August 3, 2021


Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chancler

Leon ChanclerNdugu is unquestionalby a drummer’s drummer, unaffected by fads or trends, Ndugu has a unique voice: soulful and intelligent and funky as hell. His remarkable career which is still going strong at the top of the industry includes sessions and performances with some of the greatest artists of all time: Miles Davis, Weather Report, Michael Jackson, George Duke, Frank Sinatra, Freddie Hubbard, Patrice Rushen, Flora Purim, to name but a few. Click here for further details.

Stephan Fidock:

“I fell in love with Ndugu’s drumming in 1975 when I came across George Duke’s incredible album: “I love the blues, she heard my cry.” Whilst other drummers sought to outpace each other and clutter the music with bombast and chops, Ndugu stayed true to his voice and artistic integrity: refined and soulful. His highly distinctive tuning and approach to complex arrangements showed beyond a doubt that Ndugu was a true maestro, a legend of drumming.

On the day we filmed this performance, I was overcome not only by the generosity and good grace expressed by this legendary artist but also by the formidable professionalism he delivered ‘off the cuff’ when I filmed the entire performance without any direction or prompting from me.

Thank you so much Ndugu for a once in a lifetime experience that morning in June 2011 in LA.”

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Shakir Ertek

These exercises are from his wonderful book ‘Turkish Rhythms’ which is thoroughly recommended for anyone with an interest in ‘odd’ timing.

Please note the Rhythm Wheels. A great place to start.

Here we see the concept of rhythm represented as clocks. Time or beats turning as circles within circles rather than played out in straight lines. With these images in mind, the idea of having to signpost ‘1’ becomes less of a concern.

Shakir clock diagram“UNIVERSAL RHYTHM“ is a rhythmic structure based on a 3+3+2 form. It is basically an
8-beat-bar form divided into two 3-beat and one 2-beat subsections. This form is found in many music cultures around the world, thus the name “Universal Rhythm.” I present and compare rhythmical examples of the 3+3+2 form stemming from the middle East, Africa, South America and India. In this way, the similarities and differences of various characteristics, (e.g. the accenting of the rhythms) will become more distinct.

The point here is not to use the Drumset to imitate the Darbuka, the Framedrums, the Indian tabla, the South American timbales or the African talking drum, but to use the distinctive pulse feel, sounds and accents of Drumset in a creative manner.

Universal Beat Structure

The Oriental Influence

The Afro-Cuban Influence

The Indian Influence


This is an old rhythm from Turkey and another Oriental countrys. Mostly played in Mystic music.

Basic Rhythm 1

Drumset Applications



Basic Rhythm 2

Drumset Applications



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Harvey Sorgen

Ever since the “bebop” era changed the way drummers thought about playing time and its infinite colors, there has been a strong movement towards this notion of developing independence on the drum set. By this I mean being able to execute four different parts with all four limbs. Moreover it also has come to mean having control over your hands and feet in a way that allows you to play and interpret what you are hearing in the music.

Over the past 20 years or so, there is a new name or subset for this and it is known as “linear” playing. Linear playing basically means that all four limbs are playing four distinct parts. While this approach to playing the instrument can yield highly intricate rhythms, it is a very few to my ear and heart who can make truly inspired MUSIC this way. Sound being the key to all. Individual sound.

What’s most important in the world of creativity is to learn and develop our own individual sound on the instrument. To me this path integrates the use of DEPENDENCE (with a loving nod to master Rakalam Bob Moses) in order to produce the SOUND that makes all of us have a unique voice.

Isn’t it true that when you are playing, you rarely play a crash cymbal without playing your bass drum at the same time? This is a sound. Give it a try. Play a groove and then play your crash cymbal on a turnaround without playing the bass drum. Sounds kind of weak, doesn’t it????

The exercises below are based on a system where not only are we developing independence, but we are also dealing with the sound and strength of using the drum set as a whole.