A common question that I receive from my arranging students is about the difference between jazz shuffle and jazz swing.
Jazz Swing and Jazz Shuffle are similar styles. They both have swing eighth notes. When I am writing in a jazz shuffle style, the first thing I think of is a heavy back beat in the snare – like rock. And, with shuffle, the horn rhythms can be a little more choppy or staccato sounding.
A good discussion of this topic: http://www.studybass.com/lessons/rhythm/shuffle-and-swing-rhythms/
Sometimes, I write the parts with a dotted eighth and 16th rather than the typical 2 eighth notes. Notice in the Bubba’s Revenge example how there are 16ths in the first bar and eighth notes in the last. This communicates a slight variation of the rhythm to the player. This is from the guitar part in bars 9 and 10. Check out the YouTube recording, below.
Count Bubba’s Revenge: Gordon Goodwin
YouTube links in a Jazz Shuffle Style:
1. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – The Chess Players
2. Jump Jive and Wail: notice the heavy back beat in the snare.
3. Buddy Rich Groovin Hard – after the intro section – when the drums play the heavy back beat
4. Harry “Sweets”Edison-Red Bunk Shuffle
Compare the above with straight ahead swing:
1. Sinatra: Summer Wind – Notice the difference in how the snare is much less heavy and the figures in the horns more legato or “laid back.”
2. Buddy Rich: Basically Blues – Notice how the snare is a cross-stick and much less “heavy” sounding.
3. Count Basie: Cute – drums with brushes, no heavy back beat.