on jazz drumming

Harvey Mason on Chameleon

by Tim Lake

Harvey Mason - Chameleon - funk fusion drum groove

One of the great, classic jazz-funk drum grooves from one of great jazz-funk album's Herbie Hancock's Headhunters.

Harvey Mason drops in after the opening statement of that bass groove. He locks in with the bass groove with that anticipated snare drum just before beat two, that resolves with the down beat on beat four at the end of the bar. It is a great piece of tension and release within one bar!

This is still jazz and you can soon hear that Mason is varying, embellishing the groove in a variety of interesting ways.

Of course, it is all about the groove and the pocket. Laid back but not late. It is a great tune to jam along to, to get your feel together and get into this style of playing jazz drums.

One essential feature is the accented quarter notes in the hi-hat. The groove won't work without them. The wrist movement can be a bit tricky if you are not used to the motion, but it is worth taking the time to get it together

This is still jazz and you can soon hear that Mason is varying, embellishing the groove in a variety of interesting ways.

Here I've laid out the basic main groove at the top and then provided a few ways to vary it. These are not direct transcriptions of what Mason plays, rather they are attempts at interpreting the groove without losing its essential features or feel.

Variation 1 adds an extra bass drum, then variation 2 swaps that bass drum with the snare drum part. The PDF contains several other variations for you to try.

Later in the track Mason moves those accented quarter notes to the ride cymbal. That's another idea to add to the variations too.

Coming up with variations of the groove is a great way to expand your creativity on the drum set. Not only will it give you a deeper understanding of the groove itself, it will also open up some ideas and possibilities that you can use in other playing situations.

The PDF also contains a basic transcription of the often overlooked drum groove in the "B" section.

This was originally posted on "Jazz Drumming Blog" back in 2010.

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