Jeff is the first of a few weeks of lessons on things I wouldn't have been able to do a year ago. People have been asking for a breakdown of the Knives Out beat from the Brad Mehldau Trio for ages, but I wasn't good enough to make it happen.
Luckily the collective pressure pushed me to get my act together, and in the process I figured out a few shortcuts to playing half-swing-half-breakbeat stuff as Jeff does on that tune.
First things first - the transcription...big shout outs to Tyler in Chi-town, who's been transcribing these last few, often at the last-minute, and nailing them. Whoop whoooooop!
Like most of the drummers I cover, especially those with careers as long as Jeff's, Jeff has created an idiom leagues too deep and too broad for me to abstract with a single lesson - nay - with hours of lessons. It's hard to know where to start - I first heard Jeff with Chick Corea, then not longafter on Kurt Rosenwinkel's break-through records The Enemies of Energy and The Next Step. I saw him play with Mark Turner at the Vanguard a number of times, in groups alternately helmed by Kurt and by Mark himself. When Jeff joined Mehldau's trio in 2006, it was another jolt of electricity for college-aged drum nerds, and Knives Out seemed the most appropriate place to start because it was Track One on Mehldau's first record with Jeff in the drum chair. The Mission Statement.
Do you have a favorite Jeff record, tune, or solo? Leave a comment below!