What I’m Working On

Introduction To Big Band Drumming Article By Stockton Helbing


As I’ve just stepped into the big band world with the City Swing Big Band (Singapore), I feel I have now entered the Doctorate level of musicianship.

I wouldn’t say that I’m passionate about Big Band Jazz, but I strongly desire to be able to groove like those cats, as well as read and articulate charts like those cats with the precision and drive that they have. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and all thanks go to a musician friend who recommended me to the band’s musical director.

In addition to checking out videos and recordings of famous Big Bands including Maynard Ferguson’s Big Band, The Buddy Rich Big Band, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, ¬†and The Benny Goodman Big Band, to name a few, I searched online for articles about the subject of Big Band drumming. I then came across Stockton Helbing’s article linked to his website about a week ago and found his thoughts on the life of a Big Band drummer very illuminating. If you’re curious about this type of drumming and music, please give the article (link included above) a read, and then go check out the music.


The Learning Never Ends…

The Learning Never Ends...

This is a page off of Pete Magadini’s classic book, Polyrhythms. As I get older, I have gotten increasingly hip to layering counter rhythms in my playing as opposed to fast 32nd note hand/foot licks, though I also truly appreciate the ability to pull off the latter. This year, I aim to deepen my knowledge of polyrhythms and find many creative ways to express different layers of rhythms in my grooves, fills, and solos.

The inspiration for this comes from great drummers like Ginger Baker, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Tony Allen, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Stewart Copeland. Pete Magadini’s Polyrhythms is probably still the best instructional method out there to develop control over this concept. It’s also a fine tool to help you strengthen your inner clock as you learn to shift to and fro and relate all rhythms of differing meters to a common pulse. That way, I can expand my vocabulary and am able to take on more complex forms of music both with greater competence and confidence.