[Dixielandjazz] Drummers

Tom Wood zenith at ans.com.au
Tue Feb 25 09:37:54 PST 2003

Hi all,

Bill "I believe in drums" Gunter wrote:
A drummer is much more than color and flourish AND, by the way, color and 
flourish is a hot thing and EXTREMELY important in jazz and not simply an 
idea which is tossed out as "merely . . . colour and flourish."

I fully agree.  Most of the jazz world have heard the banjo/washboard jokes but I did not appreciate till recently that some people think "banging" the drums is just a noise (or akin to bagpipes as a missing link between noise and music) and not engineroom "hot music".  We have a drummer friend in Sydney who's business card reads "musician's labourer" (which could readily be adapted for banjo/washboard players) - available for gigs and he obviously means it as a joke but apparently its not, for some people.   

I also agree with the heartbeat comments about the bass but as the drums were being "knocked" at the time I went to their aid.  Previous drum comments apply to the full seven piece concert stage line up or for dancing audiences such as the Cocanut Grove in Santa Cruz or the Hot and Cool jazz festival in Portland, Oregon.  We always announce a free CD for the first couple up on the floor and it sets the night off for both band and audience - it would be hopelessly inadequate without a drummer (e.g. Tuxedo Junction).  I agree that for smaller groups and venues the drums would be one of the first to go where the band is often relegated to almost background listening.  Like most bands, and for the purposes of earning a living, the Sydney-Zenith have quartets/trios within the group which even as piano/manager I usually decline to play in because I get my kicks from ensemble playing, filling in spaces within the large full group sound.

Tom "no charts" Wood
zenith at ans.com.au

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