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Rhythm In Every Guise

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

The Ambidextrous Greg Bufford

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Accompanied by his father, a boy approaches the drum kit, stops and stares, transfixed by the array of shapes and gleaming surfaces. Without a moment's hesitation, Greg Bufford, the man sitting on the drummer's throne, makes eye contact, smiles, and proffers an impromptu demonstration of articulate, swinging brush strokes. The sounds satisfy the boy's curiosity and capture the attention of a ring of people near the tiny, makeshift bandstand, who are patiently waiting for the band to hit.Tuesday nights at SuzyQue's BBQ and Bar in West Orange, NJ, are chock full of moments like this one. In a ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Shelly Manne: "The Three" & "The Two"

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"Perhaps the key to understanding his achievement is to realize that, despite the virtues of his instrumental skills, he viewed himself, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, as a musician first and a drummer only second." class="f-right s-img">--Ted Gioia

“When I'm playing, I think along melodic lines. For instance, I can go up as the notes go up. I may not hit them on the head, but the drums are a very sympathetic instrument and I can sometimes sound like I'm playing the melody without being right in tune. Naturally, I don't have the whole keyboard at ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Introducing Shawn Baltazor

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Forty-five minutes prior to New Tricks' opening set, Shawn Baltazor began to tote his drum kit from a parking space down the street from Trumpets Jazz Club. Four drums were neatly stacked and secured to a rolling luggage carrier. An oversized sack contained bulky metal hardware and miscellaneous equipment. A cymbal bag with a shoulder strap completed the load. Despite the weight and mass, Baltazor cheerfully refused help on the fifty yard trek, explaining with a smile that it's all part of being a working drummer. Keeping an eye out for oncoming traffic, he carried on an animated conversation, balanced ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Steve Johns with the Bob DeVos Organ Trio

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Bob DeVos' Organ Trio is a prime example of a band that possesses a recognizable sound yet resists facile categorization. Since 2005, along with organist Dan Kostelnik and drummer Steve Johns, the Northern New Jersey-based guitarist has played numerous live gigs and recorded two compact discs, Shifting Sands and Playing For Keeps, both released on Savant Records to wide acclaim. The group doesn't necessarily invite comparison to the fashionable, John Coltrane-influenced, Larry Young-Grant Green-Elvin Jones Trio from the mid-1960s. Likewise, DeVos and company can't be pigeonholed into the crowd pleasing soul-jazz produced by some of the classic Hammond B-3 organ ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Joe Corsello: Strong Second Act

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In the notes to an unfinished novel, the celebrated 20th Century author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “there are no second acts in American lives." The vicissitudes of the lives of many jazz musicians, some of whom drop out of sight for years or even decades, are exceptions to Fitzgerald's often quoted dictum.

The first act of Joe Corsello's career as a jazz drummer was in the 1970s, when he worked in a number of noteworthy mainstream ensembles, ranging from Benny Goodman to Marian McPartland to Zoot Sims. He left singer Peggy Lee's band to join the ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

David A. Orthmann's Top Releases of 2009

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It's impossible to do justice to all of the fine new music issued in 2009. So I've listed ten of the discs that had the greatest impact on me. Each one includes the name of the drummer who was essential in making the music special.

Joe Locke and David Hazeltine Mutual Admiration Society 2 (Sharp Nine Records) Billy Drummond

Rich Perry Gone (SteepleChase) Jeff Hirshfield

Neal Miner Happy Hour (Gut String Records) Joe Strasser

Mike DiRubbo Repercussion (Posi-Tone Records) Tony Reedus

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Jason Brown

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Six years ago I started writing the “Rhythm In Every Guise" column as a reaction to an imbalance that had crept into my record reviews. In many instances I was writing lots about the drummer at the expense of everyone else on the recording. The column became a means of paying tribute to venerable drum set artists, as well as a way of spreading the word on lesser known trapsters.

In a February 2009 review of Vitaly Golovnev's to whom it may concern (Tippin' Records, 2009), I made an unusually brief mention of Jason Brown, an ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Eliot Zigmund

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Recently I've been listening to Breeze, drummer Eliot Zigmund's 2008 release on the SteepleChase label. In part my interest in the recording stems from catching a couple of Zigmund's sideman gigs at The Turning Point Café in Piermont, NY. On those occasions I couldn't get a handle on all of the things that felt right about his playing. And describing some of the highlights in a live performance review didn't come close to capturing the essence of his style.

The elements that initially intrigued me about Zigumnd's drumming came into clearer focus on three of the record's nine ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Tom Melito on Pete Malinverni's "Invisible Cities"

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Throughout the ten tracks of Invisible Cities, Pete Malinverni's beautifully conceived and executed disc on the Reservoir Music imprint, Tom Melito's drumming is based on a certain amount of restraint and the capacity to meld into everything that goes on around him. Melito's unusually refined approach to the instrument is a refreshing change from the legion of contemporary trapsters who are loud and assertive to the point of insensitivity. Because his drumming is straightforward and self-effacing rather than cluttered and clamorous, you often have to listen carefully to grasp his impact on Malinverni's music. Every stroke is meticulously placed. Sometimes ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Top Releases of 2008

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It's impossible to do justice to all of the fine new music issued in 2008. So I've listed the eleven discs that had the greatest impact on me. Each one includes the name of the drummer who was essential in making the music special.

Pete Malinverni Invisible Cities (Reservoir Music) Tom Melito

Ellis Marsalis Quartet Open Letter to Thelonious (Elm Music) Jason Marsalis

Grant Stewart Young At Heart (Sharp Nine Records) Joe Farnsworth

Ruslan Khain For Medicinal Purposes Only! (Smalls Records) Phil Stewart

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Frank Butler on Curtis Counce's "Landslide"

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“Man, I feel like cookin' this evening,"* Frank Butler proclaimed while setting up his drums in the Contemporary Records studio on October 6, 1956. Over a half-century later, his words still have the ring of absolute truth. The session, led by bassist Curtis Counce and released in 1957 as Landslide, was an incandescent beginning to Butler's recording career. The California-based trapster had previously amassed an impressive resume, including gigs with Dave Brubeck's combo and the big bands of Duke Ellington and Edgar Hayes. Throughout the record's six tracks, Butler is positively inspired, holding the band together in tandem with Counce's ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Pete Zimmer: Chillin' Live @ Jazz Factory

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In an era when serving a lengthy apprenticeship in a working band is no longer an option, young players who shun fashionable pop-influenced sounds in favor of traditional jazz styles must be very resourceful. Thirty-year-old drummer/composer/bandleader Pete Zimmer balances a desire to extend the modern straight-ahead mainstream into the twenty-first century and the ability to support his ambitions by taking care of the business that surrounds the music. Shortly after arriving in New York City in 2001, Zimmer put together a band of like-minded peers, found a substantial amount of work, and began releasing records on his Tippin' Records imprint.

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Louis Hayes at Showplace Studios

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Housed in the rear of a nondescript building on a busy northern New Jersey thoroughfare, Showplace Studios is a no frills workspace nearly devoid of worldly distractions. The Showplace consists of an office, a small lounge, a control room, and studio. Regardless of where you are in the compact area, everything is just a few steps away. Before the musicians arrive to begin the day's recording, the place is silent except for the low drone of the recording machinery. The only sign of life is a small TV in the lounge turned to CNN with the sound off. ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Rhythm In Every Guise: Top Ten for 2007

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It's impossible to do justice to all of the excellent 2007 releases, so here are ten that had the greatest impact on me. With one exception, each includes the name of a drummer who was essential in making the music special.

Grant StewartIn the Still of the Night (Sharp Nine)Drummer: Joe Farnsworth

Tardo HammerLook Stop and Listen (Sharp Nine)Drummer: Joe Farnsworth

Bob DevosPlaying For Keeps (Savant Records)Drummer: Steve Johns

Frank Basile Quintet



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