Adding an Afro-Cuban feel to your playing using the Mozambique cowbell pattern.Carl George
The Mozambique is a musical style which has its roots in Afro-Cuban rhythms. There are many adaptations of this rhythm to the drum kit. One of the most well known adaptations is the Steve Gadd version. He made this rhythm very popular amongst drummers and musicians alike and brought awareness to Afro-Cuban style where perhaps there was none. It works well as a soloing technique because it has such a full sound. It sounds as if there could be multiple drummers playing it. There are many examples on YouTube of Gadd playing the Mozambique. Here’s one:
The fundamental to playing the Mozambique is the bell pattern. The pattern is notated below. Play along to the audio example to practice the pattern.
Then the snare is added in to fill in the gaps. This is just one idea of where to put the accents. If you listen to Steve Gadd play it he changes the position of the accents as his plays. The sticking is written below.
The most important thing in getting this groove to sound right is dynamics. Some of the snare notes should be played with the same dynamic as ghost notes. They should not be played as obvious notes but are just there to create a texture. Aside from dynamics, orchestration should also be considered. Here is an example moving one of the snare notes to one of the toms.
Now moving around the toms incorporating the floor tom.
Feel free to move the pattern around the kit. Steve Gadd does not restrict himself to just the snare. He moves around the kit. Feel free to experiment. It should be a fun groove to play. Practice variations in accents and orchestration. Here is an example of some of the variations you could practice.
Incorporating the feet is the next step and there are many different options for doing this. Steve Gadd plays quite freely with his bass drum. Sometimes he plays parts of the Mozambique pattern with his feet and sometimes he plays independent rhythms. For this example we will play a repetitive pattern on the feet. We will play a samba pattern on the bass drum and splash the hi-hat with the left foot on the half note.
Putting it all together.
This is by no means final way to play a Mozambique. There are many options and variations as we have seen. Being creative is the most fun. It can be very useful as a soloing technique because it sounds so big and full of energy – when played right.