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Mitch Mitchell Funk

This is our second lesson, a tribute to Mitch Mitchell, which applies to his unique fusion of jazz and rock drumming in the song Fire.

On Wednesday November 12, 2008, drummer Mitch Mitchell, 61, died of natural causes. Born in England in 1947, John "Mitch" Mitchell who pioneered a fusion style of drumming known as “Psychedelic” or “Acid Rock” was the iconic drummer who provided the explosive heartbeat of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

I would venture to say that the adaptation of Mitchell’s drumming would influence the drummers of “Fusion” and “Funk”. The beat passage of this lesson used in "Fire", the song written and originally recorded by Jimi Hendrix and released in 1967, can also be seen being used by James Brown drummer John “Jabo” Starks in the song “Make it Funky” which was recorded in July of 1971. Focus on the first measure in this phase (see below); although Jabo uses the bass drum to voice the “and” of beat 1 instead of the snare drum, and omits the bass drum on the “and” of beat four, the beats are so very similar that one can’t help but think that Mitchell had set a base foundation that others would “season” to their own taste. Other than the tempo the only major difference between these two beats is Jabo’s use of the open/closed high hat.

I'll be posting a lesson on Funk drumming where we'll explore a little more of Mitchell's influence in a few weeks but in the meantime please have a listen to "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix and "Make it Funky" by James Brown.



Thanks and have FUN!

 
 
 

 

 
 

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