BY “TIGER” BILL MELIGARI
This is the conclusion of our two-part series on superimposing odd time signatures over common time (4/4) while trading fours in the jazz style. Here we’re playing four bars of jazz cymbal time followed by four bars of a drum fill to give the illusion that you’ve shifted into either 3/4, 5/4, or 7/4 time. In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1.
Note that the second four bar phrase (measures five to eight) in each exercise has accents written on the bass drum part to show you where each odd time phrase begins. This will help keep track of each odd time phrase when you start out. As you become more familiar with these drills, try leaving the accents out. The ultimate goal is to be able to keep track of where you are with or without the accents. On the video I’m playing the bass drum accents on the slow demo and leaving them out on the fast version.
To start out, repeat the same drum fill for each of the odd time phrases, as shown in the exercises. Once you get comfortable with them, work on maintaining the odd time feel while playing different fill patterns for each odd time phrase. Feel free to incorporate your own favorite fills and make up new ones along the way. The idea is to be creative with it–the sky’s the limit! With enough practice, you’ll find that trading fours in a live band situation will be a piece of cake.
Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!