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Cymbal Workshop The 8th note, Pat Metheny style "Flow"

by Danny Gottlieb

Lesson Category: Drumset

One of the rhythms that I discuss often in workshops, is the straight eighth note, "broken cymbal flow" that I play in many contexts, most notably (no pun intended) years ago with Pat Metheny. It really comes from combining a typical bossa nova beat, with a looser jazz changing rhythm approach. The big influences for me with this style are Bob Moses (the master), on his own recordings and those with Gary Burton. (He had, and still has a broken eighth note flow that really started this "ECM" style of playing, along with Norwigian drummer Jon Christianson), and Airto Moreira on his recordings with Chick Corea and the original "Return to Forever Band."

When you play a typical Bossa Nova beat, the constant straight eighth note rhythm can really force the drummer and the soloist to be locked in. It certainly works in many contexts, but for flowing jazz it takes up a lot of rhythmic space and it's not that loose. And if you break up the 8th note pattern TOO much, let's say triplet style like Elvin Jones, then it's too loose. My concept, with input from Metheny, was to find a looser approach, and after hearing Bob Moses and Airto, it all seemed to come together. It's a jazz style proken pattern, but in straight eighths, many times with the bass drum doubling the accents with the right hand, as opposed to playing the typical Brazilian Bossa boom, ba boom over and over again on the bass drum.

A typical cymbal pattern variation would be: 4-4, first measure: One \, two and three, four and (straight eight note ride) one the cymbal, One, and 3, and on the bass drum; Measure two: cymbal: One two and, (3)and 4, bass drum playing the and of two and the 4. Snare can accent any of the beats, possibly along with the cymbal accents.

 You can hear me playing this type of beat on any of the 6 Metheny records I play on, any of the 9 elements recordings, and of the three solo recordings, and recent releases, Mark Egan "As We Speak", Wavetone records (, or the new three guitars release on Mel Bay records ( Good luck, and enjoy the music! Danny can be reached at

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