Legendary Session Drummer Bernard Purdie Runs Down His Technique

Bernard Purdie is allegedly the most recorded drummer in history. His resume is basically a who’s-who of great 20th century music, as Purdie has laid down grooves on albums for James Brown, King Curtis, Nina Simone, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, BB King, Gil Scott-Heron, Steely Dan, among countless others. My personal favorite Purdie performance is on “Home At Last,” an epic cut from Steely Dan’s masterpiece Aja. Just check this cat’s groove, man.

Well known to jazz and funk cats (as well as anyone whose ever taken a few drum lessons), Purdie is perhaps best known for the “Purdie shuffle,” which incorporates triplets into a half-time backbeat. The good folks at Drumeo recently got Purdie into their studios to record some lessons on his signature shuffle and more, of which they are offering a lengthy hour-long version for free.

Purdie is a great drummer for metal and hardcore guys to dip their toes into. Even if you aren’t aiming to become the next great funk drummer, the Purdie shuffle is a central part of modern drumming language, and I think you’ll find it an interesting watch. Happy playing!

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Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.