"SNAZZ" - Snare Solo
"SNAZZ" - Snare Solo
A virtuosic level snare solo with backing track composed by Jesse Sieff. This wild and energetic piece is composed over Aaron Golberg’s “Oam’S Blues”.
Includes 2 free audio tracks (rehearsal + performance) via email following your download.
Video available on YouTube @sieffmusic.
VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNjWOZhPews
When you think about rudimental snare drum, you think "precise, strict, and metronomic." SNAZZ deviates from this in a way that challenges the snare drum soloist to be precise yet flexible, strict yet loose, and musically fused with the jazz trio while pushing and pulling along with the track.
I came across Oam’S Blues from Aaron Goldberg’s 2006 album “Worlds” as a default track in a file of sample music from the 2007 version of Windows Vista Media Player. This jarring and energetic jazz trio for drum set, piano, and bass immediately grabbed my attention. The virtuosic level of improvisation inspired me to listen repeatedly while improvising and interpreting the unique rhythmic phrases on snare drum.
The freeform nature of Oam’S Blues made it both appealing and challenging to compose a complimentary snare solo (and even more challenging to notate). I wanted to use snare drum vocabulary, but also expand our traditional notation in order to be flexible enough to stay with the existing music without constantly writing "accel" or "ritard." For me, the most intuitive way to do this was with color: green for an "accelerando" and red for a "ritardando."
In order to best learn this non-traditional solo, I suggest a non-traditional approach. I listened to this track so many times that I could sing along to each part in the trio, and I would recommend following the same process. This is not the piece to approach with a metronome and your solo part: you have to become a member of Goldberg's trio. In order to do so, listening and memorizing the jazz track should be your first priority.
I used fermatas throughout the piece in order to separate passages and sections as clearly as possible. Without a conductor or the body language from fellow jazz musicians, these markings require the soloist to actively listen for the next cue. I found this method to resonate more with the improvisational spirit of jazz, rather than strictly notating these pauses. This establishes the snare as a voice that both doubles the piano and embellishes the drum set. Throughout the piece, a few sections are reserved for true improvisation to allow the soloist to experiment as they choose. This affords the snare drummer a rare opportunity to infuse their own style into the piece, rather than follow the traditionally strict rules and parameters of rudimental drumming.
* In the provided audio file, please note that there is a cut (for time) during the drum set solo.
This wildly energetic piece gives rudimental snare drumming a new personality. Take a break from the metronome, listen to some jazz, play around, and have fun!
- Jesse Sieff