Jazz Smugglers Master Workshop

Jazz Smugglers Master Workshop
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Friday, 8 February 2013


This talk with Alex Eberhard for me was a challenge, because it always seems that the kit is quite separate from all the other instruments. Yet it was remarkable how much the drumming can be integrated into the tune, and into what the others are playing. Sorry, Alex, as a drum novice I never appreciated this before, you were a revelation.

He started off with a surprise. "It helps a lot if the drummer can play other instruments," he said. He played guitar and sang at 13 then piano. He still plays guitar and sings a lot. Maybe he is very different from other jazz drummers in this respect. I don't know and can't judge.

"Rhythm is most important followed by the tune - it's the phrasing that makes it swing or not," he said. You would expect that from a drummer but remember he also plays piano and guitar and still holds this view.

"If you know the tune you can shape the drum solo to fit over the particular song, as opposed to technical tricks that might work over any song. It is the form of the tune which is important,” he says. He says he always tries to carry the tune in his head. "The bass drum, snare drum & toms are melodic devices because of the differences in pitch. Most Jazz players prefer a resonant bass drum sound, rock people will often muffle the bass drum."

To get colour into the kit solos he might develop a rhythmic phrase and then displace it to start on a different beat.

"The point of jazz is to interact with the others. We take ideas from each other as we are playing," he says. You know, he really does that.

He was playing with Kjell, Terry, and Pete Burden at the Snowdrop. I listened to him carefully after our chat. He was picking up phrases from each of them. Terry was the best, the most prolific at feeding him rhythmic phrases, which he would pick up. Once I started to listen carefully to the drums I found their integration with the others fascinating. I've got so much to learn about this music.


In this blog We will produce tips for jazz piano, and jazz guitar together with jazz saxophone. We will cover jazz chords, jazz guitar chords, and we will deal with jazz scales. We will cover jazz songs. This site is all about jazz improvisation.
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