Groovemaster Bernard Purdie
Why can two drummers play exactly the same rhythm, both keeping good time, but one excites and grooves and the other sounds flat?
The key is that the great drummers, the unique drummers play intentionally.
What does that mean in practical terms?
A great example is Bernard “Pretty” Purdie’s shuffle on Steely Dan’s ‘Home At Last”
Here’s a sample from Steve Gadd. I like Steve’s playing much more now because he leaves more space, his ideas are easier to absorb and the groove is deeper.
Conversely, autopilot playing is the enemy of musicality.
If we play a rhythm or a fill just because it’s a cool pattern we’ve worked on or because we’re imitating a groove we think fits the style of the music, our playing will lack intentionality and lay flat.
People will in some way, sense the lack of creativity. The sense that the instrument is controlling you instead of you presenting your own intended musical thoughts.
The music will never rise to the level you want because you’re playing someone else’s thoughts.
Autopilot playing translates to lack of energy and ultimately lack of creativity.
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