[Dixielandjazz] Drummers - Do you hear the changes?

john petters jpettjazz at btinternet.com
Tue Feb 24 00:12:01 PST 2004

Steve said

He is not
> just tapping out rhythms, he is playing he song. (And yes, of course, he
> tunes his drums) And nobody in the band has to count measures on the
> drum solo, we hear where he is and come in automatically when he has
> said what he wants to say. So I asked him how he constructs his solos.
> He said:
> "Simple, I hear the chord changes and I play them. Doesn't every drummer
> do that?"

No they don't Steve - more's the pity. With many drummers who play OKOM they
can't even play a four bar or 8 bar break let alone 32 bars. With some
players it is an excuse to bash everything in sight at full volume and just
show off the technique.

I have done some drum battles with players far more technically equipped
than I am, yet not possessing any real sense of phrasing.

Good drumming is no more a matter of stringing the rudiments together than
for a clarinettist to just play scales. It demands a deep knowledge of WHERE

Baby, Zutty, Gene and all the old timers told a story in their solos.

With Buddy it could just be an explosion of technique on occasions.

There is a story about Krupa being given 32 bars intro into a number. He
asked the bandleader what was coming afterwards. The leader said why do you
want to know. Gene supposedly replied that he needed to play something
musical that would fit.

The musicality doers not just apply to solos, but a drummer should colour
his playing with dynamics and different sounds on his kit. How many of
today's OKOM bands have drummers that play the snare, or blocks, rims and
cowbells. Conversely how many drummers just sit on the ride from the
beginning of a number to the end.

It goes back to our discussion a few weeks ago. Listen, listen, and when you
think your finished listening, listen again - and of course daily practice.

ratamacuingly yours
John Petters
Amateur Radio Station G3YPZ

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