My Jazz fills!

Bgood

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Guys. I'm at this drumming journey about 4.5 years with a ton of work and weekly lessons from a pro. My jazz fills are really in need of help. I'm working out of Riley's Art of Bop Drumming. I keep losing track of the quarter for improvised fills longer than 1-2 measures My teacher wants me to keep the hihat on 2&4 but for anything that is improvised I can't seem to keep it there and then I lose track of where I am. Very frustrating. This doesn't happen when playing rock type fills because I have a better internal sense of the time. It seems I can keep it together better if I keep my bass drum on 1&3 and hats on 2&4 but that sounds like crap to me in a jazz setting. I hope I'm explaining this right. Any ideas on how to overcome this. When I mix triplets and dotted eight/16ths with eighths and sixteenths phrases I get lost. It doesnt happen so much if I play straight 8th note triplet fills or quarters. Thanks for any ideas on how to practice to get this under control. Bob
 

hardbat

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First, instead of playing the BD on 1&3, try playing the BD on every beat (1234), along with the HH on 2&4. Then it won't sound quite so clunky.

Second, I'm a big believer that "independence" is mostly a myth. You have to work out how the HH on 2/4 fits in with the other notes your hands are playing. When I have such a pattern that I can't coordinate, I start by writing out the specific pattern (or fill, in your case) I want to play, along with the HH part, and practice it slowly, figuring out how the HH notes align with the other notes. It gets trickier when the BD is part of the fill, but it's the same idea. Do that for about 100 fills, and eventually your HH will seem to start magically clicking on 2&4 no matter what you decide to play. It's getting your limbs to build up a repertoire of interaction.

Then you can start working on doing the same thing with your HH on 1234, Tony Williams style. Or worse yet, putting your left foot on a cowbell doing a clave pattern while you solo (and no, I can't do that yet, but some people who I'm jealous of can).
 

Bgood

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Thanks for the suggestion. What you said in the second paragraph is my experience too. The placement of the hat needs to be worked out in the context of the other notes or it doesn't happen for me. Just like any other part in a groove. It's not automatic just because it's automatically there when comping. More reps on written out fills for sure until it get's to be second nature. This drumming stuff is a lot of work!!!!!
 

multijd

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One of the things that can mess up triplet fills is that the hands alternate on the beat Rlr Lrl Rlr Lrl and this can cause mis-coordination with the feet. The fact that you said that eighth note fills are easier for you points to this alternation issue as being a part of the problem. Is your teacher working with you on Syncopation by Ted Reed? Lesson six and seven deal with triplet patterns. If you practice each of these with the hi hat on 2 & 4 you will start to feel more comfortable with the hand and foot coordination. You should do all of them with alternating sticking and a variety of other triplet stickings ie. Rll, Lrr, Rrl, Llr, Rlr, Lrl, Rlr lrr, Lrl rll, Rrl Lrr Llr Rll. It is also helpful to do the "left hand fills triplets", "alternating hands fill triplets" and "triplet roll variations as outlined in John Ramsay's "The Drummer's Complete Vocabulary As Taught by Alan Dawson". Good Luck!
JB
 

Bgood

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JB thanks. I think it is the coordination of the foot and hand switch. I use Syncopation alot. One thing I do is play the Syncopation section exercises swung over jazz time on the ride with hats on 2/4. That helps but I think your suggestion on the triplets section is great. I'll hit that. I can basically treat each line as a fill and move it around the set while keeping the hat on 2/4. Rinse and repeat. That book is so useful beyond what's just written. You saved me a bunch of time writing stuff out to drill on this!
 

multijd

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JB thanks. I think it is the coordination of the foot and hand switch. I use Syncopation alot. One thing I do is play the Syncopation section exercises swung over jazz time on the ride with hats on 2/4. That helps but I think your suggestion on the triplets section is great. I'll hit that. I can basically treat each line as a fill and move it around the set while keeping the hat on 2/4. Rinse and repeat. That book is so useful beyond what's just written. You saved me a bunch of time writing stuff out to drill on this!
Exactly!! I have students work on Lesson six a variety of ways. If you use it for fills you can put a bass and cymbal on the quarter after each triplet and you get a nice fill for common rhythm patterns. I should do some videos to demonstrate some of this. I'll let the forum know if I get around to it!
JB
 

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