443 – [Daniel Glass Show]: The Importance of Beat One

Inspired by a Bernard Purdie clinic in the 1990s, Daniel uses this episode to explore Beat One, an integral part of every musical situation that we often take for granted …. at our peril.

What’s covered in this session:

  • Daniel recounts a Bernard Purdie clinic that focused on “Beat One,” and why it got him thinking differently about the drums.
  • Why the numbers two and four make sense in our understanding of much of the world’s music.
  • In his book “Drum Wisdom,” Bob Moses describes beats 1 & 3 as “resolution points”
  • How a deeper awareness of Beat One is essential in every aspect of Rock and Pop drumming.
  • Why having a deeper understanding of Beat One is key to playing better grooves fills, ending phrases, beginning new ones.
  • Why this awareness of Beat One remains key even in musical styles that don’t depend so heavily on it, such as Jazz and Latin (in essence, you still need to have “the one” internalized even if your goal is to NOT play it).
  • Daniel discusses his own rocky relationship with Beat One, and how after years of frustration he finally developed a system to overcome those deficiencies.

Resources/Links/People Mentioned:

4 replies
  1. Paul Ellis
    Paul Ellis says:

    Of interest to me in this episode was Daniel’s anecdote about the drum instructor at a major jazz program telling his student NOT to play quarters on the bass drum while playing a jazz groove. I was at a major music school in the early 90s and studied in Cincinnati with the great jazz drummer John von Ohlen, who had played with Woody Herman and Stan Kenton. John INSISTED that all of us drummers master the technique of playing quarters on the bass drum in a way that supported the time and wasn’t obtrusive. Especially in a big band setting. I’ve been a working drummer for the better part of 30 years, and still use it all the time. It can definitely solidify the time. Great episode as usual, Daniel.

    Reply
    • Daniel Glass
      Daniel Glass says:

      Thanks so much, Paul! I agree that learning how to play four quarter notes on the bass drum is an art form that can NOT be underestimated, and must be studied/practiced in detail if a drummer is going to play swing and jazz with any kind of “truth.” Peace, and appreciate all the kind comments.

      Reply
  2. Paul Ellis
    Paul Ellis says:

    I took note when Daniel mentioned the drum instructor at a major jazz school telling his student NOT to play quarters on the bass drum on a jazz groove. I went to a major music school in Cincinnati in the early 1990s, and studied with the great jazz drummer John von Ohlen, who had played with Woody Herman and Stan Kenton. John INSISTED that we master the technique of playing quarters on the bass drum, especially in a big band setting, without making it obnoxious and obtrusive. Almost more felt than heard. I’ve gigged professionally for nearly 30 years, and use this technique all the time. It can really help solidify the time.

    Reply
  3. Paul Ellis
    Paul Ellis says:

    I studied with the great jazz drummer John von Ohlen (veteran of the Woody Herman and Stan Kenton bands) at music school in Cincinnati starting in 1990, and he INSISTED that we master the technique of playing quarter notes on the drum when playing a jazz groove. Even nearly 30 years ago, this was still a subject of debate. All drummers who are playing jazz/swing styles should learn how to do this. I use all the time, and it really helps solidy the groove. As John von Ohlen taught, it’s something that should be more “felt” than “heard”, but that would definitely be missed if you took it away. And as John also said: “It’s gotta swing, baby!”

    Reply

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