In Regards to “Pocket” and “Groove”

It’s funny how music reflects life in so many ways. The concept of “pocket” and “groove” – It is impossible to know every pocket in the world. You can only have a view that is distorted by the lens of the particular culture you are trapped in. When you are a serious researcher you will see that every culture has its own versions of “pocket” and if you play your home pocket in someone else’s culture…guess what…You’re fired. haha. The concept of pocket and groove cannot be taught in absolute terms. If you do…you are exposing your lack of knowledge, bias, and limited capacity for understanding music. It is the DRUMMER….more than any other instrument that has the burden of field research when it comes to genres because in cultures where groove is king….If you aint happening…The music won’t be either. Rhythm is the thread that all of humanity has in common. Don’t sell it short by thinking you are an expert. Because the only time you are a master…is when you die! (That last sentence from Bruce Lee)

In order to gain knowledge about pocket you MUST become a semi ethnomusicologist or field researcher. It’s not enough to read a couple of books and play a few gigs and think you have it. Ohhh no. The world is huge. And drumming dwarfs us all. Tony Williams once said “If you think you are more important then the drums you got another thing coming” ( I think those where the exact words) In essence….that to me means no one can be king when it comes to this. Why? Because we don’t live long enough to understand it all….play it all…and live it all. The one thing you should get used to on a daily basis as a drummer is eating “humble pie” – So next time someone tries to tell you about “pocket” please ask….Which pocket are you referring to? My front pocket? Side pocket, back pocket? Pants pocket, Jacket pocket? Shirt pocket, t-shirt pocket? There is no expert in pocket. We can only absorb what we can in one lifetime. You get the picture. Final verdict…It’s always….Time to study!

Play on!


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