Drummer Talk

DTU Library – “The Headhunter”

From the DTU Library, today we offer up an original drumset solo by Dave Kropf, “The Headhunter.”

This is a laid-back solo inspired by the tune, “Butterfly” by Herbie Hancock from his album Thrust.  It’s important to keep the groove smooth and light.


“The Headhunter” by Dave Kropf

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Chart Breakdown

Letter A begins with an opening statement of the primary motive.  Keep the groove laid back and easy.  Take your time, and be sure to keep it mf.  The first ending builds to a f but then eases up into the repeat.  Let that tom run decrescendo set up the beginning at A a second time.

Be sure to note the switch from cross stick to snare in letter B.  Things get a lot more interesting with the opening and closing HH here.  Accents are vital to ensuring this part doesn’t sound too monotonous.  A nice strong choked cymbal closes out the section (I’d recommend a splash).

Letter C continues on the snare drum, but notice how the kick drum begins to get more interesting.  This section explores a few solo ideas outside of the groove and it’s vital to keep it light and flowing.  Don’t overplay those licks leading into letter D.

At letter D, we have a return to the cross stick feel, but the groove is extremely exposed with lots of space!  Dynamics and articulations make this section breathe as interest builds to the finale section of E.  In letter E, keep the intensity building into the ffff section before the energy recedes setting up the Da Capo al Fine.

Wrap up the solo by recapitulating letters A (make sure to take the 3rd ending!) and B then take it home in letter C.

Check out “Butterfly” for a reference on the feel of the groove that inspired this solo.

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