December 2018
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Ornamenting the Groove

Ornamenting the Groove
In translating the traditional rock and R n B Soul grooves back over to the djembe, I noticed that the youngbloods don’t always understand the phrasing that goes into good soloing. They just bang and don’t set up a steady repeatable phrase first. In traditional foundation Soul drumming the drummer does not make a fill until the end of the phrase. That way it does not get in the way of the vocal or soloist. The drummer keeps a steady foundation pattern then kicks it with a little spicy fill usually at the end of a four bar phrase. Or maybe an eight bar phrase. The fill would have to end on the downbeat of the upcoming phrase so that everybody knows where the new phrase is starting.”Where’s ONE?”The Downbeat anchor note is something that humans need to hear in order to feel safe and dance. The four bar phrase with a fill at the end is part of our psychic rhythm history. It goes way back in time. It is part of our magical drumming past as well as foundation for good jazz. It does something to the soul. So the challenge would be for the over excited critical mind to behave itself and not solo until the end of a four bar phrase. That means counting or just feeling. Count to four three times then on the forth time, cut loose with your fill. You will dig it.

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