Dave Weckl: Soloing Around Kicks
That’s nice, but how do we go about getting to the point where we can make those musical choices? “My approach has always been to try to incorporate the hits and punches in with the groove or time being played,” Weckl explains. “Notice I didn’t say that the other way around – the time feel and groove is still the focus, not the hits. First off, the band needs to have something solid to play off of, a time feel that gives them foundation in order for them to play the punches off a pulse. So unless it is a situation musically where it is meant to be a stop-time affect, I try to make the hits part of my groove or fill. But even if I play a fill around the hits, the hi-hat usually keeps pulse, or the quarter-note.
“A great way to develop something to play within hits like this is to sing fills and grooves first, in with those accents. This became standard procedure for me in the studios whenever I sight-read a jingle or movie soundtrack and had to come up with something quickly that made musical and compositional sense. I would scope the chart out for either complex rhythms or hits, and sing them and the groove or fill around them, sometimes even writing in little pieces of what I just sang to help me remember what to do when I got there in the chart.
“Although counting is good and mandatory when first learning about reading and note placement, it’s something one should try to let go of as soon as you are ready to do so. Try to get it into a musical context as quickly as possible, which means singing the rhythms with drum sounds and using your voice. Always remember it’s music, not a math equation, and you don’t want to sound like you are counting. To me, developing vocabulary around the hits is about building facility to play what you want to play at a given moment.”
So now you can go to the practice shed and get your chops together using Weckl’s well considered advice. Or you can cheat and go straight to the transcription on the following pages and steal his licks.