So You Say

Dennis Chambers, John Scofield – ‘So You Say’

I’ve been rehearsing this track a lot recently after initially being struck by that big drum intro. The hands play in a linear fashion throughout the grove, giving it a slightly loose sway. The bass drum kicks in with 16th notes and the snare falls on the back beat initially, then on the last 16th note beat 3. For the majority of the track, the other notes are all played quieter, ghosted between the cowbell, hi-hats, ride and snare.

The kick and snare pattern is the same throughout and was easy enough to grasp, so a lot of my attention was focussed on locking the hand pattern and keeping that in time with my feet.

The sticking pattern throughout is as follows (bold letters indicate the beginning of each beat)

R L R R   L R L R  L R R L  R L R L

It seemed like quite a complex groove to approach, but I managed to use knowledge of existing rudiments to my advantage. Rather than think of the sticking pattern as one long complex section, I split it up into 3 different sections.

I could tell right away that the groove sounded like it had some sort of paradiddle in there, and this is the approach I took:

[R L R R   L R L]  [R  L R R L]  [R L R L]

The first grouping is just a regular paradiddle, with one 16th note shaved off the end. The second grouping is again just a paradiddle, but only the first five notes. The third and final grouping is just four single strokes.

This may at first seem as or more complex than it needs to be, but it worked for me for a number of reasons. The first grouping is just a paradiddle (RLRR LRLL) with a 16th note taken off the end. I found that starting the second grouping where I have helps to assert the offbeat push at the end of beat 2. I have used the first five notes for my section, as when I tried to think of it as section 1 but just repeated, it always seemed that the two 16th notes at the very end were just tagged on. As a result I would always stumble through. The third section, consisting of four single strokes helped me to reset in my own mind and get back to the start of the pattern. These four can also be transferred around the kit easily, helping to open my mind in terms of dynamics and fills. There are many different ways in which you could divide the pattern, but this is the approach that felt the most natural to me. Once I had decided on those groupings, I ran the pattern over a good number of times, moving it around the kit.


[Update – 12/10/12]

On the night I was happy with how the performance of this track went. Myself and the bassist Oscar had to really be on the ball, as we were playing different rhythms which all linked in together. The complexity of the part made it hard for me to listen to what Oscar was playing on bass, but it seemed to go well, and I really enjoyed the track.

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