Rhythm Section Techniques and Solutions

Addressing and fine-tuning the rhythm section can be daunting for wind-playing directors.  Professor MacDonald will offer insights and solutions which will take your student rhythm section to the next level.

MacDonald typically provides the following list as a menu, allowing the audience (usually music educators) to select the topics on which he will expound.

  1. rhythm section set-up configurations
  2. interpreting rhythm section notation, while not reading the page too literally
  3. conceptualizing a typical jazz guitar sound and their role within the ensemble
  4. how guitarists & pianists can play together without clashing rhythmically and harmonically
  5. piano accompanying in a jazz context
  6. drums “setting up” ensemble passages
  7. acquainting students with historically & currently prominent players on their own instrument.
  8. exposing students to classic jazz recordings
  9. introducing students to famous rhythm section combinations and how they differ from one another
  10. managing multiple guitarists, 2 pianists, 2 drummers (auxiliary percussion)
  11. effective ride cymbal patterns
  12. bass line construction and execution

List of important rhythm section players:


Art Tatum, Nat Cole, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Barry Harris, Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, Tommy Flanagan, Sonny Clark, Red Garland, Ahmad Jamal, Wynton Kelly, Horace Silver, Lennie Tristano, Bill Evans, Phineas Newborn, George Shearing, John Hicks, Harold Mabern, Kenny Drew, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Joe Zawinul, Mulgrew Miller, Richie Beirach, Fred Hersch, Eddie Palmieri, Paul Bley, Kenny Kirkland.


Charlie Christian, Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, Grant Green, Freddie Green, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, Tal Farlow, Herb Ellis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, Jimmy Raney, Joe Pass, John Scofield, Mike Stern, Wayne Krantz, Bill Frisell, Ben Monder, Robin Eubanks, John Abercrombie, Larry Corryell, Pat Metheny, Ed Bickert, Mick Goodrick, Ralph Towner


Oscar Pettiford, Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Dave Holland, Butch Warren, Sam Jones, Buster Williams, Richard Davis, Jimmy Garrison, Steve Davis, Reggie Workman, Wilbur Ware, Doug Watkins, Sam Jones, Charles Mingus, Bob Cranshaw, Scott LaFaro, Eddie Gomez, Marc Johnson, Rufus Reid, Charles Fambrough, Niels-Henning Ortsed-Pederson, Charlie Haden, Ray Drummond, Christian McBride


Papa Jo Jones, Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Arthur Taylor, “Philly” Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Cobb, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, Billy Higgins, Danny Richmond, Al Foster, Mel Lewis, Ralph Peterson, Jon Christensen, Victor Lewis, Louis Hayes, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Chambers, Carl Allen, Vernell Fournier, Adam Nussbaum, Steve Gadd, Jeff Watts, Brian Blade, Rudy Royston


PowerPoint Presentation: Rhythm Section Solutions

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