I tend to use Groove Agent for my drum parts but now that I have JABB i'm trying to get the hang of using the kits supplied therewith. Problem is I'm pretty lame as a drummer. Can anyone point to to some helpfull tips on how to actually play jazz drums?
What I've done is actually look at the midi for Jazz drums, like in Groove Monkee or Smart loops, and see how the grooves were laid down. There are a lot of subtle nuances that can't be just plugged into a sequencer.
I then take that midi and modify it for different parts. If the midi is using a ride and you want a hi hat, then just move the hit.
Try HERE ... I'm not a drummer either, so I try to listen to drummers and get a rough idea of how they would construct things (strange beasts drummers). Listen to the main grove and especially to the hi-hats and rides. Then the fills each drummer (like any other musician) has their own way of doing things, so try to listen to a cross section of genre and see how things differ. Most drummers like to get some movement going in the rhythm (or so it seems to me) rather than some rigid pattern.
I'm lousy at drum programming, too, but here are a few tips I've picked up in the process. First, never have more than four things going at once. A drummer only has four limbs, no matter how talented he may be. Second, in jazz particularly, the timing of the hi hat and ride cymbals are critical to getting the feel right. Rock and pop depend on the kick and snare, but jazz is all about the hi hat and ride. Third when you use a snare for accents, be sure it hits just a tiny bit after the beat, or fraction thereof. If you place the snare hit directly on the beat or ahead of the beat, it'll ruin the feel for sure. These last two things are what help to create the illusion of "jazz swing" and "laying back".
I have bought a couple of books on drumming, especially jazz playing. These were available in the UK and may well be in US (or something similar). These will show you basic patterns for drummers and also show how to add and subtract to alter the feel. Don't forget groove quantize as well