Ed Soph has the distinction of being one of the truly great jazz drummers and one of the greatest jazz educators in history. I was lucky enough to study with Ed in the ’70s, when he was based in New York, and my stepson Scott Radock is one of Ed’s current students at the University Of North Texas. Scott recently asked me to play one of Ed’s coordination exercises, and at first I couldn’t play it! It was easier after writing it out, and I realized that you could add one of Joe Morello’s continuous vamp exercises to the pattern, and have even more possibilities.
As explained by Scott, the purpose of this exercise is to develop control and co-ordination while playing a songo bass drum pattern. Ex. 1 is the songo bass pattern with the hi-hat playing on all four beats. Ex. 2 adds an eighth-note pattern with the sticking RLL, and an accent every third beat, which goes over the bar line and repeats every three bars. Ex. 3 moves the right hand to the cymbal, while Ex. 4 moves the left hand around the drums. Experiment here by playing the same pattern, but moving the hands to different drums.
In Ex. 5 we add the Morello continuous vamp, playing all the eighths with the left hand, and accenting every third beat. In Ex. 6 we add the right hand playing rhythms. Joe would often have us play this pattern, reading just the right-hand rhythms from Stone’s 72 exercises on the first three pages of Stick Control. It opens a world of rhythmic possibilities that can be used for great solo ideas.
I always learn so much from Ed. Whether you go to UNT, take private lessons, or watch him perform with Eddie Gomez, Marvin Stamm, and others, you will be learning from one of the true greats of our instrument!