“In the soloing I do, a lot of the phrasing comes from Zigaboo [Modeliste] with The Meters and that kind of playing. It’s a big influence on me. I’ve taken those grooves that I used to listen to so much and just tried to make them my own. I break it up between the limbs and approach it like a jazz drummer with the ride cymbal being something constant and the other limbs breaking it up and comping or soloing. But I’m thinking more in sixteenth-notes than in a jazz triplet.
“Here’s a four-bar groove and four-bar soloing example [Ex. 12]. Sometimes I’m thinking in the way that they end phrases on the & of 3 [Ex. 13], and sometimes playing the snare on 1 is cool [Ex. 14]. That’s the way I approach soloing. I come up with something like that and let it repeat and build as I improvise around and it takes me someplace else. I think it’s more compositional and musical. It could go a million different places, but I don’t know how to tell you where it will go.
“Sometimes instead of a traditional drum fill, I’ll use this kind of phrasing between the kick and snare for a fill. It keeps the groove going because you’re not changing and playing something on top. Listen to The Meters or Tower Of Power with David Garibaldi and that linear way of playing. There are several guys that have that thing happening. Just listen to all types of music to get this type of vocabulary inside you so it comes out naturally and it doesn’t have to be thought about. It comes out from repetition and playing with people a lot.”
“I get asked about this a lot. I suppose it’s my one lick. I think of it as an accent. It’s two bass drum strokes and then two single strokes in the hands [Ex. 15]. Then I put a roll in between. The tricky part is keeping the roll going. I might think of a phrase like this [Ex. 16]. Or I sometimes use it in six [Ex. 17]. It’s kind of like that Elvin [Jones] thing. At least that’s where I got the idea. I’m not thinking of the exact notation. The notes just squeeze in there at the right time. I guess I do it a lot, but that’s because there’s so much you can do with it. Sometimes I just slide it in at the last moment like it comes out of nowhere.”