5/4 Jazz Workout

Thank you again for your interest in Funk Up Your Hi-Hat Part I (Funk Up Your Hi-Hat Part One (http://www.onlinedrummer.com/funk-up-your-hi-hat-part-1/). Part II is in the works!

The Lesson

As I’ve mentioned before, a good portion of my material comes from teaching 35 students per week (and having done this for many years). This lesson is an example of that. One of my students, Chastin (age 13), showed interest in 5/4 jazz playing. I first introduced him to Joe Morello’s performance in Dave Brubeck’s Quartet from the Paul Desmond tune Take Five (from the 1959 album Time Out).

Here’s Morello’s studio performance.

Here’s a live clip.

I then showed him a few basic jazz patterns in 5 from my books, Drumcraft and Drum Aerobics.

Here is my 2010 performance of a 5/4 play-along tune called Y.B. Normal from Drum Aerobics.

Chastin came to the next lesson with a modified groove in 5, which I proceeded to transcribe (shown as #4 from the notation below). A few weeks after that he came in with measure E (also shown below). I asked his permission to turn both of his offerings into the following workout page. Chastin said yes!

Chastin's 5:4 Jazz Workout cropped


Workout Suggestions

• For patterns 1-8, get familiar with the foot ostinato and the ride cymbal pattern. Now add the snare drum comping as shown in these exercises.

• For solo measures A-H, play the hand portion first and become comfortable before adding the foot ostinato.

• Play combinations of empty measures (the grooves patterns on the top half of the page with the snare drum taken out) along with patterns 1-8. For instance, you could do two empty measures + two measures of any groove 1-8.

• Using empty measures and grooves 1-8, play along with Y.B. Normal or Take Five.

• Part of the challenge of playing in 5/4 is sticking. For instance, if measure A is played one time, R L R L R would have you crashing on beat 1 (of the next measure) with your left hand. If you would like to avoid this try: R L R L L. This problem doesn’t appear in consecutive swung eighth notes such as measures B-E. (Five sets of two swung eights equals 10, an even number.) However, eighth-note triplets again present a problem. R L R  L R L  R L R  L R L  R L R. You may want to try this sticking: R L R L R L  R L R  L R L  R L L. If you play quarter notes or eighth-note triplets two measures in a row, this issue works itself out,. However, this can create some coordination challenges especially while playing a foot ostinato underneath, as you will lead each measure with the opposite hand.

• Try playing one groove pattern (empty or with snare comping) followed by one solo measure . Now try 2 + 2, 3 + 1, 4 + 4, etc. Feel free to vary the comping by using a combination of groove patterns 1-8 or elements from within each solo measure.

• Create a 5/4 jazz drum solo inspired by solo measures A-H and Joe Morello. Experiment using the foot ostinato alone without the hand material. This can create a nice musical contrast.