Thoughts on different types of music and different recordings from a drummer's perspective ... if you're reading this, you are probably a musician AND most likely a drummer. My thoughts here are based on drummers I admire and who have influenced me in a positive way. This is not meant to be a list of who's the best or the most talented etc. ... just people who have been an inspiration to me in various ways.
I have to start with Paul Motian, who showed me the beauty in silence, and the use of space and time. Yeah I know, silence and drumming are not things that go together. Paul was zen-like in his approach to playing - he could swing with the best but his work with Bill Evans' trio with Scott LaFaro, is a thing of intense beauty. His playing with Masabumi Kikuchi, the great piano performer and composer from Japan, and Gary Peacock, is inspiring and beautiful in the use of subtle timing and space.
Check out his work on..
"Bill Evans trio Live at the Village Vanguard " recorded 1961
Paul Motian with his trio, the album "I have the room above her " recorded 2005
"Tethered Moon, First Meeting " recorded 1990 and 1991
Next up Tony Williams. Tony, is complex in control, lightning fast, and always in the space he should be for the piece he was playing. He showed me what a really good drummer could do in a jazz setting - and in more electric - dare I say, rock settings.
Check out albums:
"Great Tokyo Meeting", Hank Jones' The Great Jazz Trio, recorded 1978. Tony's playing is fantastic here.
"Emergency!", Tony Williams Lifetime, Tony's trio with John McLaughlin and Larry Young, recorded 1969
Miles Davis' recordings - too many to mention with Tony on them. A personal favorite is "My Funny Valentine", recorded at Lincoln Center in 1964
What follows are some - not all - of current and past influences in my musical journey:
Ofri Nehemiah with Shai Maestro's quartet, the album "Human" recorded 2021Marcus Gilmore with Vijay Ivers' trio, the album "Break Stuff" recorded 2021Shinya Fukumori and his trio, the album "For 2 Akis" recorded 2018Thomas Stronen and his quintet Time is a Blind Guide, the album "LUCUS" recorded 2018Bill Bruford with King Crimson, the album "USA Live" recorded 1974Billy Hart with his quartet, the album "All Our Reasons" recorded 2012Billy Higgins with Charles Lloyd's quintet, the album "The Water is Wide" recorded 2000 (I absolutely love the music of Charles Lloyd)Art Ensemble's "Full Force", recorded 1980, Roscoe Mitchell and Don Moye (if you are not familiar with AACM musicians, this is a great place to start the journey)
Elvin Jones. Just listen to anything ... but "A Love Supreme" is a must ... John Coltrane recorded 1964
Jimmy Cobb with Miles Davis, the album "Kind of Blue" recorded 1959
Jon Christensen with the Bobo Stenson trio, the album "Serenity", recorded 2000
The notes above are just a sampling of where I am as a drummer and where I have drawn my inspiration from. I also want to mention the greats like Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson, and so many others, all those unsung heroes who played small clubs and bars and produced so many good shows and recordings.
My thoughts on drum and music instruction:
When it comes to instruction on drum-set performance and technique, I always insist that the student become proficient in the basics: drum rudiments, stick control, and at the very least, the ability to read notation and musical structure. I would never say that this is the only way to accomplish your goals. I want to be able to present the tools as a foundation and let the student say "this is how I interpret this" and discover how best they can leverage those tools to reach whatever level they are trying to get to.
I tune the lessons to the style of the type of music the student has an interest in but will still insist on working with other styles as well. I feel you cannot be well-rounded in playing if you don't understand what goes on in distinct musical genres. Someone who has an interest in becoming a solid rock drummer will find benefits in learning Jazz and Blues, and include more traditional styles like Samba and Latin.
It's not always understood at the time but if a student stays with me long enough, the benefits will become apparent. You probably noticed that I'm "Jazz-centric" but I got there by listening and learning other styles. I still listen and learn from different genres, and find inspirations in them everyday.
If the methods I have put forth have some appeal to you, please reach out so that we can discuss how they may be of use to you in your musical journey.