By Ted Warren
Drumming great Joe Morello is perhaps best known for his lengthy tenure with the Dave Brubeck Quartet as well as his extensive teaching practice, but he was also on many recordings throughout his long career. I was recently listening to his work on Gary Burton’s “Conception” and thinking about his approach to playing in 3/4. What Morello tends to do is to play his hi-hat on every other beat, like so.
So, in essence, he’s playing his left foot like he would in 4/4, which creates a 2
bar phrase. But what’s really cool is he doesn’t play the rest of the drum set in
4/4, like this…..
The problem with the above beat, is that it doesn’t give us the feeling of 3 beats
to the bar and can tend to lose the other musicians. The next 8 exercises playing
the Morello hi-hat approach with playing the cymbal, snare drum and bass drum
in a strong 3 beat feeling.
I’ve also included some alternate Ride and hi-hat patterns below to mix and
match with the first 8 exercises. Note that the last hi-hat pattern actually gives us
a four-bar phrase.
Try these beats at varying tempos and dynamics. You can also play the snare drum part on the toms or cymbals, rim click, etc, or even reverse the snare drum and bass drum parts. You could also use any of your favourite triplet snare/bass drum ideas. Be creative with them and make them yours!
It’s also important to note this way of playing hi-hat won’t work for every waltz we play, especially if it has odd phrases. Make sure you also have some of the more standard 3/4 hi-hat patterns together, such as beat 2, or beats 2 and 3. You could also play these different patterns off each other for different sections of a tune. Regardless, it is an interesting alternative way of playing in 3/4 as well as a good independent coordination challenge. Be kind to yourselves, and have fun.
Ted Warren has a solid reputation as a musical, versatile drummer. He is an active member of Canada’s jazz scene and has been recognized with Jazz Report’s Drummer of the Year award. He is also a well-regarded clinician and adjudicator. Ted fronts his own quartet, Ted’s Warren Commission, which has released three CDs. He is also member of Broadview, which he co-leads with Rich Brown and Mike Murley. They released their debut recording, Two of Clubs,on Addo records. His latest band is Camera Pigeons, which is a quartet he formed in 2019. He was the drummer for the Boss Brass and can be heard on six of their recordings.
He can be reached at email@example.com.