[Dixielandjazz] Drummers

Jim Denham james at jiming.demon.co.uk
Tue Feb 25 00:52:36 PST 2003

As a drummer myself, who also has to organise trios and quartets, I have 
some sympathy with those who say the drums would be the first instrument 
you would "let go" (assuming we have a good bass player and guitarist 
and/or pianist: I'm sure trombonists would agree.

Neverthetheless, the drums can provide an invaluable contribution, even 
to a small group. A steady 2/4 or 4/4 on the bass drum, and sympathetic 
snare and cymbal patterns can enhance what the front-line soloists are 
doing. Unfortunately, the present orthodoxy seems to be that the drummer 
should be a soloist in his own right, which is probably why so many 
bands are keen to dispense with the drummer's services these days.

I understand that the "standard" drum technique being taught in colleges 
these days is that of Max Roach and Art Blakey. Fine as far as it goes:

But how about:

Sid Catlett, George Wettling, Chick Webb, Dave Tough, Zutty Singleton, 
Gene Krupa...and, of course, Baby Dodds:

They would *really* teach the young kids how a drummer should interact 
with a band.


Jim Denham

message <006401c2dc55$78a782d0$09f4fea9 at tomwood>, Tom Wood 
<zenith at ans.com.au> writes
>Hi all,
>Bill "I believe in drums" Gunter wrote:
>A drummer is much more than color and flourish AND, by the way, color
>flourish is a hot thing and EXTREMELY important in jazz and not simply
>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
>Dixielandjazz mailing list
>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

Jim Denham

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