How To Begin Jazz Drum Comping
by Tim Lake
Once your main jazz cymbal pattern is flowing and comfortable, it is time to think about adding comping figures with the snare drum and bass drum.
The word "comping" comes from "accompanying" and is primarily what pianists, guitarists and drummers do to support the soloist.
Your comping figures should sit underneath the cymbal time and help to give the time a bit of forward momentum. At no time should these figures overpower or upset the flow of the cymbal time.
Eventually the idea is to be able to freely improvise these types of figures in response to the music and add to the musical conversation. This set of exercises is for you to work on the independence and co-ordination that you need to do that.
All the figures in these exercises focus on beat "four", which is one of the most common positions to put a comping figure.
Start slow and work on each exercise until it feels natural.Then try at different tempos from slow to fast.
Experiment with different voicings by moving the snare drum part around the kit.
Trying play one bar of time and then one bar with the figure, then two bars of time and two bars with the figure.
Remember to count triplets throughout and that the "and" of beat four is the third beat of the triplet. Of course, when you are playing faster tempos (260+) the pattern will start to be played like straight eighths.
Once these basic figures are comfortable, you can try tying over the "and" of beat four, which means the time will pick up again on beat two of the second bar. You can see these written out in the pdf.
Practice along to some tunes like "So What" from Kind of Blue.
This was originally posted on "Jazz Drumming Blog".