Following on the series of classic grooves (check out previous posts for SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT, LATE IN THE EVENING, CHAMELEON, FIFTY WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER , we are today looking at a groove my session drumming legend Jonh J.R. Robinson, a prolific recording drummer, proven with a glance at his extensive C.V. The main aspect that draws me to J.R.’s drumming is the flawless execution of his grooves as heard on tracks from Michael Jackson’s ‘Off the wall’ album as well as the track Ain’t Nobody from Rufus and Chaka Khan’s 1983 album ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’.
Here we are looking at the Ain’t nobody drum beat. A commercially successful track and one with a very strong vocal hook, it doesn’t immediately grab the listener as a great drumming track. But that is part of the skill that J.R. possesses in my view. The ability to play complex parts that sit perfectly in the track and support the song rather than detract from it. There is a reason that J.R. is called upon by so many top artists!
And this example is one of those tracks that sounds innocent enough to the casual listener, but upon closer inspection, is actually a cleverly constructed drum part and by no means the easiest to execute.