For the past couple years I have played with a guitarist named Daniel Castro, who leads one of the more popular blues bands in the San Francisco area. Unlike most other bandleaders I’ve played with, Daniel gives me lots of drum solos throughout the night — usually at least one per set, but very often two or three. Needless to say, this is a bit of a double-edged sword, in that I love the challenge of trying to define each solo as a separate and unique statement, but often feel like I’m relying on motifs and patterns I’ve played before rather than truly improvising.
But I tried something the other night that shook things up a bit. After playing about 32 bars of a solo, I stood up, grabbed by hi-hat (while playing a ride pattern on the top cymbal), and walked to the front of the stage where I soloed on just the hat. It was fun to try to keep things interesting by trying different rhythmic patterns and open and closed textures — I even played on the stand itself to expand my sound pallette.
Does anyone else have any soloing strategies to share?