I ventured into the Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez’ clinic during the PASIC 2010 and was, of course, blown away by his drumming. I was especially mesmerized by how he moved seamlessly between a duple and triplet feel. Ever since then — when I’m practicing/improvising in the mode of Billy Ward (explained in his great instructional DVD Big Time) — I like to dabble with this type of feel change in a number of styles. It was during one of these moments, that I began playing a typical samba foot pattern within a 12/8 or eighth-note triplet context. I jotted down a few of the resulting experiments and the following lesson was born.

Assuming you have experience playing sambas, foot ostinato A will seem very familiar and comfortable. The spacing between the notes is the only difference. All 29 exercises included in this lesson are written with Ostinato A as its foundation, but Ostinatos B–D are included for increased challenge and interest.

Rolling Triplet Samba Ostinatos A-D

Exercises 1–8 get you started with the involved coordination. Start slowly and gradually increase the tempo. Make sure that notes are hitting at the same time (when appropriate), avoiding unwanted flamming.

Rolling Triplet Samba Exercises 1-8