In the pocket...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BrianT, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I've read that one drummer will praise another by saying they can play "in the pocket" or something like that.

    I'm not quite sure what "pocket" is. I don't think it's the same as just playing in time - you expect drummers to be able to do that. So would some knowledgable drummer explain what "pocket" is, and also - do non-drummers, i.e. brass players need "pocket", and if they do, how do they get it?
  2. jamieow

    jamieow Member

    its about being in the groove.
    It's a feel thing, you might be able to play in time and read the notes but it's all about the feel and actually playing the music.
  3. zak

    zak Member

    Otherwise known as musicianship ;)
  4. Di

    Di Active Member

    My drummer knows nothing about that. Does that mean he's not playing in the pocket? :frown:
  5. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Until I find out properly what pocket is, I can't answer that. But if your kit drummer is the one I heard playing with Polysteel in the "By Request" concert at The Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham, then I can say it was most impressive - fiery technique and very musical too. Don't know about pocket though...
  6. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Only place I've heard "in the pocket" is in American football, where the quarterback is in the "pocket" formed by the blocking players in front of him.

    Think same may apply to a kicker in rugby (like Jonny Wilkinson when he made the kick to win the World Cup).

    Not sure how this relates to percussion though!
  7. Di

    Di Active Member

    Hehe, no, that wasn't my lad, that was Weenie, drummer extraordinaire. :)

    Our Adam's a bit of a jack of all trades, though. Currently he's kit man for Wigston Band, JCC Orchestra, JCC Jazz Band, and his favourite "The Essentials" rock band.
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    This thread has got me curious about the phrase ... I think it relates somehow to pool playing. "In the pocket" could be used to mean that objectives were met for the goal required, i.e., the communication and anticipation between band members was so good that everything slotted into place (just like balls being potted into pool table pockets). Very similar to the earlier post of being "in the groove". Maybe?
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I've found something in a jazz term glossary site that states "Pocket: in the pocket means perfectly in time, especially bass playing that is 'in the center' of the beat (rather than slightly leading or dragging the beat)."
  10. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    Wonder how many tMPers who conduct will be deftly dropping the phrase into their rehearsals next week after this thread!
  11. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    >>especially bass playing that is 'in the center' of the beat (rather than
    >>slightly leading or dragging the beat).

    As a Bass player I resent that - the Bass line IS the beat - it's not or fault if the conductor rushes or can't keep up.......
  12. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    Think Brassneck was meaning string bass. As a bass player himself he will be more than aware of the fact that we are ALWAYS right - unless this bass player is conducting, of course, in which case I'M ALWAYS RIGHT!
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I'm innocent ;) I quoted from a website (with a link to it as well). It generally describes the bass line within the rhythm section in a jazz band. Another term like "in the pocket" is "in the slot".
  14. weenie

    weenie Member

    Found this on a website.

    The phrase "in the pocket" is used to describe something or someone playing in such a way that the groove is very solid and with a great feel. When a drummer keeps a good metronomic pulse, often referred to as keeping time, and makes the groove feel really good, and maintains this feel for an extended period of time, never wavering, this is often referred to as a deep pocket.

    Historically speaking, the term "pocket" originated in the middle of the last century with the occurrence of the backbeat, and implied that the backbeat, the Snare Drum striking the beats 2 and 4, is slightly delayed creating a "laid back" or "relaxed feel".

    Nice phrase that!!
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Pity it never explained where the term came from. Last century still suggests billiards, snooker or pool! Alternatively, with the development of pockets in clotheswear to conceal (and keep safe) items could be another!
  16. weenie

    weenie Member

    Well I remember Mr. Broadbent years ago saying that every player had to sit in each others pockets, so it could mean that the drum kit and basses for example are 'In the Pocket' when they are totally in unison with each know when you are in the can just feel it!!
  17. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I understand what it means, but why it was given that expression is still something that eludes me on previous investigations. It's an analogy of something.
  18. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I've found another description of the analogy that still doesn't give much away of it's origin ...

    A guy on a jazz forum tries to describe it this way ...
  19. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Right, we're getting somewhere here. I'm still a bit confused, though.

    Surely if beats 2 and 4 are slightly delayed the playing isn't metronomic any more? Or does the hat stay metronomic and the kick and snare move around relative to it? (Imagine having that level of coordination!)

    It sounds like decent drummers can switch from metronomic to "laid-back" playing, so how do they do that? What sort of exercises would a drummer do to be able to consciously make this switch? And what would non-percussionists do? Do brass players need this level of rhythmic awareness? (Lots of questions!)
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I don't think anyone has answered this with any precision. It is to do with style, feel and communication. The rhythm section has to be tight to sustain the melodic material but allowed to swing or groove to create that style. Some beats are anticipated or played slightly late but not restricted to the back ones.