Are Jazz Guys feathering...

Drum Play

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Do you still feather the bass drum at fast tempo's like 280bpm?
 

Drum Play

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Ok, i asked because at about 200 it gets really hard to maintain the hands and left foot while feathering the bass drum.
 

the sheriff

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That's Idris Muhammad in the vid

The determining factor for me is whether or not the technical pressure of trying to feather at a fast tempo is going to affect the feel. Past a certain point, I leave it out.

Feathering is an essential skill, but it must be balanced correctly. Even a little bit too loud and pointed and you're going to make enemies of bass players. The phrase "felt more than heard" literally applies.
 

Michael Beechey

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when Jo Jo Mayer was researching bass pedals etc...he went back to the golden years when players had the chops to do four on the floor all night at fast tempos...he developed his current foot dvd and his pedal to be able to replicate those vintage chops, that have passed out of fashion these days
 
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photobeat

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I have been working on John Riley's "Out in the Open" which is about 300bpm. Super light Kick on 1 and 3 (hat 2 and 4) helps me keep time much better.

From what I have read big band was more 4 on the floor to support pre electric and amplified bass. For Bop, not as necessary.
 

the sheriff

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But, all the bop drummers played 4 on the bass drum, albeit softer than drummers of the big band era. Basically every drummer before Elvin did. Listen to Max Roach carefully - he does it even when soloing.

The problem with playing only on 1 & 3, imo, is that it implies a 2 feel. Some guys do that, but to me it's better to match up with the bass player or just leave the feathering out.
 

hardbat

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I seem to remember an old Downbeat magazine in which several top drummers were interviewed all at once, in a room. I think I remember Art Blakey, Shelly Manne, and several others, and a very young Tony Williams. Part of the interview became an argument between Tony and the rest of the drummers, over the bass drum. Everyone said you had to have a (very) light 4 on the bass drum, but Tony was saying he didn't play the bass drum at all except for accents. The rest of them thought he was crazy. Now what Tony was advocating is pretty much standard.

I would never feather 1 and 3 unless I wanted a 2-beat feel. If I couldn't keep up all four, I'd leave it out completely. And even when I can keep up all four, I'd consider leaving it out depending on the musical style.
 

Michael Beechey

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hardbat said:
I seem to remember an old Downbeat magazine in which several top drummers were interviewed all at once, in a room. I think I remember Art Blakey, Shelly Manne, and several others, and a very young Tony Williams. Part of the interview became an argument between Tony and the rest of the drummers, over the bass drum. Everyone said you had to have a (very) light 4 on the bass drum, but Tony was saying he didn't play the bass drum at all except for accents. The rest of them thought he was crazy. Now what Tony was advocating is pretty much standard.
I always wondered how much woodshedding tony had to do to get that 4 on floor with left foot at up tempos feeling so flawless...I assume that other than creative genius he was like most of us, having to work on technical challenges...like he did his push pull ride style
 

photobeat

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You would not really hear it if you were next to my kit. It is so light. Meant to support the bass in sound but not definition. I am talking about a 300 bpm tune so not a 2 beat feel at all being so light and fast.


the sheriff said:
But, all the bop drummers played 4 on the bass drum, albeit softer than drummers of the big band era. Basically every drummer before Elvin did. Listen to Max Roach carefully - he does it even when soloing.

The problem with playing only on 1 & 3, imo, is that it implies a 2 feel. Some guys do that, but to me it's better to match up with the bass player or just leave the feathering out.
 

Pibroch

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Hi, I’m a beginning student of jazz drumming. As most if not all jazz bassists are amplified and as you can “tap“ your right heel inaudibly on the BD pedal to help yourself keep time, I don’t see feathering as an essential skill for a jazz drummer, as opposed to what some here are saying.

Surely it’s an unnecessary time consuming luxury to learn when there are far more important things to focus on as a jazz newbie. Any arguments to the contrary, or in agreement would be highly appreciated.
 
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nolibos

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For modern era style jazz (early 1960s-now), I don't like to feather the BD, I don't use much BD at all for progressive jazz. If I do something with a New Orleans/Dixieland feeling, then yes four on the flour.
 

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it's sub unconscious it's a steadying thing seated at the throne don't think about how when why where how...bass drum is there for a reason. It's almost involuntary like breathing.. If you dissect when where how who when if and but.....Bass drum is where you feel the beat of the song. If it's a walking song you're walking (the bass) If it's a stop/start you're jumpstart/kicking/ the bass ....if it's a fast breakneck running fast walk you're kicking when you can.......
 
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Seb77

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I studied with Keith Copleand and he didn't feather or promote feathering in his lessons. Yet, I like doing it. I think at times I still need to be softer, especially when sitting in at jam sessions on a nother drum/pedal setup. It should be very subtle for anything past swing-era music.
I started doing it after reading the "Art Blakey' Jazz Messages" book and applying it to big band. I just loved having found out about this "secret" and the sound and feedback I was getting was encouraging.

Check out this clinic:

As far as what's more important to learn, I'd say jazz drumming is the whole package of ears, musical experience, technique, coordination, dynamics etc. - don't get discouraged or confused, rather work on what fascinates you the most at a moment. The main thing is to practice and play as much as you can in general. Maybe divide every practice session into various chapters. Then again, you could focus on one thing for a time period and then move on, if that's what you feel like. Very personal.
Jon Christensen supposedly didn't practice at all! and I won't argue with his skills.
 

Matched Gripper

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Hi, I’m a beginning student of jazz drumming. As most if not all jazz bassists are amplified and as you can “tap“ your right heel inaudibly on the BD pedal to help yourself keep time, I don’t see feathering as an essential skill for a jazz drummer, as opposed to what some here are saying.

Surely it’s an unnecessary time consuming luxury to learn when there are far more important things to focus on as a jazz newbie. Any arguments to the contrary, or in agreement would be highly appreciated.
I can't speak for anyone else, but, for me, feathering the bass drum is the foundation of my sense of time.
 

Tracktuary

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I've only brought feathering into my playing in recent years after discussions such as this and looking into John Riley's materials. Before that, my foundation was always my left foot. While the audible chick falls on 2 and 4, I've always had a "silent" motion on 1 and 3. That "silent" motion has become audible when playing on pieced together stages--there's a stomp of sorts. The left foot anchor traces back to my years of playing along with Jimmy Chamberlin tracks. He always has the hat going on quarter or eighth notes.
 

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