Monday, March 20, 2023

Don't let colours get in the way of content!

 This is another one of those "Cautionary Tale/ Don't Be Like I Was" posts. :) 

As most people who have heard me would surmise, I am fascinated with pulling as many colours out of the drum set as possible, and have devoted a fair amount of time to this. That's all well and good, but it's important to know when and where esoteric sounds fit the music. I remember one time a great trumpet player in Regina, Ron Brooks, telling me that I wasn't "minding the store". I'd like to say that I immediately took his comment to heart, and worked on being as solid, as I was being colourful, but I was young and foolish. (As a sidebar, let's all give thanks to the more experienced musicians in smaller communities all over the world that guide, encourage, and tolerate younger players!) It took me a long time to realize what he meant. Listening, as always, is key. Not only listening to great examples, of solid, groovy, and often deceptively simple playing, but also listening to the band that one is playing with. It's always good to ask yourself, "Is the band getting what it needs to do its job?" "Does the beat feel firm, or am I not giving the band confidence in the time?" I'm not suggesting anyone not to try to explore interesting sounds and shapes, but as with all things, balance and taste is the key.

Here's a great example of someone who really explored the drums, but never at the expense of groove and feel. Mr. Blakey! 

NOTE: The last couple of weeks have featured recordings with Wayne Shorter, yet these posts were written long before his passing. It just goes to show what a huge force in music he's been to all of us! 

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