Click the thumbnail groove for a full sized version, along audio and video lessons from Tommy Igoe!
Mastering the elusive "swing eighth note" is essential for playing jazz. To get started, simply phrase all your eighth notes like triplets.
For example, the ride cymbal pattern is written:
but is played:
The first 5 grooves are good examples of a steady swing beat with various snare drum comping. Don't forget your dynamics: the ride cymbal is strong, the hi-hat is tight and snappy, the bass drum is very soft (called "feathering") and your snare drum "comping" rhythms are clear, but not as loud as your cymbal pattern.
Listen to great jazz drummers to hear their interpretation of swing. As always, listening is your best teacher.