Thursday, June 14, 2012

A History of Jazz Drumming

My next series of posts will be about Anita O'Day's music, with some emphasis on her drummer and partner-in-Crime, John Poole. These posts will take up where Anita O'Day: Jezebel of Jazz & Drummer's Vocalist left off. Specifically, I am going to launch the series with a focus on Anita O'Day: Eight Classic Albums, which is going to lead to a lot of material.

In the meantime, I wanted to treat you to this great, 44-page booklet titled, A History of Jazz Drumming by Thomas Shultz. I hope you enjoy the history and also hope you will check back in tomorrow for the first installment of my Anita O'Day series.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Art Taylor in action

Art was one of the most prolific and respected drummers of his era. Pick up any circa 50s or 60s jazz album and there is a high probability that he was the drummer. My favorite album with him on it is The Ultimate Jazz Collection by the Red Garland Trio (with Paul Chambers on bass.) Not only is this album nearly five hours of the best damn piano trio music, but Taylor cuts loose. When he played sessions he was solid, but pretty generic. On that album he is pure dynamite.

The real reason I am posting, though, is to share this live video of Taylor in Paris, 1971, backing Johnny Griffin on tenor saxophone, René Urtreger on piano and Alby Cullaz on bass.

Songs are:

  1. Now's the Time
  2. My Little Suede Shoes
  3. Blue Monk
  4. Blues for Harvey

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rare Clip of Dave Tough

Dave Tough is a drummer whom I greatly admire. I wrote a thumbnail sketch about him in March, 2010, and also posted a downloadable copy of his paradiddle exercise book. It is with a great deal of pleasure that I present this rare clip of him:

Granted, there is not much, but there is such dearth of video on who I consider to be one of the world's greatest drummers that it's a start.

Shown: Eddie Condon leading on his four string tenor guitar with Wild Bill Davison trumpet, Cutty Cutshall trombone, Edmund Hall clarinet, Gen Schroeder piano, Dave Tough drums, and Bob Casey(?) bass.

Dave was tagged as a dixieland, 2/4 drummer, but he was much, much more. He could swing and was a groove master of the highest order. Here is a pair of dueling articles in Downbeat between Dave and Eddie Condon that are humorous in their own way, but also provides historical insight into the state of jazz during that era. Tough died on December 9, 1948 - 11 days before I was born - so the article is mid-to-late 40s. Note the term re-bop, which was what the musicians were calling what we now call bebop. Here is Tough's view and Eddie Condon's rebuttal.

If you have any additional clips of Dave please let me know the link to them so I can add them to this post. Thanks and enjoy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

1959 Redux

This post will tie up some loose ends from the 1959 - Year That Changed Jazz series. To recap, the series also included articles on each of the four albums that markedly changed jazz:
  1. Kind of Blue, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3
  2. Time Out
  3. Ah Um
  4. The Shape of Jazz to Come
Add to the list of articles and references that complete the picture: Geoff Barber's 1959: A Great Year in Jazz, and Matthew Kahut's Meltdown: The Year Jazz Threw Out the Rules.

Finally, 1959 - The Year Everything Changed discusses the year in broad strokes that address cultural, political, artistic and other aspects that came to a head in 1959. This puts jazz into a context that overlaps areas that comprise the bigger picture.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ahmad Jamal 8 Classic Albums Part 3

This will conclude the three part discussion of Ahmad Jamal: Eight Classic Albums by examining the last three albums in the set.

Happy Moods.

Unfortunately (and incredibly), there are no clips on Youtube from this album. Samples of each of the tracks can be heard on this page, along with some well written reviews of the album.

In the absence of clips from the album I am going to use this opportunity to provide some live performances of the Trio that show Jamal, Crosby and Fournier in action. Hopefully that will compensate for the dearth of clips from the album itself. Also, spotting Ben Webster as an onlooker is a treat (who else do you recognize from the impromptu audience?):

All Of You.

Aside from the Jamal-Crosby-Fournier line-up, what I love about this album is the energy from the live performance and the consistency of songs. That consistency is yet another hallmark of Jamal's albums and performances, along with his mastery of dynamics and use of space. Jamal pays careful attention to song selection making sure that every choice complements the others. This album is no exception. Here is a clip:


This is a typical Ahmad Jamal Trio album - relaxing, swinging and masterful. The good news is you don't have to go far to track it down despite it being out of print since it's included in the set.

Jamal's trademark use of space and dynamics is as evident on this album as they are on all of his others, and should be required study for all musicians. Certainly his choice of Crosby and Fournier - two like minded masters - makes his job easier. Here is a track:

As you read through these three posts it's apparent that there is a lot of music in this set, some of which is now out of print and otherwise unavailable (as I write this). Visit the individual pages I've linked and tally up the total if you purchase them individually. You will clearly see that even if you want only three or four of the albums, it's more cost effective to purchase this set.