My question is part general, and part specific, because I'm having a hard time with a specific song, but my question is on how to approach the more general problem.
I'm learning some jazz fusion to broaden my scope, and I came across some songs that have rhythm sections that are really hard to get into. I'm talking about beats where you could feel it in straight 4/4, but the notes of the rhythm section are syncopated and sub-divided, and not only that, but fast.
The general question
Are there any techniques used by experienced musicians to pick up tricky rhythmic themes?
The specifics of the case I'm working right now
This part can be ignored if you think the question is answerable already, but it does provide an example of what I mean.
Take What About Me? by Snarky Puppy. You can feel the whole thing in 4/4, and probably get by.
But a few seconds after 0:40, the band starts playing something that I think is technically still 4/4, but is played completely syncopated (if that's the appropriate term).
I spent some time and transcribed the section. At least what the guitar/bass/synth players are collectively playing.
If we group this in a way that might make sense, we can see that besides the first note (which would cover four 16th-notes), the rest can be thought of as three 16th-notes followed by two 16th-note rests. So groupings of five 16th-notes.
But my problem is that playing that while feeling 4/4 seems outrageous.
Not to mention, after around 4:55, the song moves towards a drum solo where this strange section is being played while the drummer seemingly keeps feeling 4/4 (judging by how his left foot keeps the hi-hat slapping those 4s). Then at 5:40, the drummer switches to a beat where (and I don't know how to explain this with words), he moves the downbeats to align with the downbeats of the strange accompanyment I mentioned.
So if an experienced musician were given this piece of music to learn on short notice (like most of the guys in this video were), would their jazz experience allow them to keep feeling 4/4 in this section, or is it more likely that they'd "switch"? I can't really make out a feel that makes sense for this, which is why I ask.