Kenny Clarke's Paradiddle-Diddles

Jazz legend Kenny Clarke was a drumming great who helped pioneer the transition from swing to bebop. In working through one of Kenny’s solos from the Evolution Of Jazz Drumming book with top UNF student David Smith, we found that one of Kenny’s patterns may have used a combination of paradiddle-diddles and paradiddles. I then realized that my wife Beth had shown me this pattern years ago while working on a duet for Gary Sinise’s band. Beth has a strong drum corp background, and this grouping seems to be a typical pattern. I never realized it, but after listening to Kenny you find that this pattern works great for jazz solos!

You can do it right- or left-hand lead. Ex 1 is a basic pattern of four paradiddle-diddles and two regular paradiddles, and Ex. 2 is one of Beth’s variations featuring two paradiddle-diddles and two regular paradiddles. Enjoy Kenny’s brilliant playing, and I hope this example will encourage all drummers to study rudiments. They are our foundation and can really help.

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danny gottlieb

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