1. Welcome to TalkBass, the Premier Bass Player Community and Information Source. We've been uniting the Low End Since 1998!

    We're glad you've found us. Register a 100% Free Account to post and unlock tons of features.

Drumming: jazz brushes

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by hdiddy, Feb 25, 2014.


  1. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I don't know where this topic really belongs but it seems most relevant here.

    Lately, I've been really digging jazz brushes and learning to play it at home, both as an exercise and just for fun to work on my time. Just practicing on the back of a magazine and working out different accents, subdivisions, and feels. It's been immensely fruitful and such a great time workout. Just two brushes and a surface to work with. I'm also messing with Mike Longo's "Rhythmic Nature of Jazz" exercises and figuring them out using the brushes.

    The thing I love most jazz brush technique is that the stirring motion gives you a physical sense for time in between all the subdivisions - especially in a kinesthetic/tactile manner. And when I go back to the bass I try to maintain that "body feel" for time. It's also similar to what you go through with your fingers doing pizz on the bass in a way.

    Not to mention how expressive it is in terms of what's possible and the zillion different ways a simple swing beat can be done. You can go back to your favorite records and dig out some cool hits from your favorite recordings and find ways to apply them during bass soloing situations.

    One thing I def wanted to point out is that I just discovered a series of videos on YOOTOOB where they've recorded a bunch of jazz greats and show how distinctively different they do their thing. For example:

    Ben Riley


    Ben's comment about Papa Jo saying that he never goes in "preconceived" is deep.

    Anyways, it would be fascinating if someone were to do the same exact thing but with famous bassists doing simply things like walking and such. To cover the obvious stuff like note choices, but also to look at their physical approach. That would be too cool.
     
  2. harryd714

    harryd714

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Location:
    New Paltz, New York
    I don't have anything to add but this is wonderful, and your description of your attraction brushes very succinctly articulated a feeling I've held unexplained for a long time. Thanks
     
  3. harryd714

    harryd714

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Location:
    New Paltz, New York
    Oh and I've also done a similar thing with bassists like you mention. More than note choices, or physical approach, I think the most immediate thing is beat centers. Ray Brown playing way on top of the beat or P.C right in the middle etc...
     
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I remember someone asked RB about his beat center and his responses was that the idea of playing of top is nonsense: he plays it right at the center of the beat. It was posted here somewhere.

    I think it's one thing to watch videos, but I think it's another for them to do it live, explain why they do it the way they do, and have their fellow bassist ask questions and peer into the details of those aspects. Notes can be transcribe, but the physical approach is very personal.

    Compare any of the following Ron Carter, McBride, Pattitucci, Buster Williams, Eric Revis and you will get different answers for even just the physical approach to a simple walking line.

    It would also be interesting to hear how various bassists and drummers relate to one-another.
     
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. SeaBassTheFish

    SeaBassTheFish

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2000
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Great Stuff, Huy. I haven't done the brush thing, but I talk to students all the time about this part you talk about:

    As with breath on a wind instrument, control of time is about the entirety of the mechanism and not just about the part that actually makes the sound. It doesn't make any sense to only focus on exhaling - if you don't control your inhaling, you'll obviously have nothing to exhale; further, if you want to exhale in a controlled and precise/flowing manner, it only makes sense that your way of inhaling is going to affect that. The brush concept is great in that it forces you to stay connected to the time and groove all the way through because everything you do makes a sound. I'm going to have to play with this in my studio. Thanks for the heads up!

    Also, the Ben Riley thing was interesting, especially regarding where he felt the beat against the bass at that slower tempo. It reminded me of the last time I saw Elvin Jones live. I could not believe how far in front the bass was in his grooves at that tempo. Definitely a wide pocket there.
     
  8. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Ed Thigpen's book/video "essence of brushes" is a personal favorite. Ron Carter plays on the video.
     
  9. ctrlzjones

    ctrlzjones

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2013
    @hdiddy
    thank you for this hint. It seems to be so obvious ...

    gotten the 'escobillas' today; fourteen euros, the cardboard is for free, and I already can feel the magic happening under my hands.



    @fmoore200
    if I look up the 'essence of brushes' thing on youtube, I am plastered with girls make up advices. umpf, this does not really help, or does it?

    otherwise: great advice.
     
  10. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I think he means more like this:


    There's some really great footage with Sonny Payne w/ Basie on one of the Jazz Casual vids. The opening tune - I just love his brushwork. Saying so much with so little. I can't find that youtube anymore or else I'd link it.
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Check out the difference in approach between Vernell and Papa Jo...
     
  12. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
     
  14. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah that's from the same show, but the one I'm talking about is the first tune they play on the DVD. That segment with Basie is worth the money. I've watched it many times.
     
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Doesn't it give a link to where the whole video is available? animotion or some such?
     
  16. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
  17. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Those early brush players came up playing for dancers. That's why it feels so good- they had to make it feel good to pack the floor. It was a job requirement. It's interesting that these guys didn't play the same way with everyone, no matter how amazing they were... the same way you can't dance the same way with everyone. You have to figure out where they're at, and try not to step on their toes. This is where I'm at with the "body feel" thing. I used to dance before my knee gave out, played for dancers for years, and really try to make everything feel like you could and should dance to it. This is why there are so many great drummers from New Orleans; if you're playing Snug Harbor or D.B.A., somebody's going to get up and dance. Happy Mardi Gras, y'all.
     
  18. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    You can make a similar argument for afro-cuban and brazilian styles. Generally it's always going to be far better if the musician knows the associated dances and why they sound the way they do.

    In terms of jazz, too bad the music has been largely divorced from the dance. Brushes (cept maybe tap dance) is the next best thing to getting that type of body feel for all the other newer jazz styles that have developed, esp the odd metered stuff.
     
  19. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Diddy,

    Spend some time in New Orleans. I'm not just talking about the cheesy "trad" jump jive and wail swing revival crap. People are going to get up and dance at almost any gig, and the line between "art music" and "party music" is blurred universally. Jazz is about freedom and fun, baby.
     
  20. Reiska

    Reiska

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    Play those brushes on your bass and have some fun, you can groove like grazy or go seriously avant garde :) I´m a drummer turned heavily on bass quite recently and loving the percussive potential of it. I think that arco playing has many similarities to brush playing, the way you have move quite delicately in time, with constant flow.
     
  21. bobsax

    bobsax

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    Location:
    North of South San Francisco
    I've spent so much time the last 10 years listening to music without drums and playing real swinging stuff without drums that when I listen to stuff with drums I always end up thinking that it would just sound better without them.
     

Share This Page