The top begins with the pedaled hat and snare creating a backwards-like approach. Western music usually begins with a kick and cymbal whether hi hat, ride or crash. I chose to begin with the snare and pedaled hat not only for the unusual factors. Beginning on the snare uses the part of the drum kit that is commonly the answer to the call. The pedaled hat and ride are constant which ties the whole together. Both the hat and ride fall on each beat. This chant gives the typical Western drummer the ability to literally turn everything around culturally while applying strict control of the chant’s shape.
This exclusive concert performance features myself with Five Elements. Steve Coleman on alto sax, Anthony Tidd on bass, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet and Miles Okazaki on guitar. The music performed here is a perfect example of multiple drum chants supporting accompanying music also rhythmically multi-layered. Things are triggered by horn cues in which there are many. Also certain phrases trigger unusual events. One of the best ways to understand an artist closely is to know where they come from culturally. In the case of alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, you’ll hear everything from bebop to James Brown to Charlie Parker. And of course many other musical references. Every member of this band demonstrates the sonic ability to react swiftly to everything happening. Being the drummer of this unit means I have to pay close attention at all times. Not only do I have to keep my place, I have to be able to hear where all the parts line up. For example, the bass may be totally against what I am playing. I must hear how that happens and at any time someone may throw a cue in a peculiar place. I have to be able to respond at the blink of an eye.
This time we look at a chant in alternate ways. In 5, the chant makes most sense. The accompanying music is arranged in a flow that goes against the chant however it comes around at points. When seeing this in 3 the sound of the chant does not change however, the percussive perception alters. The bar line changes as the note values stay the same in 5 and 3.
Triplet feel is really spelled out with the pedaled opened hats and kick pattern. This creates the 3 against 4. It is critical that you understand 1E&A which is the code we will use from here forth. So in this case which are 3 beats per measure, each beat is divided by 4 which is 1E&A. So counting aloud in ¾ you say, “1E&A, 2E&A, 3E&A, 1E&A, 2E&A, 3E&A” and so on. The hat, kick and ride pattern do not change throughout. So understanding how they anchor is half the battle. Therefore, the hat falls on beats 1, 2, and 3. The kick falls on beats 1, A of 1, & of 2, and E of 3. The ride falls on E of 1, 2, A of 2, and & of 3. The snare pattern is the only part that alters. In the first measure, the snare falls on & of 1 and beat 3. In the second measure, the snare falls on E of 2 and A of 3. When playing 140 BPM and faster, the chant takes on a latin influenced sound.