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How I play drums solos part 3
Posted On 01/10/2012 21:41:10 by Carthage
Art Blakey influenced me not only by his playing but by his thinking. When he returned to America and made "Ritual", he made a commentary on the album about his trip, the drummers in Africa and their purpose for playing the drums.

In Africa, the drummer is the most important person in the tribe (next to the chief and witch doctor). Their purpose is tell people what happened that day using drums. There are several drummers, and there is a head drummer. What they are doing when they play is tell a story. It's not about being flashy or how fast someone can play or any of the goofy things people do today. It's about telling stories with drumming. Of course, I'm sure a little flash gets in there.

So, since everyday is different, and the lives of people keep having different things happen, the drum stories are alwasy different. They do have many patterns, but the drumming changes depending on what they want to say.

For me, this was a revelation in thinking about how to play my solos. I decided I would always play my solos in a story format. I would try to speak with my drums. The question was then, how to do it.

This brings me back to the different styles emerging in the jazz world. New styles were appearing every time you turned around. You had the West Coast sound with drummers like Shelly Manne, Frank Butler and others with their softer but melodic solos.

Elvin Jones brought a completely new kind of playing that was free and unrestrained from time.

Another new kid on the block appeared first playing bop but soon created another way of playing and that was Tony Williams.

Things were quickly getting out of control. Between just those few drummers alone, the decision of what to play in a solo started becoming somekind of Gordian's knot for drum soloing for me.

Since I was teaching myself everything on the drum set, I had to give some thought to how to do this and came up with the obvious. I would just play drums solos that were suited to the kind of song I was playing at the time which is what the drummers I was trying to emulate were doing. Simple.

But, if you practice all these different syles, it's hard to stick to one style because it becomes easy to flow into another style when you're in the middle of a solo. Then when you're in the middle of doing "Caravan" for example, sort of like off the Ventures first live album which should be straight ahead, you find youself suddenly playing Evin Jones licks. You might be having a great time, but you lost your audience. So, I had to concetrate on playing solos that fit the music I was playing. End of part 3

Tags: Drum Solos



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