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Baby Dodds

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There is a heritage that is traced, followed and respected by New Orleans drummers. They consider themselves part of a living continuum, musicians of a tradition which dates back to Congo Square, to the source of the African rhythms. There is a definitive drumming style that has evolved, yet has remained firmly rooted in the past, to the turn of the last century, and a drummer who established the jazz fundamentals of the instrument. This is his story. Warren “Baby” Dodds was born in New Orleans on Christmas Eve in 1894. His grandfather was a drummer at Congo Square, and his brother Johnny Dodds was a clarinetist

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Article: Interview

Cindy Blackman Santana: Rhythmic And Musical Force

Read "Cindy Blackman Santana: Rhythmic And Musical Force" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


It's the 1980s in New York City. It's the place to be for musicians looking to make a name for themselves with hopes of finding steady gigs and recording dates. Drummer Cindy Blackman (long before her marriage to Carlos Santana) is there, fresh out of Berklee College of Music. She's there to meet people, ...

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Article: Album Review

Wadada Leo Smith's Great Lakes Quartet: The Chicago Symphonies

Read "The Chicago Symphonies" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The prolific virtuoso Wadada Leo Smith gave us two TUM Records box sets in the first half of 2021 and will end the year with two more, including the very ambitious The Chicago Symphonies. The four-disc collection features the trumpeter/composer's Great Lakes Quartet with saxophonist/flutist Henry Threadgill, bassist John Lindberg and drummer Jack DeJohnette. The final ...

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Article: Under the Radar

A Different Drummer, Part 2: Royal Hartigan

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 2: Royal Hartigan" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Drums of Life--Drums of DeathThe ruins of the Anasazi people stand undisturbed in the cliffs between the high mesas and the canyon floors of the southwest. Dating to 2500 B.C., the multi-story adobe pueblos and stone cities were the sites of the ancient indigenous peoples of North America. Archeologists have uncovered an assortment of percussion instruments ...

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Article: Book Review

Kick It: A Social History Of The Drum Kit

Read "Kick It: A Social History Of The Drum Kit" reviewed by David A. Orthmann


Kick It: A Social History Of The Drum Kit Matt Brennan 371 Pages ISBN: #978-0-19-068387-0 Oxford University Press 2020 Matt Brennan's Kick It: A Social History Of The Drum Kit is a complex, meticulously researched piece of work that spans several centuries. In the course of over three ...

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Article: Under the Radar

Women in Jazz, Part 1: Early Innovators

Read "Women in Jazz, Part 1: Early Innovators" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


"Lil Hardin [Armstrong]...often imagined herself standing...at the bottom of a ladder, holding it steady for Louis as he rose to stardom." (Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, 2012). “The all-female band is an anomaly in music, one that must constantly prove itself as a 'band,' and not just 'girls playing music together.'" (Mary Ann Clawson, 1999). Everything ...

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Article: Under the Radar

Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part II

Read "Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part II" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Part 1 | Part 2 Part 1 of Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands looked at the roots, drivers and challenges of the travelling groups who brought jazz music to the non-urban areas of the Southern Plains, through one-night-stands, in often impromptu venues. A black phenomenon, often misappropriated by white musicians, promoters, ...

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Article: Under the Radar

Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part I: New Orleans and Chicago

Read "Culture Clubs: A History of the U.S. Jazz Clubs, Part I: New Orleans and Chicago" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Marching bands, ragtime music, and the blues, were all well-entrenched and spreading up the Mississippi River Valley from New Orleans at the beginning of the twentieth century. Dixieland was the popular music staple and with the all-white Original Dixieland Jass Band recording the first jazz side, “Livery Stable Blues," in 1917, an original musical language was ...

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Article: Drum Addiction

Less Is More? Really?

Read "Less Is More? Really?" reviewed by Mat Marucci


There have been popular views by certain so-called experts that seem to have been accepted as dogma, the term “less is more" being one of them. However, as in any subject from sports to politics to science to religion, every pundit has an equal who has a contrary opinion. I, for one, am bothered by some ...

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Article: Multiple Reviews

A provocative pair of releases from drummer Andrew Drury: Content Provider and The Drum

Read "A provocative pair of releases from drummer Andrew Drury: Content Provider and The Drum" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian


There is no doubt that Andrew Drury is one of most innovative and bold drummers on the modern music scene. Over a career spanning two decades he has pushed the boundaries of his kit and has also emerged as an adventurous improviser and composer. With two provocative releases on Soup and Sound label Drury exhibits the ...


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