The Drumming System (affiliate link) has an entire section on the Bernard Purdie Drum Shuffle. It is one of those grooves that every drummer should know, but few drummers actually master.
The groove was popularized by Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, one of the greatest groove drummers of all time. In fact, many consider him to be the most recorded drummer of all time. He invented this beat by taking the simple shuffle pattern and adding some flavor to the role of the snare drum within the groove.
Two great examples of the Bernard Purdie Drum Shuffle can be heard on Babylon Sisters and Home at Last by Steely Dan.
The groove begins with a half time shuffle (accent the snare on 3). Then ghost notes are played on the snare. According to the Drumming System (affiliate link), they are played on the “trip” of 1, 2, and 4. From my own experience, I prefer to play them on the “trip” of all 4 beats. This is more a difficult shuffle to execute, but it sounds more full.
The ghost notes drive the Purdie Shuffle!
In fact, if you take out the ghost notes, the sound and feel of the groove change completely.
The ghost notes are amazing because they are subtle, yet so important to the feel of the groove. When Bernard Purdie plays it, he hits the snare with so much conviction, yet keeps the ghost notes almost invisible. That’s the art of drumming.
Just a side note: I was fortunate to have dinner with Bernard Purdie when I was a junior in high school. We sat face to face at Docks Oyster Bar & Seafood in New York City. We got to chat drums and we each had two lobsters. Years later, I went to see Bernard perform. I was eating a huge plate of ribs and he walked up to my table, looked at my ribs, his eyes lit up, and he started screaming in joy.