Sunday, October 7, 2012

Milt Jackson

On 31 May 2012 I posted a piece titled Some fun that opened with a blurb about Al "Jazzbo" Collins, but was really about vibraphonists. In fact, had vibraphonists been the subject of Mount Rushmore the four I discussed in that post would have been the faces carved in granite. One of those four is Milt Jackson.

The main theme of this post is the fact that a comprehensive, ten-disc set of Milt's music has been released: Kind of Jackson:

If you are strictly a drum kit player instead of a percussionist you are probably wondering what possible benefit studying this album will accrue.

For one thing, like the importance of studying piano-centric music (or any music for that matter), you will find rhythmic ideas that you may not discover if you focus only on drums. And, since the vibraphone is a percussion instrument, many drum kit players do have some proficiency with it, and most vibraphonists are accomplished drummers. An example is Lionel Hampton who was considered to be as great on a drum kit as he was on vibraphones.

Milt Jackson is mostly associated with the Modern Jazz Quartet, which started out with the great Kenny Clarke on drums (see this post for recent information), and culminated with the great Connie Kay taking the drum chair in 1955 and holding it full time until 1974. That alone guarantees that this box set will have examples of some great drumming along with Milt's virtuoso vibes. Not that all of this set is the Modern Jazz Quartet recordings because it isn't. He played with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane to name but a few.

The following clips give a taste of what this box set contains:

One parting shot: while Milt clearly demonstrates how a percussion instrument like a vibraphone can provide both melody and rhythm, you as a drummer can as well. See More quick tips: fills, dynamics and melody in my other blog, Snare Drum Addict, for examples.

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