Monday, October 17, 2022

What are chops, anyway?

Authors note: I only eat chicken and occasionally beef now so no lambies were (currently) harmed in the composing of this post! 

   Drumming great Mike Clark recently posted on social media that he recently had a discussion with several individuals that stated that Elvin Jones' playing was "sloppy" and he "had no chops". 
NOTE : Mike Clark himself did not say this. He has never been anything but extremely enthusiastic about Elvin's work! 
After being taken aback by the ridiculousness of this statement, I started to wonder how we had gotten to this point. This seems to be another disturbing example of some members of the drumming community separating pure technique (read cleanliness and velocity) from every other aspect of music. When one isolates technique from sound, groove, originality, melody, creativity, dynamic control, intuition, ideas, responsiveness  etc. we end up with some jock drummer smacking a pad. (Not a drum or a cymbal, because that takes away from the from the cleanness and speed by, you know, having a sound!)

We really need to move away from this idea that the best drummer is the one that can move their hands and feet the fastest. There's enough cold and robotic playing already, thanks! Listen for everything a player can contribute ON AN ACTUAL INSTRUMENT AND WITH A BAND! Speed is just a tiny part of it.

Now, let's conclude with Sunny Murray and then Han Bennink being beautiful and expressive on the drums…..

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