Friday, August 10, 2012

Comping and off-beat grooves versus mindlessly hitting on 2 and 4

In my 11 June 2012 post titled More Quick Tips (fills, dynamics and melody) I introduced an alternative to playing backbeats. While the examples were clearly aimed at jazz, they also work in other genres, and especially so in blues and R&B.

This post will extend the groove possibilities to include playling off beat and comping rhythms. The best introduction these concepts is this video by Peter Erskine:

Before proceeding go to this link and check out the examples, and pay special attention to Charlie Smith's playing behind Bird and Dizzy in the Hot House video.

Back? Here are some more lessons that will impart some very basic and easy-to-learn skills in comping:

Tommy Igoe from Groove Essentials

An interesting video I came across and liked

My final video is of Peter Erskine in performance demonstrating comping. Unless you are playing heavy backbeat music that is formulaic, try experimenting with comping patterns instead of mindlessly hitting on 2 and 4. Also practice off beat playing per Erskine's video on that subject. You are still providing a time reference with the 2 and 4 on your hi-hat, along with time via your ride pattern (and it can be unswung, straight quarter or eigth notes). Playing on the up beat, for example, can propel the groove.

Granted, some of these things may not fit into your music or comfort zone - for the time being at least - but trying them out and experimenting will open you to many more possibilities.

Here is the final clip:

One parting word: if you haven't checked out Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials video, I highly recommend it. See my 18 February 2010 post, My Favorite Instructional Videos for details and other recommendations. You can also head over to this post about Giant Steps and listen to how comping is done on a world class, iconic album.

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