Take Five With Ralph J DeLorso Jr.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Well the list is quite long and I pick what I feel the grooves the most. As a drummer, I like challenging pieces to work on (with charts if possible otherwise I learn them by ear), but it has to swing or groove.
Even a ballad as to breathe and not crowd or clutter with over playing and the vocals must have dynamic phrasing. In fact, all my music must breathe and have dynamics with articulation. Some of my favorites are Olinga by Milt Jackson with Mickey Roker on drums, Cedar Walton on piano, and Ron Carter on bass. All the Cold Blood albums, Tower of Power, and the Buddy Rich Big Band. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman is one of the best recordings ever. I also like stuff by Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra. Man, there's just too many.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
Bag's Groove was the first record I bought.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
As drums go, I invented some pretty great things to help drummers and they are patented, but musically my diversification in the music keeps me grounded. I'm constantly exploring rhythms, sounds, tempos, and passing my knowledge to younger drummers. Recently, I was teaching a student and he had a couple of his friends over who played in his band and we ended up working on their songs list. Keep in mind that their music, heavy metal, is something I rarely care about, but I believe that I ended up getting more out of it than I thought. They learned a different approach to learning their songs and using dynamics to give the music more punch. They were astounded that the principles I applied worked better for them and their music.
Did you know...
I'm a 5th Degree Black Belt in Hapkido, 4th in Daito Ryu Aiki jujitsu, 2nd in judo, and 1st in Kyokyushinki, The benefit is beyond just learning to defend yourself, it's principles are life altering.
CDs you are listening to now:
Jose James, Nicola Conte, Melody Gardot, and Robert Glasper.
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
I keep hearing that jazz is dead, but on the contrary I think it is evolving, which it should be. I hear many new artists even rock singers attempting to sing standards. Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, and Michael Bolton- these cats are destroying the beauty of these great standards, yet there are young artists who put their spin on them like Gregory Porter, Jose James, Steve Tyrell, and Jamie Cullum. There are groups who knock it out of the park like Snarky Puppy and Jazzinvaders. Jazz from Japan and Europe is outstanding while we in America have lost our passion in jazz. We are swamped with Bieber and bullshit and so called black artists who claim they sing of the black man's plight. I once asked a rapper if he knew who Gil Scott-Heron was and he had no clue. They have to go back to the roots and history, after that then I believe a hope and a new horizon will appear because one of them will make the connection and do something astounding.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Cats going to the schools picking out great players just like picking out the best ball players same with music. They're out there, you just gotta' go get them, man! Playing in clubs studying with the greats.
What is in the near future?
Right now, I'm in a movie and I'm doing the score for this film. It's about seven young guys growing up having a band which was on the edge of making it big when someone got drafted in Vietnam. Yes, it's dated and some went to prison and they all converge to do this one huge venue years later and fame is still there.
What's your greatest fear when you perform?
That the monitors aren't working and the count off is wrong.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
"Bag's Groove," Frank Sinatra's "Until The Real Thing Comes Along," and Cold Blood's "Down To The Bone."
What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
"You Are Too Beautiful" and "Lush Life."
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Professional trout fisherman or a DJ for a jazz radio station.