Here’s a Simple idea to get some phrases happening over the bar line when you’re playing in 3/4. This idea came as an extension of something I first heard Max Roach play. He’d trade 4’s of time, playing 4 bars of a waltz feel then 3 bars of a straight 4/4 swing feel (which you can think of as 4 bars of 3/4 or 2 bars of 6/4.) Take a look:
This got me thinking about what to play with that 4/4 ride pattern. For source material I opened up Ted Reed’s Syncopation. I use Syncopation Set 2 often for work on both phrasing and limb coordination. In this case, for a first step, we’re just going to exchange measures 5-8 above with 3 measures of the first exercise in Set 2.
When you play an idea like this it sounds like you’re playing in 4, the rest of the players on the bandstand will feel the “pull” of your 4 against their 3. If you change your ride pattern you can take the same phrase and make it feel like a longer idea played over the bar line in 3/4 time.
Once you have the general coordination down add accents to play with the time feel and phrasing. The bass drum on each down beat is a good starting place, it will anchor the feeling of 3. Accenting the first beat of each “measure of 4” will emphasize the feel of 4 over 3. I like the sound of the last quarter note in this phrase, try each note on the snare out and see what catches your ear.