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Drum Kit Melodies with Pete James Johnson

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Jazz drummer Pete James Johnson has recently been getting into sampling his dad’s old records to make beats for his DJ project Elephane. In this episode of Composer Quest, Pete shares his beat sampling advice, his experiences composing for jazz trio, and his new method of thinking in terms of “melodies” when he plays a drum solo.

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Right click to download Ep. 15, or open in iTunes.


PeteJamesJohnson.comElephane on BandcampParallels on Bandcamp@PJohnsonMusic

Episode Soundtrack

  • 0:01 – “Street Life of the Middle Class” – Elephane (Instrumentals Vol 1., 2012)
  • 0:54 – “River Song” – Pete James Johnson (Parallels, 2012)
  • 1:28 – “Mr. Anonymous” – Elephane (Instrumentals Vol 1., 2012)
  • 4:11 – “Beyond Your Means” – Pete James Johnson (Parallels, 2012)
  • 11:03 – “Midnight Theory” – Pete James Johnson (Parallels, 2012)
  • 11:37 – “Eyes on the Road, Please” – Pete James Johnson (Parallels, 2012)
  • 12:54 – “Roses” – Elephane (Instrumentals Vol 1., 2012)
  • 15:38 – “Rain Clouds” – Elephane (Instrumentals Vol 1., 2012)
  • 17:52 – “Grape Escape” – Elephane (Instrumentals Vol 1., 2012)
  • 20:14 – “Alright/Nardis” – Nexus Ensemble (Live, 2013)
  • 21:08 – “Girl from the West” – Pete James Johnson (Parallels, 2012)
  • 24:57 – “Judas (Lady Gaga Cover)” – Pete James Johnson (Parallels, 2012)
  • 26:24 – “Moonlight in Vermont” – Pete James Johnson (Parallels, 2012)
  • 26:47 – “Roses (feat. Matt Ecklund)” – Elephane (Unreleased, 2013)

Suggested Listening

  • Max Roach – “Mop Mop a.k.a. Blues for Big Sid” (Composing tunes on drums alone)
  • Ari Hoenig – “I Mean You” (Drumming a pitched melody)
  • Ari Hoenig – “Anthropology” (Drumming the melody of a Charlie Parker tune that even horn players have trouble playing)
  • J Dilla (“imperfect” rhythms to humanize the loops)
  • The Notorious B.I.G. – “Big Poppa” (Isley Brothers sample)

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