When I was in high school, I listened to a lot of Tower of Power, striving to make sense of David Garibaldi’s brilliantly understated playing, and then I plugged some James Brown into the mix. I’ve loved the inherent tension and release you get with odd meter funk, and I have some simple suggestion for how to explore this genre.

First, an observation: we spend a lot of time working in the 4/4 world, but not so much in the 3/4 world. I practice basic funk beats in 3/4 to explore their contours, their sound shape, the discoverer where the cool tension and release can be found. Doing so makes playing in 5 or 7 a lot easier, because the 3 portion is just as strong as the 2 portion.

By this I mean the basic notion of playing 2 + 3, 3 + 2, and so on, with combinations in 7 as well.

One way to explore funk in 3 first is to play a very simple beat and then decide where to put ONE accent. Just ONE. Do this, and then shift it around like David Garibaldi explains and explores in his books. Next, add just TWO beats, and use the first as a set-up to the second. It’s a very simple technique, and that’s what makes odd meter funk work the best: keeping it simple.

There’s nothing spectacular or revolutionary about this approach, but if you give funk in 3/4 about 20 minutes a day, I think you’ll find that adding on a funk measure in 2/4 will yield some very interesting results.

On a separate note, for those of you who’ve been following this blog, the Ludwig Green Machine is almost in reach. I’m going to be posting videos of some odd meter funk examples playing this kit, and I’m really looking forward to making some seriously odd and loud noise!