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No more failures at Jeff "Tain" Watts: San Jose Jazz Fest!


He is the drummer on the Wynton Marsalis song in the last article, and now he's back to play for us! His name is Jeff "Tain" Watts!

For the previous article, click here:

Jeff "Tain" Watts: San Jose Jazz Fest

Let's check out this performance from the San Jose Jazz Fest

He started off with a two-handed cowbell-strumming Latin groove. It's very lively. I want to copy this at all costs! So, I decided to copy it, and here's what I got!

(0:00- etc.)


From my first impression, I was surprised that he was not filling the cowbell with 16th notes all over. It's a sort of hard to understand the actual procedure of this two-handed cowbell pattern in the video.

There is a big hint in the second half of the video!

In the second half of the video, he plays the same procedure with right hand cowbell and left hand snare. If you bring your left hand on the cowbell in that pattern, you should be able to make the first pattern above. Thanks for the help! Here's the pattern for the second half of the video, where the procedure is easier to see, and I included the RL sequences too:

(3:01, etc.)


But still, it may be a bit confusing because a score cannot include drummer's appearances in video. The key point of this pattern, which is clearly visible in the video, is that the right hand goes back and forth between the cowbell and the floor tom. This is always kept in the cowbell pattern. You will be able to get closer to him once you play this right hand pattern as a base line and filling the spaces with your left hand:


Fortunately, this hint helped me figure out the procedure, so I went back to the first pattern and wrote the RL procedure as follows. I think I can manage to copy it now!

(0:00, etc.)


Whether or not to give up the Latin clave feel

Also, if you look at the left-footed hi-hat, it is a bit anomalous and jumps up the difficulty of this pattern. It's not a major element that forms this groove, so it can be omitted, though. However, it is still a rhythm that should be played to create a Latin clave (ostinato) feel. The fact that it can create a Latin-style clave feeling makes the coordination of the limbs proportionally more difficult, which is a problem.

Other nice patterns

There are other patterns with different accent positions for the snare: the second 16th note on the 1st beat and the snare accent on the 4th beat. The left hand occasionally glances at the hi-hat instead of the snare.

(3:17 etc.)


There's also a nice pattern with a ride cymbal and a closed rim shot.

(1:32 etc.)


It's nice to see a lot of drum close-up videos.

It's nice to have a video because it reveals the steps and settings. If you only have the sound, it is sometimes difficult to understand the specific procedure or the idea behind the phrase, so you need to put down a hypothesis of what the setting is and you need to strongly visualize in mind how it is played. In the Jeff's phrase of this article, it would have been hard to tell from the sound alone that the cowbell and floor tom were so close together that the right hand was constantly moving back and forth. If I had been able to see more close-up drumming videos when I was younger, I wonder how many detours I could have avoided. I envy digital natives who have easy access to videos of musicians playing! This is a heartfelt thought that I have written about many times in this blog.

Wine, Tears, Men, Women, and Wynton Marsalis - Autumn Leaves


This is probably the first jazz drumming post on this blog! This is from Wynton Marsalis' album Marsalis Standard Time, Vol.1 released in 1987. The drummer is Jeff "Tain" Watts

Marsalis Standard Time, Vol.1

Marsalis Standard Time, Vol.1


Simple and forceful, increasing one by one from 1 to 8.

From this album, I check out Autumn Leaves, the standard among standards. However, the arrangement of the theme is not standard at all. From the beginning of the song, the drums go like this!



In general, if you want to score 4 beat jazz, you should double the tempo, i.e., you should write one bar of the above as two bars in double tempo. I write in half tempo here to make the trick easier to understand, and left out Swing notation because it would be too ambiguous.

There are triplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, and septuplets that cover one whole bar, and even triplets inside those tuplets. It looks complicated when you see it in the score, but in reality, the idea is simpler than it looks. If you listen to the song for the first time, you will immediately understand. Yes, it's simple and forcible, increasing one by one from 1 to 8. The main beats of the ride cymbal (and the bass) can be written out like this:


Decreases back to the 1

When you get to the end of the theme with 8 ride cymbals and fast 4 beats, it starts to decrease little by little.



If you write out just the main beats of the ride cymbal (and the bass), it looks like this:


8-6-4-3-2, then back to the beginning of the theme, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 again. That is an unlikely musical structure. It's a dignified way for musicians who have grown tired of playing the standard normally. They here realized it which we would never do even if we had thought of it.

Drum scoring that requires patience

Unless you have a special case like this one, jazz drumming is pretty hard to transcribe. This is because it is often played more freely than other genres, making it difficult to transcribe, and it is not very meaningful to accurately transcribe such improvisations. Nevertheless, I remembered that more than 20 years ago, Drums Magazine in Japan published a complete score for a whole jazz drum piece, perhaps from the album Four & More - Miles Davis. And the painful was that the song is played by Tony Williams, a well-known free-spirited drummer. The more I learned about the labor involved in transcription, the more I could imagine the patience required for this task. I guess it's not so bad if it is not an one-man-operation like me. It's getting hard to write articles with transctiptions even though this blog is just a monthly issue!

The number of people huffing and puffing on Frank Zappa - Zomby Woof :


Frank Zappa - Zomby Woof continues!

Let's continue with Frank Zappa's Zomby Woof from his album The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life

Zomby Woof

Zomby Woof

  • 発売日: 2012/08/20
  • メディア: MP3 ダウンロード

See my last post too!

5 notes grouping and pointless melodies

'I am the zomby woof!'. The rocking, soulful vocal section is hot and cool again, followed by a section where the beat changes to odd ones again. As always, bars in odd meters are highlighted in red.




The 5th and 6th bars are two bars of 5/4, and the content is grouped into 5 units, as is obvious from listening to the melody. 5/16 * 8 bars can have the same meaning and length, so the actual score might be in 5/16. Here, the notes are finely divided into 10 pieces of 32nd note with the hi-hat, instead of 5 pieces of 16th note. Considering the position of the accent and the sharpness of the hi-hat sound, the sticking may be alternated (RLRLRLRL). That's kind of quick. The ability of the drummer Chad Wackerman shines through. Sure, his technique shines in other parts as well, not just this one!

From 9th bar, a strange and mysterious section starts based on a, dare I say, completely nonsensical melody motif; notice how the melody in the 9th bar is repeated in the 10th bar with the same pitch up and down, only the rhythm is different. As usual, let's see if someone with absolute pitch can confirm it. This is a very mechanical way to write music.

A long guitar solo and a superfunky section!

After the above, a long guitar solo begins, which is a frequent feature of Frank Zappa's music in this period. Although Frank Zappa is a composer and a bandmaster, he likes to play guitar solos more than anyone else. He even released an album entitled Guitar, which emphasizes his own guitar solos. And it was a large serving with the 2 CDs set. It's right after the end of his guitar solo:




The 5th bar is the section where the vocal part is prominent again. Only the drums and the vocals perform, and the rock song stands out hot. The backbeat of the drums here slips forward by a 16th note, and this works synergistically with the vocals to make for an extremely funky music. Even so, he doesn't slip a 16th note in every bar. I'm impressed that he doesn't stick to a same phrase and can come up with various phrases quickly. It's not an odd meter, but it's another highlight of this song. After this, in the middle of the 12th bar, it gets triplets and becomes a 6/8 rock ballad-like section. Then in the 14th bar, it gets a sudden and strange fill to return to the first verse from the 15th bar in no time. How abrupt!

Condensed Zappa-esque albums

I have covered all the problematic parts of the song in my Zomby Woof series (two articles in total). I'm sure you'll be ready to play any day now.

When I re-listened to the albums around the time of the release of Zomby Woof, I found that many of the songs that I consider to be Zappa-esque were released around 1973-1975. Zappa-esque things are condensed especially on Over-Nite Sensation, which has Zomby Woof in it, but also Apostrophe, Roxy & Elsewhere, and One Size Fits All released right after Over-Nite Sensation. Unfortunately, Zappa-related articles are not very popular on this blog, but I'd like to continue to highlight drumming from these rich-tasting albums in detail.