The Pulse of Jazz

A complete method for building a jazz timekeeping vocabulary

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With The Pulse of Jazz, drummer/educator Nic Marcy provides a complete method for building a jazz timekeeping vocabulary. Taking a different approach from (and building on) other classic jazz methods, the book provides exercises based around common timekeeping approaches from simple to very advanced (called “time lines”) and provides exercises to develop independence and comping facility with each approach. In this way, the text proceeds from the earliest forms of jazz timekeeping—such as the shuffle, the quarter-note approach, and the New Orleans “Second Line” concept—all the way up through the most modern and cutting-edge techniques employed by greats such as Antonio Sanchez and Ari Hoenig. Topics covered include:

  • Jazz shuffle ideas
  • Basic comping patterns
  • Basic to very advanced timekeeping concepts
  • Elvin Jones and Tony Williams ideas
  • Displacement
  • Polyrhythmic comping (two over three, three over four, and more)
  • Comping in 3/4
  • Three- and four-way interdependence exercises
  • Metric modulation and implied modulation
  • “Retrograde” comping
  • and much more…


In the pages of The Pulse of Jazz, you’ll find fresh and exciting material that will stimulate your imagination and open up new avenues for practice in this classic idiom.


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