How to Write Jazz Drum Music

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Jazz music requires its own drum style, separate from other types of music. Jazz up your percussive skills with help from a professional drummer in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Drums
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Nate Morton. I currently play drums with Cher and I live in Los Angeles, California and this is how to write jazz drum music. So typically there's a lot going on in jazz drumming that is improvised. So if you hear a jazz drummer and they're playing, you know, they're...typically all of that stuff, all those ghost notes and all the nuances are not written out. They may be written, the chart may just say jazz time and then the number of measures that you want to play may be marked out. Maybe it's eight measures, it may say jazz time, eight measures and so typically what happens is within that, maybe there are some kicks. Maybe you're playing with a jazz group that has horns or maybe you're playing with a big band and there are kicks that you've got to catch and by kicks I simply mean rhythms that the entire band plays that you as the drummer have to accent with the band. So you may have eight bars that look a little something like this where it's simply eight bars with slashes showing okay, eight bars of time going by and then maybe within that time going by well maybe there's a kick on the and of four on the second bar, maybe there's a hit on beat one of the fourth bar and then another kick on the and of four of the fourth bar. Maybe there's a kick on beat two of bar seven and then maybe there's a kick on the and of four on the last bar. Yea, let's go with that so you've got a little something that might look like that. So you've got the slashes showing the time and then you've got the accents rhythmically written above the slashes. So the way that that would go is you're playing along, so you have the rhythms written above the measures and so in this case you know, this might go a little something like this. Alright, so you notice I'm setting up those rhythms with little ideas, you know, before the kick on the and of four, I might go, sort of sets it up. So a little bit brighter it may go a little something like this, one, two, a one, two, three. So that's the general idea. You usually would have the measures marking the time and then maybe above that or even on the staff within the measure you'll have rhythms for kicks that you're supposed to catch and so that is the best way I believe to go about writing pro music. So I am Nate Morton and that's how to write jazz drum music.

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