Continuing from last month, here are six more Fusion-style fills that use the same rhythmic springboard (the accented notes on beat 1 and the & of 2) for fills and solo practice. While Ex. 6 requires some good chops and the ability to move around the drum set, the others are exercises in phrasing and rhythmic confidence. The clever use of dynamic shaping will make these rhythms feel and sound much better than if the notes are merely played “right.” Experiment with these one-bar examples and then build upon them, creating multi-bar patterns and phrases that cross over the bar line. Be aware of the form while you create drum melodies.
Peter Erskine has played with Weather Report, Steps Ahead, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra, and holds an honorary doctor of music degree from Berklee College Of Music. http://petererskine.com