We recently lost a legendary drummer and icon of the Miami jazz scene. His name was Steve Bagby, and he was a big influence on any drummer who attended the University Of Miami during the past 30 years. I was lucky enough to have studied with Steve way back in the ’70s, when I attended UM as an undergrad. I often heard him play with Ira Sullivan, Joe Diorio, and the Bakers Dozen big band. I remember one triplet pattern he played for me, which he mentioned was similar to things he enjoyed in Tony Williams’ playing. I never forgot the lick, and we’ll never forget Steve. I mention it in his honor. It’s basically triplets played between the hands, with the middle note on the bass drum. Ex. 1 starts with two bars of time, followed by the triplet exercise played between the floor tom and snare. Ex. 2 moves the hands between the floor and rack toms. Ex. 3 substitutes the hi-hat for the bass drum. Ex. 4 uses one bar of bass drum on the middle beat, one bar of hi-hat. It’s a fun little pattern that can be used to great effect. And as Steve would encourage, please use these basic rhythms to develop your own musical ideas.
Danny Gottlieb has played with Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, the NDR Big Band, and is currently a member of Gary Sinise’s Lt Dan Band (ltdanband.com). He is an associate professor of jazz studies at the University Of North Florida. dannygottlieb.org