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Dwayne Burno: Tradition

George Colligan By

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I must admit that our personal and musical friendship and relationship were experiencing tense challenges. Myron had one drummer that he regularly hired for which I shared an ironclad musical and personal affinity. He and this drummer were having struggling with issues of maturity, professionalism, and boundaries and it was affecting our group unity. At this point, Myron brought three other drummers into the fold. This began to start a divide between us. One drummer was perfect. The three of us had a great kinship and trust and shared personal and musical history together. The second, though talented and a nice enough guy, doesn't play modern jazz drums. Basically, this drummer plays with characteristics of swing era drummers, loud and heavy bass drum ala four on the floor style as opposed to the bebop technique of feathering the bass drum, the reasons and significance of which is because the low tonal and sonic register and frequency levels a of the bass drum when played hard rather than lightly feathered, makes the notes of the double bass virtually inaudible. This drummer played a style, which incorporated a mix of older era elements and more contemporary elements but my feeling was this style was ill suited for the trio's sound and feel. Then, the final drummer was brand spanking new to town. Within the week Myron brought this drummer to my attention, I heard this drummer for myself, rehearsing with a guitarist for a recording date. What I heard was potential but what most of us term "not ready for prime time" playing. This drummer's time feel and sound were wrong. So wrong that almost an entire two days of session takes were rejected and to complete Hypnosis, sessions that were demos were used to round out and complete the project. I felt like I was pulling the most obstinate of mules. Then, came Myron's next project idea. He wanted to incorporate another voice into the trio but he wanted them to function differently than what would be normally expected of this instrument. Myron choice of instrument was guitar and his musical foil, Kurt Rosenwinkel. I knew Kurt from Philadelphia. I did not at all know him well but had heard him once or twice before we both exited Philly for Boston's Berklee. Kurt was always leaps and bounds beyond the rest of the pack. This sounds like a great idea and the music that could be created and realized would likely astound. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the end result, the music on the released final product, one might think it was a ride on easy street with caviar and roses but I can tell you it certainly was not. Myron is a visionary. The best and worst of Myron's vision is that he knows exactly what he wants and will not budge until he receives it. We began about two months of intermittent rehearsals interspersed with Myron's regular night (the first Wednesday of every month) at Smalls to iron out the material. Kurt was into the idea of meshing and integrating with the band. Kurt believed he would comp and interject more like the role a pianist takes since he was the only chordal instrument. Myron's idea of Kurt's role was completely different and put the two at odds during the entire process of preparing to record. Myron wanted Kurt to play some doubled melodies, very sparse chordal comping with more sonic effects for the creation of drama. Kurt felt there was more he could contribute and more he could and should be doing to make the music happen. Myron would simply say, "That's not the concept. Don't think of yourself as part of the band. Act ike you're listening to us and you hear us. But every so often, you play a chord or long melodic line to suggest or direct but don't comp. Remember, you're not part of the band. You're separate from what's going on over here." This seemed to infuriate and frustrate Kurt to no end. There was a point where I though Kurt was literally going to bag on Myron so I prepared to suggest guitarist Ben Monder who has a similar creative and artistic greatness and I knew might handle the directives with less frustration. We finally made it to the finish line, Avatar recording Studios, to put the music down. The one thing about the date that nags and haunts me was the chosen recording methodology. There are some musicians that I've recorded with that cling to this fool's notion and belief that recording today like they did forty to fifty years ago is the best way to go. I thoroughly disagree. However, because I'm just the bassist rather than the executive producer, big- baller, shot caller, my thoughts usually remain in my pocket with my lint and change.

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