Howdy, thanks for stopping by again to see what’s cookin’ behind my kit. I’m thoroughly enjoying making the on-the-spot Periscope videos and then presenting them here with some further explanation, and I hope what I’m sharing is helpful.


I love playing sambas in 5, and I’ll tell you a little about how to make them flow. I’ll also share some simple thoughts on improvisation and fills in a 5 samba.


A measure of 5/4 can be subdivided 2 + 3, or 3 + 2, meaning where you place the emphasis on the pulse. There are actually TWO pulses within the measure that shape it and create a contour. ONE two ONE two three is the first example. ONE two three, ONE two is the second. The first flows very well and breathes, I mean it really does feel like a lung.


In the video, I explore this idea and show how to make the measures breathe.


The other component has to do with fills mostly, and some improv. With either, you want to create mini-compositions, nice musical statements. So here’s a tip I follow from something I read about Miles Davis. He said he likes to NOT complete a phrase, by leaving things out.


I love doing this. I’ll hear a longer phrase in my head but only play bits of it, kind of fragment it here and there. It lets the audience fill in the spaces. Flurry is fun, but minimal bits and pieces help decorate what you’re doing as well as what your fellow musicians are doing.


There’s other cool performance tips for slow and fast sambas that I think you’ll find conceptually useful.


Anyway, give it a look, lemme know what you think.




– David