BY DANNY GOTTLIEB | FROM THE SPRING 2019 ISSUE OF DRUM
The paradiddle-diddle is a versatile rudiment with many uses in jazz, both musically and as an exercise to improve your playing. I started playing it frequently as practice for a cymbal exercise, using it to develop a deep triplet subdivision.
First, let’s warm up with a regular right paradiddle (Ex. 1). Now, start the cymbal beat with the right hand, then fill in the triplet beats with the left hand (Ex. 2). The sticking is a displaced right paradiddle-diddle, starting on the last three beats of the rudiment. This is also a great way to develop accuracy of the ride pattern. You can also start on the second part of the ride beat, which would be a regular right paradiddle-diddle (Ex. 3).
I find that I often play a right paradiddle-diddle behind a soloist as a device to generate excitement, usually to accent an over-the-bar rhythm (Ex. 4). The fill is illustrated in Ex. 5.
A great example of the use of the paradiddle-diddle in jazz can be found in a solo by the great Alan Dawson. In a YouTube video of Dawson playing “There Will Never Be Another You” with saxophonist Sonny Rollins, at the 5:23 mark he plays the right double paradiddle-diddle four times, with downbeat accents on the cymbal and bass drum, but then follows it with a regular right and left paradiddle on the snare (Ex 6). It’s a great device, and he plays it flawlessly thanks to the mastery of his rudimental ritual. Dawson’s full solo in that video is one of the most musical solos ever performed—you can really hear the melody of the song in every chorus.