Marvin “Bugalu” Smith

In my post about Smalls Jazz Club, I raved about seeing Marvin “Bugalu” Smith play drums with Teodross Avery. I’m still obsessed with his playing.

They have a new duo album out that is highly recommended. You can get it through Teodross’ online shop.

Here’s a video that was just posted of the two of them in the studio that I couldn’t resist sharing here.

The Drums – Papa Jo Jones

My drum teacher recently told me about the album The Drums by Papa Jo JonesThe album isn’t available anymore, so here’s the copy I found on Youtube.

What surprised me most is that I hadn’t heard it until now. It’s amazing.

Not only is it entertaining to listen to because of Papa Jo’s unique delivery, his stories and insights are wonderful.

Next up is to get the book Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones.


Full double LP 1973 release from vinyl.

1. Drum Solo N°1
2. Basics- Gadgets – Effects
3. Rudiments – Drum Roll, Flams, Single Stroke
4. Rim Shots – Tom Tom
5. Drummers That I Met – Baby Dodds
6. Josh
7. Unnamed Drummer From St Louis
8. A.G. Godley – Alvin Burroughs – Gene Krupa
9. Sid Catlett
10. Unnamed And Unplaced Drummer Walter Johnson
11. Sonny Greer
12. Billy Gladstone Manzy Campbell
13. Chick Webb
14. Baby Lovett
15. Dancers That I Met
16. Pete Nugent
17. Eddie Rector
18. Baby Laurence
19. Bill – Bojangles – Robinson
20. Colours
21. Drums Solo N°2
22. Sweet Sue By Willie The Lion Smith And Jo Jones

This item sometimes comes up used online and Amazon has a listing that I’ve been keeping my eye on.

Update: It appears that this is available again on CD as an import. Find it on Amazon.

Meet the Bass Player

Meet the Bass Player by Allan CoxWhile I still practice with a metronome every day, I like to mix it up, especially when practicing jazz independence and sticking exercises. Lately I’ve been using Meet the Bass Player by Allan Cox. It’s a staple of my practice routine.

This playalong is simple, just bass and rhythm guitar that doesn’t get in the way.

There are a good range of tempos from slow to fast that make it usable whether I’m working on something for the first time or trying to push myself.

I’m currently working a lot on feathering the bass drum (with a strong hi-hat on 2 & 4 and a standard cymbal beat).  Meet the Bass Player has been invaluable.

I end each practice session by focusing on my feathering technique with the bass tracks at 180bpm, 220bpm, 260bpm and 300bpm. Just two weeks ago my max was 260bpm, so I’m encouraged.

Here’s a detail of the tracks and tempos:

Meet the Bass Player by Allan Cox

The other thing this jazz bassline playalong is great for is when working on brush patterns. Having a clean bass line to focus on really helps to hear the brush rhythms and highlights any weaknesses that may need to be worked on.

This is very easy to recommend and a great value at around $10.

Alternatives to Ted Reed’s Syncopation

I wanted to write a quick recommendation for a couple of drum books I use as an alternative to Ted Reed’s Syncopation.

If you’re a jazz drummer, then you probably know why this book is so popular and how it can be used. If you don’t, Alan Dawson will do a much better job of explaining than I do, so I recommend getting his book, The Complete Drummer’s Vocabulary. His exercises that use pages from Syncopation as a foundation are legendary and I spent a lot of time practicing them when I studied with John Ramsay at Berklee.

Having been through Syncopation so many times, my teacher recently recommended two books by Louis Bellson that are excellent. I’m surprised I had never owned either of them until now. One is in 4/4 and the other handles odd time signatures.

Modern Reading Text in 4/4 & Odd Time Reading Text

I highly recommend both of these books and that you don’t ignore practicing playing/reading in odd time signatures.

While we’re on the topic, make sure you check out Jazz in 3/4 Time by Max Roach if you haven’t heard it.

Clave Metronome App

I recently started practicing Latin patterns and working out of the book New Ways of Brazilian Drumming by Sergio Gomes. I’ve also been working on Latin independence exercises while reading from the Ted Reed Syncopation book and playing those patterns with my left or right hand.

I quickly got tired of listening to a straight click while practicing and instead of programming the various clave patterns into my drum machine or computer, I searched for an app and found one that’s perfect!

The Clave is highly recommended. It’s also free.

The interface is brilliantly simple and gives me everything I need. Tempo adjustment, several different patterns, the ability to invert the clave from 3:2 to 2:3 and an option for low or high pitched claves.

Here are some screenshots:


Clave metronome

Click here to get the Clave app

Here’s the book I mentioned above. It came highly recommended to me by one of the faculty of the Jazz Studies department at the University of Minnesota.