on jazz drumming

Mike Clark on Actual Proof


Acutal Proof - Funk Drum Groove, Mike Clark, Herbie HancockI was totally blown away when I first heard "Actual Proof" from Herbie Hancock's Thrust album - I had never heard anything like it before; in fact I'm still blown away!

I wanted to get a handle on the groove and what Mike Clark was playing, so I took down the opening 16 bars of the bass and drums grooving.

For the most part, Clark uses the first bar as a motif, locking in with the bass groove, and then uses the second bar as a variation, where there is more space.

I haven't included all the grace notes in the transcription. There are two reasons for this: one it looks messy making it hard to read, and two, I find that the grace notes come naturally once you understand the core pattern.

This is a fantastic groove to get together and will give you some ideas to add to your playing. It will take a lot of work to get it sounding anywhere near as smooth as how Clark plays it.

If you ever want to play this you'll also need to get a handle on the form. It's basically 12 bars + 3 bars that serve as a tag - albeit written as a bar of 5/4, 4/4, then 3/4. You can find the chart and, in the back of the book, a groove, in the New Real Book Volume 3.

Interestingly, there's a video, with a transcription, of Mike Clark explaining the groove over at Drummer World, but I found the groove to be quite different from what he actually played on the record. You can see it here:



This was originally posted on "Jazz Drumming Blog" back in 2011.

Actual Proof

Herbie Hancock


Herbie Hancock

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