Drum Groove: “Requests” — Makaya McCraven

Posted on January 10, 2021

 Requests Drum Groove Summary

In the weeks before the 2020 election, I kept seeing these rather hip and sleek ads for The New York Times. You may know what I’m talking about, have a watch for yourself:

It certainly gets your attention, especially with that music. I wound up tracking the tune down; it’s a song called “Requests”, by jazz drummer Makaya McCraven. I haven’t taken much of a look at McCraven’s playing, but he’s definitely one of the bigger names in jazz at the moment. The track is off an album called In The Moment, which is full of these short numbers, much of them done live and ad-libbed with lots of looping — they’re kind of like little jam vignettes.

I must say that I’m very impressed with The New York Times on this one. Maybe they thought this would make up for their inexplicable endorsement of Elizabeth Warren and Amy goddamn Klobuchar for the 2020 Democratic nominee. Even after reading the article, I still can’t imagine what they were thinking. Whatever, I guess there are more important things to worry about right now...

Anyway, McCraven plays a very slinky groove during the intro. It sounds much more difficult than it actually is; everything is basically built around singles and puh–duh–duhs. All he needed to do was add in some hi–hat pedal, then drummers all over the internet would be drooling over his gospelchops™.

I very much like the pattern the way it is. It grooves hard, but it’s also slightly disorienting. The rest of the tune is basically a short jam. It eventually gets a little too bebop-y for my tastes, but that first groove is still killing.

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