Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 335 #379)

The Flat Tire!!!

Joe's back from a terrific European tour and he has another unique groove on his mind - the flat tire. This is a shuffle that gets its feel from a strong emphasis on the off beats. Listen to songs like Further On Up the Road, You Upset Me Baby, and Kidney Stew from Eddie Cleanhead Vinson to hear this groove. One thing that makes this different from, say, the anticipated feel of the John Lee Hooker sound which is riff-driven is that the flat tire relies on a combination of instruments in the band's rhythm section doing different things. The off beat accents you'll likely hear come from a piano, rhythm guitar or a drummer, while the bass player and kick drum keep the down beats solid. In some cases two instruments (often snare and rhythm instrument) work together, but it is certainly not every rhythm section instrument accenting.

To launch this unrehearsed with a band, they'll need to know the term flat tire, Texas swing or perhaps backwards shuffle. If you get blank stares with these terms and mentioning tunes like those above don't work either, you're going to have to solidly count or clap this rhythm to communicate it to them...and even then, you should be wary of their ability to hold it together!

Joe also observed that it is often a jazzy sounding groove, thanks in part to the swing feel the backbeat imparts, as well as the very likely walking bass line and the ninth chords the musicians tend to play. These all lead to there being a "jazzy" feel in the air when the flat tire kicks off!

For more info on the flat tire, check out this video Highway RickEy shared with us.

Class Notes

  • Joe announced the prizes for his end of year contest. Get your CD in by end of December (only 4 more Mondays!) that shows what you are capable of and you could win! Third Prize, one high performance Marine Band Deluxe; Second Prize, two high performance Crossover harps; First Prize, three high performance Crossover harps!
  • Welcome back, Joe!
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

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