When you find the inner pulse of a song and bring it out thats when real music occurs. I still don't get why we spend so much time trying to put the pulse of a song into a box. Way too much time is spent on trying to control and construct a pocket (play up on the beat etc). Monitoring the time, creates insecurity in the rhythm section which ultimately hurts the music.
Great players know that every tune has its own inner pulse and that the feel will die if we don't connect with it. The great bandleaders and producers let the music dictate the groove and not the other way around. Composers don't think metronomically when they are writing, all they consider is a range where their music will sound best.
What matters is the rhythmic sweet spot. All music regardless of style has it. How do you find this? Listen for it and adjust the pocket to the tunes natural pulse. This is called playing it as it lays. When a doctor says "no pulse" you are in serious trouble well the same thing goes for music.
Music has to breathe in time for it to have any effect. Selecting the different spots on the quarter note doesn't help. That has to be felt rather than discussed verbally. This laser like focus on parsing the time has hurt music badly in the past 30 years. Perfection in time has become the focus much to the detriment of melody and groove.
Analysis paralysis is a disease that affects too many musicians, particularly bandleaders and producers who are married to the idea of machine like time and then complain that it doesn't feel right. Well Duh? Analysis is great for musicologists but not for performing musicians. Rhythm is a natural force that can't be specifically defined it has to be heard and felt.
The Groove continues...