Tag: drums

Steve Smith: Drummer For All Seasons

steveSmithSteve Smith is best known as the drummer for the rock band Journey, but the Berklee educated Smith has played and recorded with a long list of jazz greats including Buddy DeFranco, Jean-Luc Ponty, Mike Stern, Scott Henderson, Jeff Berlin, and Larry Coryell. In this new interview with R.J. DeLuke and AllAboutJazz, Smith discusses everything from his early days in Boston, to touring the world with a rock and roll band to recent recording projects. On having to learn how to play rock songs with Journey after having played virtually nothing but fusion and straight ahead jazz until that point:

“I didn’t really know how to play rock songs. I had to discipline myself to play drums in a very compositional way. Which means I needed a particular beat for the verse and then another beat for the chorus and something else for the bridge, then some fills to pull it all together. That was a very different way of conceiving of playing the drums. Before, I was playing time feels behind people. Not necessarily a repetitive beat. Supporting soloists. I hadn’t worked with a vocalist really. Someone might sing a pop tune when I was playing a Top 40 gig in Boston, but I wouldn’t consider them great singers. Steve Perry was a great singer. That was an education. Part of what was interesting about it was it was so new and I had never done it before. It was a great experience for me.”

Click here to read Steve Smith: Drummer For All Seasons

Steve Gadd: Consummate Drummer

SteveGaddHere is a new interview with the great Steve Gadd from R.J. Deluxe at AllAboutJazz. As Deluke says, it might be easier to list the people he hasn’t played with than those he has (Paul Simon, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Paul McCartneySteely Dan, The Manhattan Transfer, Al Di MeolaChuck MangioneHubert LawsJoe FarrellGeorge Benson the Brecker BrothersFrank SinatraDave Grusin, Michael McDonald…).

Gadd talks about everything from his his early days to Eric Clapton to the Mickey Mouse Club in this piece. Enjoy!

From the interview:

“With studio work, a lot of times you don’t hear the music before you get in there. You go in and listen to what people are saying. I try to get them to play either the demo or get them to sit at the piano or the guitar and play the song before we start playing so that when people start using words, you know what they’re referring to. If you’ve never heard the song, its just words. That’s one rule I try to keep in place: to listen to what the song is before we do it in the studio. You either have the artist sing it or play it, or a lot of times they have a demo.”

Click here to read Steve Gadd: Consummate Drummer

—Peter Blasevick

 

 

 

Conversations with Jimmy Cobb

In today’s post, the NYU Steinhardt Jazz Interview Series at SubCulture in New York continues as Dr. David Schroeder interviews legendary jazz drummer and member of Miles Davis’s band Jimmy Cobb on Nov 22nd, 2014. Cobb discusses his time with Miles, being largely self-taught, his first arrival in New York, his opportunity to play with Charlie Parker, and a lot more in this hour-long interview. Great stuff!

—Peter Blasevick

Billy Cobham: Self- Expression

Today, a nice long interview with drummer Billy Cobham from the UK National Jazz Archive. The Panamanian American jazz drummer, composer and bandleader talks to Les Tomkins in 1974 about New York, being a bandleader, jazz as ‘dance music’, live performance, and a lot more. From the interview:

Do you regard it as important to make the amount of preparations that you do for your stage act?

Sure, it’s extremely important, and we’re nowhere near where I’d like us to be. We need strong sound equipment, and people that are competent to handle it, plus good lighting people that are competent to work in collaboration with the band and the sound. It’s a matter of time; if we can last out through the natural elements that are against us, it’ll work out.

Normally, though, do you not prepare before the show starts? Only at the Rainbow more than an hour elapsed between the two parts of the programme, before you were ready to come on and play.

Now, that’s a problem that’s a technical one. It’s also a problem of poor planning on the part of promoters who put on shows. If a promoter knows that he doesn’t have a large enough stage to handle both bands, or enough people to take care of the equipment, the worst thing he can do is to accept an opening act that is as big as his star attraction, because it means that the show is not gonna move as smoothly as it could. Therefore, with that, you have a lot of problems.

Click here to read Billy Cobham: Self- Expression

—Peter Blasevick

T.S.Monk: My Father Thelonious Monk

tSMonkThe great Thelonious Monk would have been 97 years young today, and to celebrate one of the great geniuses of American music, a little something different: a 2013 irockjazz.com interview from with Monk’s son, T. S. Monk, in which the younger musician speaks at length about growing up with an American legend for a father. From the interview with Paul Pennington:

theloniousMonk

On recognizing his father’s genius

TSM: I kind of concluded that after a while. Of course, he was clearly different than everyone else’s dad. He was a lot more intense it seemed. From every indication I got from the people around him he was a lot more intelligent than everybody else too [laughs]. So I knew something was going on. Adults sometimes don’t know what they’re saying to kids, so if you have people saying to you, ‘Do you know who you your father is’? That’s a crazy question for a six year old, you know. I mean what do you mean ‘Do I know who my father is’? He’s my daddy. So that was very confusing. Of course, they were referring to his musical accomplishments. But I didn’t know anything about that. All I knew is that my father played the piano. Most of my friend’s fathers drove buses and were mailmen and did things like that. So I knew he had something going on. But in terms of trying to convey the magnitude of his genius to a ten year old it’s a silly thing to even try to do.

Click here to read T.S.Monk: My Father Thelonious Monk

—Peter Blasevick

Thad Jones and Mel Lewis 1969

thadJonesHere is a great talk with bandleaders Thad Jones and Mel Lewis speaking with Les Tomkins in 1969. They talk a lot about their legendary orchestra and its players and how fortunate the two of them have been in their careers. From the interview:

Lewis: I don’t think any two guys could be as lucky as Thad and I, as far as having something that you can be proud of till your dying day. The kind of thing you dream about. And most people would never attempt it, because they’d figure: “Oh, it couldn’t happen.” But it can. We’ve proved it—to ourselves, anyway. If somebody else doesn’t melLewisbelieve it, i doesn’t matter; we know it, and we’re two of the happiest guys in the world right now.

Jones: We’ve both been sidemen in other bands for practically all of our musical lives; we’ve never really done the things that we wanted to do as individuals. When you play with somebody else, you always try to fit that particular mould, to give what is in you to give within whatever’s going on. I worked for that bandleader; I gave him what he wanted. This is the type of attitude that I’ve come to expect; otherwise you’ll never be able to give one hundred per cent of you. And any band must do this, in order to be an orchestra, to play as one.

Click here to read Thad Jones and Mel Lewis 1969

—Peter Blasevick

Three part 2013 Gary Husband interview

garyHusbandHere is a three part 2013 interview with drummer and keyboardist Gary Husband from AllAboutJazz. In part one Husband speaks of his formative years, talks at length of his decades-long relationship with Allan Holdsworth, discusses Jack Bruce and Gary Moore, and speaks about his solo piano recordings. Part two covers working with John McLaughlin, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, Wayne Krantz, Jimmy Herring, Mike Stern, Steve Hackett, Steve Topping, Neil Taylor, and more. Part three focuses in on his latest project with Gary Husband on piano and Alex Machecek on electric guitar. He also discusses his work with Billy Cobham.

Click here to listen to Three part 2013 Gary Husband interview Part One, Part Two, Part Three

—Peter Blasevick

Vinnie Colaiuta: Beyond Black and White

vinnieColaiutaVinnie Colaiuta is one of the busiest and most admired drummers on the planet. Whether with Sting or Allan Holdsworth, Megadeath or Herbie Hancock, he is always a pea sure to listen to. Here he is in a nice 2007 interview with Modern Drummer posted on his own site. From the interview:

MD: Drummers always say, “You have to play for the song.”

VC: First of all, you have to want to play for the song. You have to enjoy doing that. Then you’ll start seeing the musical value and fulfillment in that. You’ll sense it, feel it, and know it. You’ll sense the synergy in it. You won’t even think, “Man, I could have done this really cool lick there.” That is defeatist, non-musical thinking.

Any time you strike the drums you have to be aware that you’re creating a musical event. If you think of it as something more or less technical, you’re thinking reductionistically. If you think, “I have to play the song well,” it can become a chore to develop so people will like you, versus, “I see the value of this and it makes sense.” That’s not to say that you can play anything and use your own criteria to deem it a musical event. There are laws of music. I could sit down and play a drum solo and think, “I will baffle them.”

Click here to read Vinnie Colaiuta: Beyond Black and White

Two Jack DeJohnette audio interviews

JackDeJohnetteHere are two podcast interviews with the legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette from the AllAboutJazz site. In 2011 DeJohnette discusses his famous cymbals and creating his signature sound. The following year DeJohnette talks about the next phase of his storied career, his induction as a 2012 NEA Jazz Master, and the multiple projects he took to the Newport Jazz Festival that summer.

Click here to listen to Two Jack DeJohnette audio interviews: 2011

Click here to listen to Two Jack DeJohnette audio interviews 2012

—Peter Blasevick

Rashied Ali (1935 – 2009), multi-directional drummer, speaks

rashiedAliHere is a cool transcript from a 1990 interview with drummer Rashied Ali that was conducted by Howard Mandel for the documentary The World According to John Coltrane. As you’d imagine, they mostly cover Coltrane, but there is a lot to read here about a number of different topics. From the interview, Ali speaks about playing on the same bandstand with Elvin Jones:

HM: Why did Coltrane want another drummer? What did he hear?

RA: Because he was in a drummer thing. He just wanted to free himself from playing these strict changes. The bass player and the piano player would lay these chords down, you know, and he played just about everything he could play on these chords. He played ‘em upside down. He’d turn ‘em around. He played ‘em sideways. He did just about everything he could to ‘em. And playing with the drums he didn’t have to deal with chord changes and keys and stuff like that. So he was free to play however he wanted to play. There were times I played with Trane, he had a battery of drummers, like about three conga players, guys playing batas, shakers and barrels and everything. On one of his records he did that. At the Village Vanguard, live, we had a whole bunch of drummers plus the traps. And then sometimes he would have double traps. Like in Chicago, I played double traps with a young drummer  coming up there, named Jack DeJohnette.

Click here to read Rashied Ali (1935 – 2009), multi-directional drummer, speaks

—Peter Blasevick