). In the bass, it is the same groove for these four measures, but slick like crazy. Similarly, the drums are nearly constant throughout the example, changing things only with a ghosted note on the e of one in measure 85. So whats so interesting? First, look at the hookup between bass and drums. In the bass, the strong beats are the a of two, the & of three, and the downbeat of four, which correspond exactly to bass drum hits. Next, notice the relationship of this drum groove to the other two. The rock & roll is still there, two and four go unchanged in the snare drum, but the eighth-note hi-hat line is gone and the one and three bass drum has been changed pretty dramatically. My favorite thing about this groove is the hi-hat. Divide measure 83 in half, beats one and two, then three and four. In the first half, the hi-hat is with the bass drum in rhythmic unison on beat one, then answers the snare drum with the e of beat two. The second half begins with a variation of beat one (three, &, a) and then the answer to the snare comes on the & of four (instead of the e). Its a microcosm of call and response. In pure bass/drum scale analysis, Counterpoint Funk happens in a rhythmic fashion, although the bass is capable of playing melodic counterpoint by itself, at the same time. Counterpoint Funk is a class of funk (named right here, right now) in which the rhythmic and/or melodic content interlocks so that the combination of the two (or more) lines can be heard as a whole, while each line can be heard on its own as a coherent phrase. Blown out to an ensemble, the whole band works together in one tight rhythmic unit, think about the JBs. Soul Vaccination (examples 15, 16), which again comes from Tower of Power, is an incredible example of just that. In the intro (example 15), the bass line has its own rhythmically intricate melody, which locks into the drums, which have their own rhythmic counterpoint going. Look at the bass for a moment, the pickup to the first full measure begins the line, which has a call and responseand responsefeel to it. The first part of the line ends on the high D; the second starts on the a of two and ends with the C on the & of three; and the third leads to the pickup to the next measure. The third part has a kind of dual function, as something that stands on its own, and moves to the next line. The bass/drum hookup happens in great places. Look at the pickup to the first full measure, beat two, the & of three, and the a of four, all points in which the bass and drums are hitting the same part of the groove. The counterpoint happens between the bass and drums in small but significant ways here. In the first full measure, on the & of one, the hi-hat fills in the last sixteenth-note of the beat, then the a of three. This concept continues throughout. to be continued next issue

Turkish Rhythms for the Modern Drummer
BY RUBEN VAN ROMPAEY Turkish music contains a whole variety of interesting rhythms. One characteristic of the music is the fact that complicated odd meters are apparently played with most ease in the world. One secret is that the rhythms are not counted anymore, but rather felt inside the peoples body, no matter how fast a rhythm can be. Theoretically spoken, odd meter rhythms are built up with groups of two and three notes. However, realize that, within Turkish music, each rhythmical combination is special and therefore has its own characteristics. Appearing in lots of different musical areas throughout Turkey, like folk music and pop music, to name a few, the Ottoman Art music is the source where the Turkish rhythms are originally derived from. For this occasion, Ive selected some of the most important and interesting of Turkish rhythms, for the first time translated to the modern drum set. For those interested Ive included their original names. Traditionally, Turkish rhythms are written on two lines; notes on the upper line are called the heavy notes and are written with their flags up, the notes on the lower line are called the light notes and are written with their flags down. The most important percussion instrument whereupon these rhythms are originally played is called the kudm or nakkare, consisting of two small toms, different in pitch and played with two mallet sticks. Translated to the modern drum set, the toms can serve as a good substitute instead of the kudm, very much reassembling its original sound. Try to play and feel the basic patterns, before going to the next one. Notice that you should obtain a certain level of convenience, while going from one rhythm into another and making your own combinations. The ultimate goal is to be able to improvise within a particular odd meter, without having to count anymore. In Turkish, the word Aksak means Lame, which relates to the odd meters of these rhythms. 1. 5/8 Turkish Aksak 7. Try to gradually increase your speed while playing the 7/16 Devri Turan. Make sure that the seven-note bar doesnt rush into an eight-note bar. 2. 7/8 Devri Hindi & 7/16 Devri Turan 13/8 Nim Evsat


Aksak rhythms are especially popular in the Western part of Turkey and a considerable part of Greece. Try to mix up the different combinations. 4. 9/8 Aksak 1,2,3 & 4

Curcuna can be difficult at the beginning, especially when moving to high speeds. Practice the rhythm slowly in the beginning and gradually build up the speed. 5. 10/8 Curcuna Aksak Semai &

The next four rhythms are less used nowadays, but are still pretty popular amongst Turkish musicians. Just learn the rhythms by heart and have some fun with them..


11/8 Tek Vurus


14/8 Ayin Devri Revan


15/8 Raksan

The rhythm Dyek can be heard in a large region across the Mediterranean Sea and the Northern part of Africa. Its a very popular dance and improvisation rhythm and most probably one of the oldest of its kind. 3. 8/8 Dyek


about the essentials of Elvins playing, we can learn from Reflections (1958).

It has been a tough 2004 for music aficionados. Several wonderful musicians have passed away recently, and far too soon. Sadly, the legendary drummer Elvin Jones was among them. He passed away on May 18, 2004 at a hospital in Englewood, NJ. Accounts of his last gigs, Yoshis in San Francisco in particular, painted him as weak but applauded him for doing what he loved to do in his final days. I heard him only a few times in my life; each was with the Jazz Machine at a club here in Cambridge, MA. A wonderful spirit and awe-inspiring musician, he will be greatly missed. In his fifty-plus year career, he played with nearly every jazz innovator. His association with John Coltrane, of course, is his best known and for good reason. During Elvins time in the Coltrane Quartet, from the fall 1960 to March 1966, they recorded an astonishing number of classic works. Elvins performance on these records was consistently strong, no matter the record, no matter the rhythm, no matter the tempo. Throughout the wide range of sounds that the band created, Elvin was able to provide the launching pad for the band while searching for new sounds in what was often uncharted territory. As an innovator, he combined rhythms from the jazz tradition, Afro-Cuban music and the jazz Avant Garde into a style that was uniquely his; a style that jazz critic Leonard Feather once called a circle of sound. In this article, we will look at some classic examples of Elvins playing, in hopes of outlining some of the basic elements of his style. Starting with recordings from 1958 and 1960, we will list some of the flavors to be found in later recordings. As a matter of practicality, the focus of this article is from 1958 through 1965, through the period, just before and during, the first few years of Elvins association with John Coltrane. Having said that, there is still a need to limit the scope, since that time in Elvins career was especially prolific. To that end, this article will focus on pieces recorded with Steve Lacy (himself, among John Coltranes influences); from Elvins first recording sessions with Coltrane, which resulted in Coltranes Sound and Coltrane Jazz (1960); and A Love Supreme (1964). Elvin Jones performed on dozens of fantastic recordings. No inquiry into the elements of his style would be complete without some mention of other great recordings. Aside from the obvious John Coltrane sides, several of the must hears are: Bob Brookmeyer and Friends (1964); Kenny Burrell, Guitar Forms (1964); Ornette Coleman, Love Call and New York Is Now (1968); Gil Evans, Out of the Cool (1960), The Individualism of Gil Evans (1963), and Blues in Orbit (1969); Stan Getz & Jimmy Rowles, Peacocks (1975); Joe Henderson, In N Out and Inner Urge (1964); Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Rip, Rig and Panic (1965); Lee Konitz, Motion (1961); Joe Lovano, Trio Fascination Edition One (1998); Sonny Rollins, Night at the Village Vanguard, Volumes 1 and 2 and East Broadway Rundown (1957); Wayne Shorter, Juju, Night Dreamer and Speak No Evil (1964); McCoy Tyner, Inception (1962), Today and Tomorrow (1963), Real McCoy (1967), Extensions (1970); and Larry Young, Unity (1965). His recordings as a leader are also numerous, but among the best known are Illumination! (1963), Dear John C. (1965), Live at the Lighthouse, Volumes 1 and 2 (1972), and It Dont Mean a Thing (1993).

Among his best recordings from the days before joining John Coltranes group is the fantastic Steve Lacy album, Reflections (1958); a recording made up entirely of Thelonious Monk compositions that included Mal Waldron on piano and Buell Neidlinger on bass. Of course, there are other great records, some of which have become classics. But to me, Reflections shows Elvins playing in a way that is varied, in terms of style, groove and tempo, and right up front. On Reflections, you can clearly hear in Elvins playing an understanding of the history of groove and of the jazz rhythmic tradition, in particular. One of the things that I think about when I listen to Elvin Jones is time. In later recordings, his playing was often very far behind the beat, but his time was so strong, and the groove so deep, that he could still have been playing the last tune, and it wouldnt have mattered. Perhaps the easiest way to hear a drummers time is to slow the tempo down, ask to hear some brushes and listen to the quarter notes. On Ask Me Now (example 1), Elvin rarely veers from this. The constant nature of this groove, with Elvins impeccable time and the seemingly infinite timbral colors that Elvin was able to extract from the brushes, are just the foundation that any beautiful ballad deserves. In many ways, this tune best highlights the giving nature of Elvins drumming. He seemed to play only what the music asked for, absent the self-gratification that can often be heard in other musicians.

Example 1 drum and bass intro of Ask Me Now The first piece on Reflections is Monks Four In One (example 2), and it tells us more about Elvin Jones. To begin with, he swings hard. At a nice, medium-up tempo, he takes a nine measure intro: three measures are played on drums (bass, snare and hi tom), before he launches into a very traditional swing groove played on the hi-hat. It is traditional, if you dont count the fact that intro is nine measures, the groove lasts six measures, and you ignore the triplets on the snare drum. The opening statement of this intro, between snare and bass drum, is one fantastic example of what Elvin has to offer. In this world, there is no need for frivolity; no reason for extra, virtuosic fills of groove-disrupting, mind-numbing proportions. Instead, in this world, two notes are all it takes. Notice, too, that his opening statement is made up of a three-beat phrase that is rhythmically displaced. As a phrase, it begins on one; then on the & of two; then beat four; and finally the & of one, before being resolved with the roll into beat four. In measure three, Elvin answers his opening statement briefly, for the first two beats, before heading into the groove. In this context, the traditional and the modern overlap. As a traditionalist, Elvin shows in these few measures that he knows what has come before him. The hi-hat rhythm is right out of Swing 101. So too, is the hemiola that starts off this intro. As a modernist, Elvin also shows that he knows where the music is going. In measure four, immediately after the groove is established, Elvin begins a run of triplets on the snare drum that evokes images of Art Blakey. Having said that, when you listen to the recording, it is apparent that Elvin knows how to make simple devices his own. His triplets are not even, and the textures created between the sounded and ghosted notes further confuse the rhythmic facts. Make no mistake, these are triplets, but they arent Blakeys.

Phase I: New York Elvin began his career in the late 1940s, in Detroit, having grown up close by in Pontiac, Michigan (only a 34 minute drive according to MapQuest!). After a stint in the Army, he returned to Detroit for a short period of time before moving to New York in 1955. Although he worked regularly in his early New York years, performing with great bands in clubs, on tours and on records, we are going to leap forward to 1958. After all, to some extent, all we really need to know