One of my top warm ups. I developed this during my Reggae Years in my youth. One afternoon I was doing a sound check with some musicians performing reggae music and I came up with this chant. Today I use this chant as one of my warm ups during sound checks. The basic chant enforces an intense solid pocket with the twist of triple feel snare ghost notes not written in the chart. This mimics the sound of slap back delay on hi hat and snare when ghost notes are played on the snare. Or it can be played exactly as written on the chart without ghost notes for independence.
This is a full performance at Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts at University of Chicago featuring alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, myself on drums and the band. The performance was (and currently is) part of a four week residency which also includes workshops and open rehearsals. Steve’s music is full of counter crossing rhythms, time signatures, key changes, melodic references, multi-layered chords, phrases, and cues. Along with all those components comes his unique style and vision behind the music approaching a rhythmic sense unparalleled and completely original. Notice constant usage of multiple drum chants using long and short beats.
We begin this chant at a relaxed tempo of 84 BPM. You can look at this like a string of 16th notes for the length of two measures. Each note is assigned to a specific place on the kit. Something is going on every beat and every half beat. Ghost snare notes are written into this chant. This is a great chant exercise for independence. This is also a great chant for dynamic control when played at 120 BPM or higher at a low volume of a whisper which forces you to focus on stick control, body position, and relaxing your wrists.
This chant is felt like triplets in 5 meaning every beat gets a triplet. Using the metronome at 84 bpm gives you a moderately slower tempo to get used to the odd triplet feel this chant is built upon. This chant became one of my anchors in understanding playing a triple 5 feel. This chant has a marker which is the last bass drum on the 3rd of the triplet on beat 5. It gives an end to the chant and a pickup to the beginning of the chant. Loop this chant repetitively until it becomes second nature. As with every chant on this site, I encourage doing everything slowly before moving on to faster tempos. It’s the old learn to walk before you run lesson applied here. Once 84 bpm feels relaxed, build up to looping this at around 160 bpm. It’s quite a difference. The key is being relaxed no matter what the tempo. This chant opens up a world of odd meter in an uncommon framework. As an added lesson bonus, you get my vocal grunts.