Friday, November 26, 2010

Peter's "Apple" Groove

Last winter I spent several weeks out at the Banff Centre participating in the first ever TD Jazz & Creative Music Residency. I had the opportunity to work and play with a number of great musicians during my time there. The faculty was also outstanding and we had the chance to work with the likes of Dafnis Prieto, Peter Apfelbaum, Phil Dwyer and Uri Caine for two weeks.

Saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist/composer Peter Apfelbaum taught me this unique groove that he came up with that he used as the framework for one of his compositions that we played together as a large ensemble.

Basically it's a 7/8 backbeat type of groove phrased in three bar cycles. The bars of 7/8 are grouped as 2+2+3. Layered over-top of this groove (played between the bass drum and snare) is the hihat pattern which plays a continuous dotted quarter-note pattern with the right hand (!)

You can also think of this pattern as being one long pattern in 7 (subdivided as triplets) with the 7/8 beat layered underneath.

I've written this example with accents on all the downbeats (just to reference the pulse) but overall don't forget the left hand backbeat on the snare drum and to "ghost" the very last snare note to really make it funky.

Everyone was really scratching their heads when Peter first played this for us but once I got it, it really lends itself to a funky groove with a sideways kind of feeling to it. The dotted quarter note in the right hand really makes the rhythm of this beat "lean" forward...

Recently I've been exploring this pattern while playing the right hand hi-hat pattern on the bell of the ride cymbal while playing quarter notes with my left foot on the hi-hat (this will take two times through the whole three bar pattern in order to resolve itself properly).

Here's another variation that uses the idea of phrasing using the "big" 7. I've written this pattern as the last example but this time with a few more notes in the right hand so you end up with this variation:

So this one is basically a 7/4 swing pattern (phrased 4+3) with the same 7/8 pattern as before between the snare drum and bass drum layered underneath. This is kind of weird....maybe someday I'll find a situation to use it.

Anyways, I tried my best to notate all these using Sibelius. I apologize if it's a bit awkward to read as I can't seem to get the note groupings set exactly as I want them to be (it's certainly a bit awkward at first to play...)

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