[Dixielandjazz] RADIO - Drum and Tuba
Gluetje1 at aol.com
Gluetje1 at aol.com
Thu Nov 30 14:52:25 PST 2006
Hi Larry and All,
The most interesting thing I have to say is at the end.
I have now given the tune another couple of listens. I definitely hear
what Larry is describing as "not today's drum sound", though I might describe it
as more of a thud than a boom or pop, I do like it and understand why you
would like to have it recreated for the sound you want. I probably would not
give it the credit for the drive that this audio file group has--in fact I
think a lot of today's groups use the pop and ching of a ride cymbal to get
their drive--which is a cheap way to go for it. I like, and my body responds
best to drive that is coming from an air tight rhythm section--in our current
situation tuba, piano, banjo. In a more fortunate situation--also and
definitely drums. When those four are in sych just on the front edge of the beat but
never pushing it forward, then by beat "time", it has reached the ears of
the front line so the audience hears it all at once and they lock in with the
band too and decide they are hearing a really great band.
Some of my analysis why we don't produce that more often right now.
1. My inexperience
2. The number of tunes we keep trying, but without an internalized grasp of
who is taking lead when, how many choruses, etc. That means a distraction
of focus while we try to sort that out and keep playing, and that's enough
distraction to flounder the beat.
3. Tom T. having to rehearse with a keyboard that won't allow a percussive
piano. I have yet to meet the rhythm machine that has the punch of a muscular
Some JazzSea Jammer experiences that have improved my ability to be part of
1. Somehow there are certain people that seem to be able to synch better.
There is a tuba player that gets excited if I set down for the same jam
session as he is scheduled for. He says to me, "Sit right here by me. You're my
favorite banjo player because you can keep time." Now what's funny about that
is that I love to see him in the session--because I thought it was him
giving me such good timing cues. So somehow there must be some unidentified
element that helps certain individuals lock--oh well, I'll call it talent. LOL
2. There is one drummer that does a lot of the Jammers cruises. When he
sits down I know all will go wonderful with the set. He is ALWAYS right with
his beat and drum elements and is somehow so firm in conveying it that you
have to be totally arrhythmic to miss--even though some jamming fools can
sometimes be just that.
3. Dick Williams, cornet and leader. If he is not hearing either the tempo
he wants, or he senses uncertainly in the rhythm section, he will turn
bodily toward the rhythm section and blow four detached quarter notes at us. I
hear those four notes say, "This is the beat!" (plus his head going
dammit!) By beat three he has me pounding out that same message, and he knows
it. That is why he calls me one of his "anchor banjos" and I get scheduled to
play all the sets where he expects a crowd. I also know that Dick wants four
beat banjo with no upticks or extras as he feels that muddies up horn space.
His opinion is to save all that for your solo chorus. That said,
especially when my favorite other jammers are on tuba, drums, piano we also give him
two beat, stop choruses, etc. and he brags on the rhythm section, only
subliminally aware that we have broken his rule. There are several pros on banjo
that like to sit in on Jammer sets. They think they can get by with adding
licks throughout the tune. They're wrong because the Jammers has too many
players already for that. An occasional "add" can work in smaller groups and I
have been trying more of those under sustained notes by you or Herb. Some of
that is being done on top of the two beat banjo in this recording of Radio.
But too much extra banjo will absolutely remove drive.
I was just sitting here counting. I have done five 7 - 10 day cruises with
the Jammers plus the San Diego Jazz Festival last year. Wow, I still have
about 2 - 3 times as much total hours in playing with the Jammers as with all
of you--just realized that. Experience does help!
If anybody's still reading--I tip my hat to you. ROFL.
By the way, did anyone check this band's web site? Dave Gravett is a St.
Louis "boy" and the band is now in Springfield, MO. Guess they'll play Branson
to pave the way for us. Now here's what's really fascinating. It looks like
they have not used a drummer since 1985--check the history. So the Radio
file is from then??? And how they might sound now? I have no clue since my
computer will not play any of their sound sample files.
In a message dated 11/29/2006 12:43:40 P.M. Central Standard Time,
larrys.bands at charter.net writes:
Here is the "Radio" that Ginny sent to me. Check out two things in the
recording: first the bass drum. You can hear it and it is a fill instrument
that enhances the tuba. This is he way that I believe that the bass drum was
used but because of the recording limitations at the time can't be heard on the
old recordings. I think these guys have captured the sound and I like it.
I think that the bass drum gives the tune that energy that I have been
talking about not that it's the only factor. We talked about energy and this tune
has it. The bass drum definitely has a boom but I don't hear it ringing.
The way they handled that was the beater was always choked into the drum
because they played on their toes not back on their heels like most modern drummers
operate their pedals. In this way they could control the resonance of the
bass drum. Today the heads are tensioned a lot tighter and the drums are
smaller with dampers to remove all the ring so you get a pop. They did user
dampers but they were more like a hand on the drum and were a round felt, spring
operated device and weren't as efficient. Today the bass is really more of
an accent instrument than as a bass instrument. The heads were also skin
which is a bit different too but are incredibly expensive today compared to
plastic. Skin heads didn't have the ring associated with the plastic ones.
Second the Tuba is a whole lot busier than usual and is filling more.
Notice that the cymbal is being played in the old style that is with two
hands and is choked most of the time but is used as a ride at least on some of
the choruses. I don't believe that's a hi hat but might be. I think it might
be about a 12 inch medium heavy and he also may be using a small splash. I
have another recording that better captures the sound that I remember.
I also liked the Soprano / Trombone harmony duet / riffs in the background.
Comments? What do you hear?
More information about the Dixielandjazz