Drummer Tony Williams is probably my biggest influence. He played differently than most drummers of his time and his signature sound and style are unparalleled to this day. This particular lick is something I’ve seen and heard him do during his long career and I always wanted to learn this. So one day, I actually sat down at the drums and figured it out. You can first mentally hear this phrase as a system of triplets spread over the rack, floor and kick supported by hi hats on the “ands”. Written out, you can see the relationships as you can any chart.
In this lesson, I demonstrate what I call “two hand doubles and one kick double.” That means each hand does one double once and then the kick does a double once. This is literal. For example, beginning with the right hand you get RRLLKK. Beginning with the left hand you get LLRRKK. It’s very simply in concept. It’s a great exercise to play around the kit moving from drum to drum even cymbals and hats. You can simply start on any drum and the kick. Or just snare and kick. It really doesn’t matter what time signature you play this exercise in as it will fit any.
Doubles are a major part of my repertoire. I warm up with doubles at every gig for a few minutes to loosen up. I demonstrate “Doubles 2” with the click at 104 bpm as a moderate general tempo to work up to. To visibly simplify this, I wrote the chart using quarter and eighth notes so you can see that each note is separate and nothing lands together. This chant comes from my experimenting with “ghost” notes. Like I said earlier, I warm up with doubles at every gig and this chant is one of my main warm ups.
This week we focus on playing in two meters at once. A five beat chant is played on the ride cymbal over a drum chant in six. I break the full chant down by demonstrating both parts separately. The first beat of any chant is referred to as the “top” rather than commonly referring to it as “beat one”. This allows you to hear the phrase without counting focusing on the phrase’s feel and space. In this case of five over six, both parts meet on the 9th phrase in five and on the 6th phrase in six.