Monday, May 22, 2017

RIP Mickey Roker

I say Mr. Roker play only once in Philadelphia, not long after this was recorded. I also got to chat with him very briefly and he was warm and gracious.

Rest in peace Mr. Roker and thank you for all the beautiful sounds.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Buddy Rich on practice pads

Ha! Another rant! (I blame it on Trump).
Anyway, those of you who have followed the blog know I'm not a fan of practice pads. Buddy Rich seems to agree with me! I have included a small excerpt from a Charley Perry interview with Mr. Rich that Scott K. Fish posted on his excellent Life Beyond the Cymbals blog.
It's unfortunate more players don't listen to the wisdom in many things Buddy mentions. In other words, do as he says, not as he does!

Buddy Rich: What are you going to use on the job, a pad or a snare drum? A snare drum of course! Then why strive to adjust to the response and sound of a practice pad, when you must then readjust to the characteristics of a snare drum? [SKF NOTE: Charlie Perry deleted Buddy’s word “strive,” and replaced it with the word “bother.”]

A snare drum has “sound” – tone. You can work with pitch and duration. These qualities are missing in a pad.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Get a grip

Hey folks,
No time, no blog. I apologize.
Generally, I don't wade into the traditional vs. matched grip wars online. I am an exclusively matched grip player, but I have always felt it's up to an individual player to decide on the grip or grips that work best for them, HOWEVER,  a discussion I came across on my social media feed annoyed me significantly enough that I feel I need to comment. Here's my 2 cents:

1. Any grip requires time and effort.
This may seem obvious, but whatever grip or grips you use, make sure you can play them effectively! Don't "slum" on a grip you can't actually play. Usually when a student pulls out traditional grip all of the sudden ( this seems to mainly happen with this grip, for reasons i will explain later ) I usually ask if they can play buzz, single stroke, and double stroke rolls cleanly with that method of holding the sticks. if the answer is no, I tell them they don't play that grip and if they want to use it they have a lot of practicing ahead of them.

2, The grip you play has nothing to do with the style of music you are playing.
I cannot stress this enough. One learns a style from listening to recordings in that style and playing it with others. It drives me crazy when people with no clue how to play traditional grip ( see item 1 ) start to do some half-baked version of it because they think it makes them play Jazz better ( or even worse, because it looks cool).  If you think that's going to help you, perhaps you should start wearing a beret and start growing that goatee!

3. Brushes can be a little less comfortable INITIALLY with matched grip.
Usually matched grip players have to experiment with their seat and snare drum height when working on brushes. it also can be problematic if one's grip is too German. The point is, if you have good technique with matched grip with sticks, why would you want to start over again with a grip you may not play at all? Be patient, it gets easier!

4. The term "traditional" is a misnomer.
I think this is significant as well. What tradition are we talking about here? In the U.S.A., early drummers played traditional grip because their drums were tilted. But what about the European tradition? Tympanists and mallet percussion players have always played matched grip, and one can argue that the symphonic tradition in Europe goes back farther than the marching tradition in the states.

In conclusion, again, use whatever grip works for you. I have no problem with traditional grip, I just feel that sometimes it can come with baggage that doesn't have much to do with music. Okay, Rant over. A bientot!