BY GIL SHARONE | FROM THE SPRING 2019 ISSUE OF DRUM!
In this lesson I’m going to introduce the pattern that Sly Dunbar played on the Black Uhuru song “Plastic Smile” (Ex. 1). Here, Dunbar is playing a bossa nova rhythm on top of a steppers pattern, and it fits really well in the context of the song. The bass drum is driving straight eighth-notes through the bar with the cross-stick playing the bossa pattern. In Latin music, the bossa nova is written as a two-bar pattern, but since this is a reggae song, I have it written here as a one-bar pattern. This is the more common way to feel reggae and it will also emphasize the slower feel of the groove, which sits around 60–65 for the quarter-note. Remember to make it dance.