John Xepoleas is serious about teaching jazz and funk. His web site, has become a premier destination for drummers serious about mastering the skills needed to play with authenticity and fluidity in creative styles. Now, DRUM! and John X. have teamed to provide a free downloadable minibook lesson on jazz fills, complete with transcription and video.

It’s titled “Learn To Swing These Four-Bar Jazz Fills.” Xepoleas has taught thousands of drummers over the years through his lessons and camps, and I asked what was the secret for students mastering jazz and soloing. “The biggest challenge is to be patient and practice the fills until they become muscle memory,” he says. “Once they have become muscle memory you will be able to let yourself play instead of making yourself play.”


Drawing from his experience of watching students develop these techniques, he adds, “When a student internalizes fills he or she will be able to solo with an uninterrupted flow from one idea to the other.”