In this fast tempo, Marcus Gilmore’s comping contains so much creative material which not only requires technical excellence but also a very fast musical “brain”.
When you listen for the first time, you hear everything changing from one moment to another. From one phrase to another. However, by taking a closer look at the transcription we see that nothing is played randomly. His style is very sophisticated, yet he never gets in the way of the soloist and he is always very clear.
His solid time and coordination allow him to take his right hand way from the cymbal and phrase all around the drumkit using all four limbs. Many times during his comping, he plays phrases over the bar line, (bars 35-39, 50-51, 144-145, 166-169) but to make sure that he keeps the band together, he quotes some rhythmical elements of the melody (bar 68, 154, 176). Often he plays phrases in half time (bars 1-2, 23-24, 159-165, 171-174) to keep the energy low and he uses cross-rhythms to build tension (bars 147-153). He almost never plays the original swing cymbal beat (only in bars 137-139), but he paraphrases it or even displaces it (bars 114-115). He has certain short phrases that he repeats often in the last bars of the A section. This also confirms his constant relation to the form. (155-158 & 177-178)