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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.