This super swinging solo is from the 1957 Clark Terry record “Duke With A Difference.”
The first two A sections mostly involve call and response comping phrases played against Sam's super swing ride cymbal phrase.
To me, the most important aspect of this solo is the way Sam phrases his ride cymbal.
It looks like this.
Capturing the feel of this solo is all about how you play your ride cymbal.
A few years ago I was taking a lesson with Luther Gray and in the lesson he accurately reproduced the sound and phrasing of many well known jazz drummers. Each of the drummers he demonstrated has a individual take on this universal rhythm.
This was a revelation to me because for years I was practicing classic drum methods, playing along to recordings, and once I got to a certain level I was basically treading water and not really improving. Although I could play lots of technical vocabulary against the ride cymbal pattern, that it really didn't matter because my ride cymbal pattern itself wasn't that happening. Seeing Luther demonstrate the ride cymbal sounds of Max , Jimmy Cobb, Elvin, Roy, Tony, Billy Higgins and it was clear to me that he was tapped into something much deeper then an you can you can find in a book.
Is my ride cymbal beat super happening 3 years after my lesson with Luther? Not really, but I'm working on it and at least I'm moving in the right direction, and shedding this solo definite helped.
NY Times on Sam Woodyard:
Duke Ellington once termed Mr. Woodyard his best drummer since Mr. Bellson. ''When he plays,'' said Ellington, ''he lives a love affair with his drums.''