Friday, February 19, 2010

Recommended for your iPod/MP3 player - Part 2

Continuing from my previous post, here are some more recommendations to expand musical horizons. Again, my recommendations, while jazz-oriented, are to expose drummers young and old to the shoulders of those giants upon which we stand. Of course, for the jazz aficionados the names will be familiar, as will most of the albums and songs to which I have linked for download. These - and the ones listed in Part 1 - are the musicians to which Ginger Baker, Steve Gadd, John Bonham, etc. listened. Bonham, by the way, was heavily influenced by Joe Morello and the Dave Bruubeck Quartet!

Modern Jazz Quartet - drummer Connie Kay is the primary drummer in the MJQ's extensive body of music. This group managed to fuse together classical and jazz to a point, and the playing required a great deal of restraint on Kay's part. His playing is a study in dynamic range and how to maintain a solid swing feel in complex musical structures.

Thelonious Monk - Monk had some of the best drummers of his day, and his son (T.S.Monk) is a drummer himself. Monk's music is complex to say the least, and is ideal for drummers who like playing with a lot of space. I think Frankie Dunlop epitomized the style of drumming that complimented Monk's music, although luminaries such as Roy Haynes and Philly Joe Jones also are on some of Monk's albums.

Charlie Parker - everyone who was someone had the drum chair at one time with Bird. Roy Haynes was one of his early drummers, as was the great Stan Levey (more about him in a later post), Max Roach and ... the list goes on. However, Bird is worth listening to for the music alone, and in that context you can clearly hear the birth of bebop and how elements persist in other genres of music. Parker, like Armstrong before him, revolutionized music.

Chico Hamilton - Another highly innovative drummer who, like Art Blakey, had his own group and the creative control over his material. Chico's music was off the beaten path, with some similarities to the Modern Jazz Quartet with respect to dynamic ranges of the music, but also almost spiritual in content. One could learn much in the way of groove construction, integration with the music and even harmony from a percussion perspective from listening to Chico's work and music.

Shelly Manne - one of the proponents of "West Coast Jazz" in the same basic style of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Shelly's career ranged from big band to Dixieland to more modern forms of jazz. He was all about fitting drums totally into the musical context of what was being played. At one point to achieve the sound he wanted he sprinkled rice on his snare drum head to get subtle sustain from that instrument. As an aside, Shelly portrayed Dave Tough in The Gene Krupa Story

I'll finish up in Part 3, covering three major influences of we baby boomer drummers who got our start in the late 50s/early 60s (I started playing in 1964.)

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