BY STEWART JEAN
In this lesson we will take a look at how to properly play a jump-swing drum pattern. Jump-swing is another common rhythm and blues pattern that can cross over to other genres such as rockabilly, Texas swing and boogie-woogie. This pattern also crosses state lines with the music of Louis Jordan (Arkansas), Ruth Brown (Virginia/Washington D.C.), Big Joe Turner (Kansas City, Missouri), Asleep at the Wheel (Texas via West Virginia) and Brian Setzer (New York).
Similar to many rootsy grooves, the jump-swing pattern has a seemingly endless array of varieties. With this in mind this lesson will focus on one specific pattern that serves as a default setting for this style.
Starting with the ride cymbal or hi-hat, play a standard jazz “spang-a-lang” pattern (Ex. 1). There should be little to no variation within this pattern, although simplifying it down to quarter-note on every beat is certainly acceptable at times.
The snare drum essentially plays a backbeat on 2 and 4. Next, a grace note is added on every upbeat creating a three note recurring pattern starting on the & of beat 1 and the & of beat 3 (Ex. 2). Notice that the hands line up playing two eighth-notes on the downbeats of 2 and 4. Once that is in place, the hi-hat with the foot should be added on beats 2 and 4.
Finally, the default bass drum pattern should be four-on-the-floor with a consistently even sound (Ex. 3). Avoid playing the bass drum too heavily as this can bog the groove down. This is a great opportunity to work on heel-down playing as your body will be more relaxed, allowing the groove the flow.
Jump Swing Playlist:
- “Up and Down East Street” (Maceo Parker, Roots Revisited, Bill Stewart on drums)
- “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” (Asleep at the Wheel, Miles and Miles of Texas, drummer not credited)
- “Ignition” (Brian Setzer, Ignition!, Bernie Dresel on drums)
- “Sugar Boogie” (Marcia Ball, Roadside Attractions, Damien Llanes or Lynn Williams on drums)