"Some drummers get carried away and stop listening, maybe because we are doing four or five things at the same time. You want to see if things will work out or not, but you're not paying enough attention...We think we need to make everything happen, but it's not true: Everything is already happening, all you need to do is find your place." Albert “Tootie" Heath. Interview by Ethan Iverson in Do The Math, the bad plus blog and webzine. Jeff Hirshfield's solo on Thad Jones' composition Mean What You Say" (Rich Perry Quartet, To Start Again, SteepleChase, ...read more
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 ...read more
"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 GioiaWhen 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 ... read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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