Monday, December 25, 2017

Seasons greetings!

May your tree never need Viagra!

Friday, December 8, 2017

RIP Sunny Murray

This album was  my introduction to his great work........

Happy Friday, short post....

And here's Mark Guiliana, presenting some very creative ways of making acoustic drums sound like electronic drums. Very cool.

Monday, November 27, 2017

One Piece at a Time Part 2; Snare Drum

In my continuing series where I look at each piece of the modern drum set individually, I will now focus on the snare drum.
The snare is the instrument that ia probably most associated with the drum set's military origins. As with the bass drum drum, it can be tuned to many different pitches with the added factor of how tight or loose the snares are. Whether the drum is metal, wood, or even fibreglass is also a factor

There's the delightful "splat" that players like the great Stan Lynch get.....

To the beautiful "crack" Roy Haynes achieves...

Of, course, if you turn the snares off, you have another tom, which Al Foster demonstrates so well in this frankly MAGICAL drum solo....

In conclusion, as it is often the highest pitched, but also arguably the brightest drum in the drum set, the snare drum creates many moods.It  goes from New Orleans swampy marches, to thuddy backbeats or Jazz comping, sometimes in the context of one tune! It is an important part of our instrument, as well as our heritage.

See you soon......

Monday, November 20, 2017

One Piece at a Time Part 1: Bass Drum

This will be an intermittent series in which I look at all the components of the modern drum set individually. Now, many who know me will recall I often rant that the drum set should be viewed as one instrument, It is also true it is an instrument made of many instruments that stand alone as well.
I'll start with the Bass Drum. ( Don't you DARE call it the "K" word around here!) Although the bass drum can be tuned many different ways, it is the lowest pitch we're playing. It, along with the snare drum, are the parts of the drum set that harken back the most to their military origins. Playing four beats to the bar with the bass drum is a sound that permeates much of North American modern music, whether it's the pounding of Disco or Blues shuffles or the  light feathering in a Jazz trio.

The Bass Drum is a marker. It's low pitch helps us stop and reset the music. If  we think the band is lost, we play bass drum on beat one. Often, inexperienced drummers ( like yours truly not so long ago    ) will play beat one with the Bass Drum ( especially in a Jazz setting ) so often, it will feel like the tune is only one or two bars long! Playing Bass Drum on beat one of every bar is one of the many "security blankets" we have to let go of as we free up our playing.

There's many ways this fascinating ways the  instrument can sound too. From Elvin Jones' wide open ringy 18" drum..... Steve Gadd's much bigger drum but much more muffled tone.

Or Jack DeJohnette's middle ground between the two...

Finally, I think of the modern drum set as having two major "sections", namely drums and cymbals. The drums give me images of earth. They are very grounded and grounding. The Bass Drum is especially earthbound. I find it interesting that the Bass Drum is the only part of the drum set where a major part of the instrument  itself, and not a stand, is touching the ground. What's more it's played with our foot. When the music needs it, we are literally "putting our foot down" to correct things. So, next time you're playing your drums, give some thought to our low-pitched earthy friend and how it fits into your music.

...until next time....

Saturday, November 18, 2017

RIP Ben Riley

Farewell to the great Ben Riley.  His artful swing and imaginative style propelled the bands of Thelonious Monk and many others. As well as enjoying  him on many recordings, I got to see him in Toronto and it was truly life-changing.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Hurry, Don't delay, ACT NOW!

....And check out Four On The Floor's posting of this interview with Philly Joe Jones.

Thank you Jon, I owe you some Houston's Pizza! :)