Rolling In Time
Three types of roll, three pulses
Welcome to another jazz concepts article, this time we are looking specifically at rolling in different pulses. Jazz drummers often mess around with what we call ‘metric modulation’, in other words moving backwards and forwards from one pulse to another, by this I mean playing from straight ‘2 feel’ to swung ‘3 feel’ triplets. We can kill two birds with one stone, practice wise, by exploiting this concept of using three types of roll; single-stroke roll, double-stroke roll, and buzz-stroke roll. We can use another basic jazz concept of ‘grounding’ our practice by keeping time with the bass drum and the stepped hi-hat.
Example 1 shows the basic idea, changing pulse every bar from eighth notes, to eighth note triplet, to 16th notes and back to eighth note triplets. Example 2 shows exactly the same sticking but played using buzz strokes. Don’t be afraid to play this slowly, your eighth notes could be quite open and the 16th notes can become closed. Example 3 changes the sticking, playing two notes on each hand, take care with the triplets! Finally, the practice challenge shortens the amount of notes you play in each pulse, it should change smoothly from singles to buzzes to doubles and back; check the video footage!