(ka)-chun-ka-chun-ka-chun-ka-chun-ka-… (Americans: say this with a looong letter “u”, like in “choon”)
If you listen to modern music, you won’t hear much of that rhythm anymore, and maybe that’s why most people now have a horrible rhythmic feeling. They count the ones and the threes, and all they can do is stomp and clap their hands in absolutely the wrong moments. Don’t. Just don’t be that guy (or girl) who claps on the 1s and 3s. There’s so much more.
And hey, before you can even start dreaming of doing the bop like Bird or Diz or Monk, or of being cool like Miles, you have to go way back in history, and re-learn how to swing. That’s how you’ll become one of the cool cats, and that’s promised.
Just saw a short and sweet intro into this from Aimee Nolte. Look, listen, and feel:
Now the first piece she mentions – “April in Paris” from the Count Basie Orchestra – is a nice piece – if you’re able to even hear those small little accents on 2 and 4, and hear that “ka-chun-ka-chun” from the rhythm section (guitar, bass, drums) – which you probably don’t. I’ll show you anyway, just for reference and because Aimee mentioned it:
Nice. But much stronger than that is the one from Nina Simone which Aimee mentioned, and it’s called “My baby just cares for me”. Now these are the really cool cats, and maybe you’ll hear (and feel) it in that one:
But the one where you should really get it is the “C Jam Blues” from the Oscar Peterson Trio – those 2s and 4s are so strong, and after these 9 minutes you should recognize that your right foot hurts from just lifting on those last 8th triplets before the following (downbeat) quarter notes – and remember and listen what you can do with a main melody of just two notes!
Yeah. Aimee’s right. Train that for 10 minutes each day. Listen to many more swing titles, saying “(ka)-chun-ka-chun-ka-chun-ka-chun-” – and after a while, you might feel the swing.
Then take your instrument, whatever it might be, and start using that rhythm. Or if you don’t have an instrument (yet), play it with your spoon on your cup of coffee, whatever. These guys could do it. They had that rhythm in their blood.
It’s a totally different experience especially for the young ones which maybe never heard something like that.