In a previous column, I talked about developing some jazz comping vocabulary on the snare drum while keeping a steady, relaxed swing ride pattern. We can use those rhythms to complement, react to, mimic, answer, or in some way interact with what the rest of the band is doing and hopefully in a supportive and musical way. To continue developing your comping vocabulary, here are some examples of rhythms we can use on the bass drum in the same manner.
Ex. 1 shows the basic ride pattern alone. And Ex. 2, with bass drum on all four beats, is an example of bass drum feathering. This is a practice that has been part of jazz playing for many years. Care should be taken to be able to play this very quiet, almost felt and not heard. Then you can practice the snare comping vocabulary from the previous column over the top of this example. Exs. 3–14 should also be practiced at lower volumes on the bass. Remember, comping is short for accompany.