[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 
left hand.
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?


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