Tag Archives: Ernesto Simpson

Tricky 11 Note Phrase – with Video

Mastering odd number phrases can give your playing the kind of originality and unpredictability that will set you apart from the rest. Below is an 11 note phrase that’s definitely for the more advanced players out there. The phrase can be played as triplets (for slower tempos) or 8th notes (for faster tempos). It took me a number of practice sessions to get comfortable with these 11 note groupings and I found playing the left foot hi-hat on 2 & 4 helped me keep my place in the bar. The phrase begins with a 6 stroke roll, followed by a 5 note phrase of RLL KK. So:

Sticking - Full Score

Try playing the phrase continuously and remember to keep the left foot hi-hat on 2 & 4. Start very slowly, as an 11 note phrase will throw up lots of unusual accents. 4 bars of 8th note triplets consists of 48 notes. Our 11 note phrase will fit into these 4 bars 4 times (44), so we’ll need to add 4 extra notes on the end – RLLK. The whole thing will look like this:

4 bars - Full Score

Below are 5 different orchestrations of this sticking followed by the same phrases, but using a swung 8th note sub-division. Play 4 bars of time followed by exercise 1 then do the same for all 10 exercises. Good luck!

11 Note Phrase - Triplets & 8th Notes - Full Score 11 Note Phrase - Triplets & 8th Notes - Full Score2

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5 Note Triplet Groupings – with Video

Ernesto Simpson(Omar Sosa Trio)

A few months ago I was lucky enough to have a lesson with the great Ernesto Simpson. Ernesto has mastered the intricacies of odd number groupings and manages to insert them effortlessly into his playing so, rather than sounding like technical trickery, they become another facet to his melodicism. Not an easy task! In the short time we had together he showed me some simple 5 and 7 note stickings played as triplets. The exercise below is based around  a 5 note RL RLL sticking played over triplets. Play four bars of time, followed by exercise 1. Repeat for all 6 exercises. In the video below I play through the exercises, followed by an improvisation at 200bpm based around the RL RLL sticking. This one’s tricky so remember to start slow!

5 Note Triplet Groupings - Full Score

5 Note Triplet Groupings - Full Score2



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