Music Education Monday: The Purdie Shuffle


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Sometimes StLJN's weekly “Music Education Monday" feature deals with broad topics, and sometimes, things get very specific - like today's video lesson from famed session drummer Bernard Purdie, which is all about how to play the beat known as the “Purdie Shuffle."

Produced by, the video shows Purdie himself explaining and demonstrating the distinctive half-time funk feel he played on Steely Dan's “Home at Last" and “Babylon Sisters," which since has been approximated or imitated on recordings by Toto, Death Cab For Cutie, and numerous others.

You can grab a .pdf of a basic transcription here, courtesy of For some more tips on how to play the Purdie Shuffle, consult this .pdf of an article by drummer Jim Payne, originally published in 2010 Modern Drummer magazine, in which he breaks the beat down into component parts and devises a practice routine with exercises for each.

And should you want to try to program the Purdie Shuffle into an audio workstation or drum machine, this article from will get you started.

You can see the video of Bernard Purdie after the jump, followed by a clip of Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and Walter Becker talking about Purdie and then a bit more of the man himself...

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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