BY LIBOR HADRAVA | FROM THE WINTER 2018 ISSUE OF DRUM!
Adam Deitch’s signature approach to the feel and groove of each track is immediately noticeable on Witches Stew, Lettuce’s 2017 Miles Davis tribute album. He understands the role of his left hand in driving the groove, and demonstrates this with a wide range of accents, rimshots, ghost notes, one-handed buzzes, dead strokes, and dynamics. Despite an abundance of trippy effects coloring each track, Deitch makes sure the music feels as human as possible.
‘Miles Runs The Voodoo Down’
After a colorful intro, Deitch establishes the main feel and groove on “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” in the first three beats. The groove is so strong, in fact, that it comes through even when he drifts away with his always-busy left hand. Here he creates tension and dynamics with snare buzzes going over the bar lines from measures three to four, and four to five.
The dynamics on “Sivad” flow both ways through half-open hi-hats with accents, barks, left-foot chicks, and tightly closed staccato stick work. Notice the one-handed sixteenth-note buzzes in measure three substituting for previous ghost notes. One minute into this head-bobbing groove, Deitch tastefully throws in a syncopated, tension-building, one-bar pattern that releases in the following measure, ending with a 7-stroke roll leading back to the groove.
On “Jean-Pierre,” Deitch proves that he can easily deliver energetic pulse and groove at any speed. The song’s slower tempo allows the sounds to breathe; when necessary, Deitch fills in the spaces with his left-hand magic. The consistent left-foot hi-hat quarter-note pulse anchors the groovy picture being painted on top.
With only a few embellishments and orchestrations repeating the first half of the two-measure phrase, “Black Satin” is the perfect example of a groove that gives Deitch freedom to enhance the sonic picture. The last measure starts with accented sixteenth-note alternating buzzes with small spaces between each note, creating a unique pulsing feel.