Jazz Smugglers Master Workshop

Jazz Smugglers Master Workshop
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Friday, 1 August 2014


Conte Candoli (trumpet) Richie Kamuca (tenor sax) Russ Freeman (piano), Monte Budwig (bass), and the brilliant Shelly Manne(drums)

I watch and listen closely to jazz drummers.

Some of them are great, interesting, involved with the music, relating to what the others are doing, and then there are the others. Of the local drummers I place Dave Trigwell and Alex Eberhardt amongst the best. Some of the others are famous, regarded as geniuses for their cleverness. But not by me.

Lets make the assumption that the perfect drummer is brilliant, clever, involved and very very fast with perfect and consistent timing. The triplets are lovely, the accents on the 2's and 4's separate them from the rock drummer thugs. I nearly threw a shoe at one of these drummers in a top jazz trio the other night. 

Here is where they go wrong in my inexpert view. 1) They play in a trio as if they are Ronnie Verrell driving the Ted Heath band. Loud, and unrelenting. Its a little trio lads, for Heaven's sake, give 'em a break. One really good drummer, always a delight with his solos, with a renowned name in Latin Jazz is guilty of this when he plays in a trio. 

2) They are too fussy and too intrusive, they get in the way of the music. Yes I want to hear interesting and varied lines,but they need to supplement the music, they are not the music itself. Another very famous local drummer does this all the time. He takes over the direction of the music. I know I must be wrong in this assessment because he is well respected by local musicians. Less is more, boys.

3) The guy I could have throttled the other night had neither of these problems. He was good, tight, and interesting. But he paid no attention to the other musicians and what they were doing. He missed half a dozen drum break chances which the pianist got but he didn't bother so the effect was lost. He played at full volume, and fussily over some lovely solos by the double bass. That is a crime because the bass solos were good, very good. I blame the other two for not telling him. Charlie Mingus would have speared him in the groin with the enpin. 

I'm getting grumpy in my old age.

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