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Great Drum Grooves 4 - Bernard Purdie Half Time Shuffle

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Published on Feb 27, 2011

How many grooves have such a specific name attached to them? Though my little fills in here aren't authentic, this main groove can be found in Steely Dan's "Home at Last" and "Babylon Sisters."

What is especially great about the original groove is what Bernard does when on the ride cymbal, during the fade-out. The sticking becomes almost Swiss Triplet-like, and it makes the whole thing chug along towards the end so irresistibly. His version of the groove even when on the hi-hat also just sits differently than other half-time shuffles, mostly because he doesn't preferentially accent the hi-hat quarter notes the way you hear in the Porcaro and Bonham versions. Bernard's shuffle is different in many more ways than just the tempo and bass drum pattern.....

Like greatness in other realms, it is not so hard to get this groove 90% correct. (Thousands of golfers have 90 percent of the skill set of Tiger Woods, after all.) To get the final 10% with this drum groove, I think the drummer needs to do something that is VERY difficult to do in the midst of such intensity, and that is... relax. Yep, just relax. As you juggle Purdie's rhythmic, musical fire, simply relax. (Uh-huh, and anyone with pointers on how to actually accomplish that, I'm all ears.)

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