In the Pocket: 12 Short Transcriptions from Legendary Drummers

Drumming is an art form that requires dedication, skill, and passion. For professional drummers, the path to excellence is a never-ending journey that involves constant learning and refinement. In this collection of 12 short drum transcriptions, I present a selection of timeless drum breaks, fills, solos, and grooves. From jazz to fusion to rock and metal, each transcription offers a unique challenge that will test even the most seasoned drummer.

Swipe left and right to move from one transcription to another.

  • Art Blakey was one of the first jazz drummers to incorporate Afro-Cuban grooves and techniques into his explosive and unique drumming style. The drum lick on “Are You Real” is an example of melodic drumming, with a melody played between the tom and the snare drum cross stick, keeping a solid drive on the ride cymbal.
  • Taylor Hawkins’ iconic drum solo on the outro of “Best of You” showcases his ability to play rock music with energy and mastership.
  •  Steve Gadd’s legendary drum breaks on “Aja” is a masterclass in musicality and technical proficiency. “Lenore” by Chick Corea is one of Gadd’s most iconic and creative drum recordings, playing a linear funk-samba groove in the A section. To know more, take a look at my article about it.
  • Larnell Lewis’ grooves on “Lingus” demonstrate his ability to play with complexity and finesse, moving smoothly from 5/4 to 4/4.
  • Neil Peart’s memorable drum fills on “La Villa Strangiato” and “YYZ” showcase his incredible technical ability and his penchant for pushing the boundaries of drumming.
  • On “Wild About You” by Robben Ford, Vinnie Colaiuta’s creative and inventive drum fill highlights his unique blend of jazz and rock influences.
  • Gavin Harrison’s massive drum fill on “Fear of a Blank Planet” demonstrates his innovative approach to drumming and mastery of rudiments.
  • Max Roach was one of the drummers who contributed the most to forging the modern drumming style. The classic intro melodic phrase from the drum composition “For Big Sid” (Drums Unlimited, 1966) showcases his signature style.
  • With a career that spanned over six decades, Jimmy Cobb’s steady swing and his comping ideas continue to inspire jazz enthusiasts worldwide. Miles Davis’ iconic album Kind of Blue (1959), with Jimmy Cobb on drums, is a must for every drummer.
  • “Dead Memories” by Slipknot features some of the most iconic drum fills played by Joey Jordison. The sheer power and speed of his playing are unmatched. The drum fill played at the end of the interlude section masterfully drives the entire band to the chorus section.

Whether you’re looking to expand your vocabulary or sharpen your skills, this collection of drum transcriptions is an invaluable resource for any professional drummer looking to take their playing to the next level. So grab your sticks, and get ready to take your drumming to new heights!

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