Music in Motion Films

Riddim: Claves of African Origin

Riddim: Claves of African Origin

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Riddim: Claves of African Origin traces the roots of African rhythmic systems to the Americas. Learning these African-based claves is similar to jazz musicians learning chord changes, voicings, and scale patterns which enable them to improvise on songs. Claves are our ancient and modern scales. These claves open up rhythmic subdivisions, substitutions and a much wider vocabulary to draw upon than playing static beats.

Call them systems, bell patterns, or claves, be assured that there is much freedom to be gained from owning these rhythms. The coordination required to play these rhythms will challenge and benefit every aspect of your playing.

Review: This unconventional method book, by Medeski Martin & Wood drummer Billy Martin, is a serious four-way coordination workout based on a series of four-, six-, and eight-beat Afro-clave patterns and a few odd-note rhythms. Each clave is presented in the author's unique notational system, which uses X/s for played strokes and periods for rests. The book gets progressively more difficult as various bass drum figures and left-foot/left-hand accompanying patterns are added to the mix. On the included CD, billy demonstrates many of the examples to help you get an understanding for how hard these things can groove. --Michael Dawson, Modern Drummer Magazine

96 pages
Language: English
CD features 87 tracks of drumming
Edited and produced by Dan Thress

Billy Martin, aka illyB, is a remarkable drummer, visual artist, and label owner, who has successfully carved out his own musical path. As the organic beat-maker for Medeski, Martin & Wood, Martin has successfully blended world-music cultures into his own style. Influenced by musicians who move people, Martin's playing does just that. His roots-based approach digs deep into the African-fed cultures of Brazil and the Caribbean and serves them up with New York culture and attitude. Fueled by these traditions, Martin plays on these rhythms with the heart of an improvisor with influences ranging from avant-guard to hip-hop. As you might expect, the result is infectious. Under all of Martin's riddims, or rhythms, are traditions that owe as much to bebop innovator Max Roach as reggae pioneer Sly Dunbar. And, as you will hear, Martin has not taken any short-cuts in mastering these rhythms. The result of his commitment to discovering the richness of rhythmic cultures, while developing his own personal sound on the instrument, is a very captivating sound on the drums.


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