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Carthage
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« on: April 23, 2009, 09:59:12 AM »

  Hi, 

      Many times Great drummers names have been mentioned in the forum.  Everyone has drummers they like and think are great, but which ones are really great and not just hyped up by radio stations, mtv, and people impressed with stick twirling?

      There is more to drumming than playing a bunch of fast notes and tricky beats.  There are such things (which can never be captured by engineers, triggers, machines. and fast chops).  Those things are taste, dynamics, feeling, creativity. emotion, passion, and the drummers own interpretation of what he is playing.

      So, I would like to introduce one of the "TRULY" great drummers and introduce an example of his playing that will allow you to understand the difference between a real drummer and the pile of crud that is being pawned off on everyone today.

      The first drummer and example I would like to introduce is Max Roach.   The song that I would like to introduce to listen to is "Sweet Clfford" off the cd 'Brown and Roach Incorporated'.


The muscians include:  Max Roach - drums
                                  Clifford Brown - trumpet
                                  Harold Land - Tenor Sax
                                  Richie Powell - Piano
                                  George Morrow - Bass
 
   
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/dxEHYwgSlX8&amp;ap=%2526fmt%3D18&amp;rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/dxEHYwgSlX8&amp;ap=%2526fmt%3D18&amp;rel=0</a>
                               
                                 

      If you want to be a great drummer, then you need to know who the great drummers are and what they sound like and how they play. You have to listen to (and watch if possible) as many of them as possible as much as possible.
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2009, 12:38:32 AM »

Don you are on the money.   You have cited a truly great example of a musician with so much passion, and originally.


I advise serious drummers to listen for inspiration and then let your mind and ears and emotions create your own musical interpretations. 


Being musical and creating a deep grove, to which your audiences responds.....is the greatest high you can get.  Flash and glitter can be entertaining for some folks.......but I admire those great musicians who play with their heart and soul....and you feel that moment with them.   For me, that's music that memories are made of.   
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2009, 05:21:28 AM »

Hi,

       Another great drummer that absolutely must be listened to when you are talking about great drummers is Philly Joe Jones.  A song that will let you hear the difference between greatness and the hype of today is "Salt Peanuts" from the cd 'Philly Joe's Beat'. 

       It's an old album that was reissued along with some extra songs on it featuring Philly Joe Jones and Elvin Jones (who will be coming soon).

The Musicians include:  Philly Joe Jones - drums
                                  Paul Chambers - bass
                                  Walter Davis - piano
                                  Michael Downs - cornet
                                  Bill Barron - tenor sax
                                 
                                   

       As with any real music there isn't anything to say, just listen.  There is a drum solo.

Don
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2009, 10:53:14 AM »

Don has cited some very fine drum masters and I agree that is well worth your time to listen to the way they approach playing a drum set. 

It takes an active combination of careful listening and serious practice to develop the ability to play musically on a drum set.  Drum set artistry requires more intense application of those  previous endeavors plus a creative imagination and the demonstrated ability to masterfully express your musical statements.

For most of us mortals, that’s a life-long pursuit to an infinite numbers of “next levels”.

Different genres of music call for slightly different ways of approaching the drummer's role.  However, today's demands, more than ever before, require sucessful drummers to have a working knowledge of a variety of styles.  Don't paint yourself into a corner by being narrow minded or thinking that music doesn't continue to evolve in multiple directions.

For the most part, a reasonably intelligent person can learn to whack a snare drum or stomp on a bass drum pedal....and to play some patterns.  But the ability to create musical tones within the context of the mood of the tune and to support the vibe desired, is the real skill serious drummers need to pursue with a relentless passion.  All of this is simply my opinion.  I'd welcome more discussion, regardless of your point of view.

Keep the groove!
KEN
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2009, 07:32:57 AM »

Hi,

       Those are some good comments Ken.  I would like to add another truly great drummer to the list, and he is Elving Jones.  Just like the other drummers, he has been recorded countless times, and just like the other drummers, this is only one of his recordings offering some amazing drumming.

      The song is "Chasin' the Trane" which can be heard on 'Live at the Village Vanguard' or the 4 cd set 'The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings'.  There isn't a solo on this 16 minute version, but there is enough improvisation to keep you glued to what he's playing. 

The main musicians are:  John Coltrane - tenor sax
                                     Jimmy Garrison - bass
                                     McCoy Tyner - piano
                                     Elvin Jones - drums

On this particular song, McCoy Tyner doesn't play, just sax, bass, and drums.

Don


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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2009, 03:20:46 PM »

Well,

It would certainly take a long long list starting with Baby Dodds to complete this list. However one should not overlook that modern drumming has progressed at an incredible rate since the time cats like Max came up.

I dont consider Max or Elvin or Buddy any greater than people like Donati or Weckl since what all those guys have in common is that they took drumming to the next level.

Some "truly" great drummers are very famous, others are not and in many cases by choice.

My students don't listen to Coltrane and Bird all day long like I used to do and I don't push it. We have a lot of great drummers today who are just as important and "truly great" as Elvin or Max. This is why i'm still interested in drumming.

My opinion,,, 

p.s.

"taste, dynamics, feeling, creativity. emotion, passion, and the drummers own interpretation of what he is playing.
"
Those are eliments without exeption possesed by drummers with good tecnique and "chops". Technique without those eliments is simply bad technique. A drummer needs to be able to play in any style, at any tempo and solo within any style at any tempo. Obviously someone who posseses that ability does know how to play with "taste,dynamics" ect.

Not having that technical ability leaves the drummer with a lot of homework to do, which is fun. He can still be a good drummer and a great one even, but that in it self does not minimize the achievements made by technical virtuosos, famous or not.



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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2009, 04:35:51 PM »

Gunnar adds yet another dimension to this interesting topic.  I certainly agree with him and it really makes you pause and seriously think about your own current strengths and weaknesses.

Good post!
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2009, 11:13:45 AM »

 Hi,   

       Another great drummer that should be listened to is Joe Morello.  He has taken drums to a level that few could hope to attain.  But, again, for those who truly aspire to be drummers, he needs to be listened to. He gives new meaning to control.

      The song that gives an amazing performance, and that I've never heard duplicated by anyone, is "Far More Drums" off the cd 'Time Further Out".  Besides the taste that's involved, it's the fact that he plays it in 5/4 time.  You can listen to this solo forever and still be floored every time you hear it.  Joe is one of the truly great drummers.

The musicians are:  Dave Brubeck - piano
                             Paul Desmond - alto sax
                             Eugene Wright - bass
                             Joe Morello - drums

   
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/558yG3abVlI&amp;ap=%2526fmt%3D18&amp;rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/558yG3abVlI&amp;ap=%2526fmt%3D18&amp;rel=0</a>


    Since this list is for the drummers who aren't familiar with the truly great drummers, you will definitly have a treat when you hear this.  And I should add that this list is not a contest of who is the greatest drummer or is it about anyone being better than someone else.  It's just a list of great drummers for drummers to listen to, who aren't familiar with the greats, so that they can learn more about the drums and the unlimited potential that can be achieved with serious practice and without gimmicks. 

     Hopefully, if you are able to listen to these songs and others songs with these drummers, you will become inspired to do more.  This list is to show you what is possible with just a few drums, some sticks, and hard work.  When I started playing drums, it would have been nice to have a list of people to listen to for  inspiration and to show me what is possible and what can be attained.

     And, since it is not my intention to overwhelm people with a huge list of a million drummers, I'm introducing the drummers little by little, so people can digest the information and have time to think about it.  With patience, it's just possible that  a drummer that someone likes will appear on the list.

Don 
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2009, 02:27:42 PM »

I was in touch with Joe a few years back since I was meaning to go study with him. He was incredibly gracious about that and kind and his wife also.

Joe has written some excelent books that eweryone should check out.

Another drummer who I listened to a lot is Ed Thigpen. A master. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2009, 04:05:23 PM »

Stellar picks
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2009, 09:06:39 PM »

I would like to add to this a drummer from another direction simply becourse I feel that it's important for people to know about him. He left behind some of the tastyest rock-pop-fusion drumming that I have ever heard.

This is the unbelieveable and amasing Mark Craney who passed away much to soon.

http://www.markcraney.org/
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2009, 12:37:15 AM »

Hi,


         Ed Thigpen is one of the greats.  I especially like his work with Oscar Peterson among many other things he's done.  He just seemed to have found a "home" with the Trio.

         Since there has been some discussion about brushes I would like to suggest listening to "Thag's Dance" on 'The Sound of the Trio'.  It's brush work all the way with a very nice solo.  It shows what can be done with brushes.

The members are:   Oscar Peterson - piano
                              Ray Brown - bass
                              Ed Thigpen - drums

This has been reissued with bonus tracks.

          It is my belief that many drummers today really don't understand what it means to truly groove.  That word has been thrown around and diluted, so it has no meaning anymore.  Sort of like the word "cool".  Today everything's "cool".

          Ed always grooves so you can pick just about anything he has done and go with it.  But, a favorite of mine that always sounds so cool and grooves with the feeling that good music should have is "Tonight" from the cd 'West Side Story'.  His playing on that song says it all. 

The members are the same.

Also, thanks for mentioning Mark Craney.  He is certainly an excellent drummer, and he should be remembered.

Don
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2009, 02:32:42 AM »

There are several great drummers of yesterday that continue to inspire some of us older drummerseven  today.  Likewise, many of other great drummers that we "older drummers" consider as a newer generation of great drummers, although to YOUNGER drummers THOSE SAME DRUMMERS are considered in much the same way the older drummers think of Buddy Rich!

I believe Don is simply trying to bring some of the, perhaps, forgotten older drumming pioneers to the attention of younger drummers.

I believe that Gunnar is making the point that those that followed the heritage lefy to us by the original drumming pioneers have "carried the torch" and continued to move drumming skills to even higher levels.

Yes, drumming skills and the expectations demanded for today's top drum chairs have continued to evolve.  Now, more than ever, you must be knowledgeable of more musical styles and playing techniques.

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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2009, 08:33:50 AM »

Mark Craney took drumming to a new level with Jethro Tull's A album. He is one of the greatest drummers that ever lived and has a place up there with anyone.

Young drummers don't have a particular problem with grooves like suggested here. Their point of view is different, their influences are not the same and therefore their area of interest.

I would like to point out though that we are for the most part using the same rudiments as those guys did. I recomend Miles Davies 1962 - 1967 for those interested in serious be bob playing for example. I use certain exercises for my students to help them obtain that flow that Tony Williams had there but somehow he him self lost sight of that in the 70s. and I'm not shure if it realy ever returned to him again. I think he got bored with it all around the age of 19.

It is also important to understand that, there are particular eras in eweryones playing that may be more interesting than others.

Check out Art Blakey in the 1930's and compare him to Mitch Mitchel, there is a connection. Compare Steve Gadd and Ian Paice, there is also a connection we call pocket, along with great stickwork. Both of them are equally important.

There are old recordings and videos with Dave Weckl sounding and looking equal to Steve Gadd. So there are many interesting angles to this discussion.

I recomend listening to Elvin Jones for textures and sound, dynamics, interpretation. I don't think one should attemt to study him to much technically though since it is simply out of the question. In order to do that one would have to overlook the technical aspect altogether and obtain background on his influences.

Lets say Elvin is playing with Coltrane in Tokyo, there he meets up with a percussionist from Lebanon. Those guys hang out, probably cannot speak one word to each other, but still they are sharing ideas, crossrhythmic eastern rhythms get mixed up with some of Elvin's afro-cuban and someheow this ends up in a straight ahead jazz tune. What may come out of that is something that cannot be defined. It can only be enjoyed but never copied. Should not even be attemted without the perfect background.
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2009, 02:52:09 AM »

 Hi,

        Another great drummer to listen to and learn from is Dannie Richmond.  One of the things drummers are missing today, in my opinion, is feeling.  They have the passion and obviously chops, but they seem to (not all of them) be missing out on the feeling part unless you consider trying to play as many tricky beats as fast as you can all with no dynamics, feeling.  If that is the case, then I would have to say drum machines have feeling since that's what a lot of dummers and I mean "great drummers" of today sound like.  Note again I said "not all", but a lot.

        So, continuing on, a good song that will give a good representation of feeling, and of course that does not mean the other drummers don't have feeling, is "Better Git it in Your Soul" off the Charlie Mingus cd 'MINGUS AH UM'.  Dannie was not a drummer of chops like Buddy or Max, but man, could he make up for it in feeling.  You should enjoy this and the whole album should you actually deicide to listen to it and hopefully get inspired to do more.


The members are:   Charlie Mingus - bass
                              Jimmy Knepper - trombone
                              John Handy - alto sax & clarinet
                              Shafi Hadi - alto & tenor sax
                              Booker Ervin - tenor sax
                              Horace Parian - Piano
                              Dannie Richmond - Drums
 
               
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/SPoK1lryfh4&amp;ap=%2526fmt%3D18&amp;rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/SPoK1lryfh4&amp;ap=%2526fmt%3D18&amp;rel=0</a>
                       
                           
This cd has been reissued, remastered, and is easy to get.  Just check around for the best price.   
                             
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2009, 06:19:31 AM »

Well,

Drummers who lack "feeling" and groove is not a new problem my friend and in my opinion this was an even greater issue with your generation than it is with young people today Grin

However weather you yorself are paying much attention to young players I could not say. More drummers today use metronomes where as drummers before did not have the patience for that. Therefore timekeeping has gotten better.

A "feeling" has to transcend over to the audience but not simply exist in someones head.

And by the way, Max Roach could play fast, very fast.
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2009, 10:21:53 AM »

Hi,

       Continuing on with the list of great drummers that should be listened to for those who want to learn more about drums and what can be done with them, we have Frank Butler.  He was one of the great "West Coast" drummers.  He is an example of tastful playing and telling a story when he solos.

       A good example of his playing is in "Night in Tunisia" off the cd 'Rejoice'.  This might be a little hard to find, and you may have to get it second hand as an lp.  It's worth the hunt.

The members are:  Red Mitchell - cello (played like a bass)  Red is a bass player.
                             Jim Hall - guitar
                             Frank Strazzeri - piano
                             Jimmy Bond - bass
                             Frank Butler - drums

      If that album is too difficult to find, then another good example of his drumming can be found on the song "Caravan" off the cd  'At The Renaissance'.  This cd is available.

The members are:  Ben Webster - tenor saxaphone
                             Jim Hall - guitar
                             Red Mitchell - bass
                             Jimmy Rowles - piano
                             Frank Butler - drums

Don
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2009, 12:56:33 AM »

Don, you have got me looking through a lot of my old LP's and finding sonic treasures that I haven't played in years!  That makes me glad I have a quality turntable and speakers.

I also found a video of drum solos from great jazz and big band drummers of the pasts....all in B & W footage......and, of course....lots of Gretsch, Slingerland, and Ludwig drums too.  Droooooool.
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2009, 10:44:47 AM »

Hi,

     I'm glad to hear it Ken.  I would like to add another great drummer who plays with amazing feelng, passion, and improvisation, and he is Chuck Lampkin.  The song that gives an excellent example of his drumming is "Kush" on the cd 'An Electrifying Evening with Dizzy Gillespie'.  It's in 6/8 and cooks.  This is a great album, all of it is amazing. It's "live" and the cd has been reissued and remastered.

The members are:  Dizzy Gillespie - trumpet
                             Lalo Schifrin - piano
                             Leo Wright - alto sax, flute
                             Bob Cunningham - bass
                             Chuck Lamkin - drums

Don
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2009, 09:57:05 PM »

Must say I am learning a great deal fro this thread.
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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2009, 08:14:10 AM »

Hi,

        Big band drumming is usually overlooked by drummers these days unless they're listening to Buddy or possibly Gene Krupa or even The Count or The Duke.  It takes a special kind of animal to play big band music and make it swing and cook.  It's probably the most difficult type of drumming to master .  Note, I said master.  Not many drummers out there have.

       With big band drumming, and I'm not talking about Guy Lambardo, I'm talking about jazz.  I would like to introduce a great drummer who is a true master of big band drumming and fufills everything a great drummer should have to make the band play at it best. 

        He is Mel Lewis.  Mel has played a lot of different kinds of jazz, but back in the 60s The Village Vanguard started having jam sessions on Monday nights.  Thad Jones and Mel start jamming there and soon the Thad Jones - Mel Lewis big band was created and became the Monday night house band at the Vanguard. 

        They played some amazing music there and some of it got put on vinyl.  Unfortunaltely some of it isn't available anymore unless you can find it in a second hand shop.  But, some of it is available.  The song that will give you a great example of his playing is "The Second Race" on the cd 'Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Live at the Village Vanguard"  which has been reissued and remastered with extra tracks.

         Mel plays with brushes a lot so you can hear how brushes can be played with a big band.  He is another drummer that plays with taste, dynamices, passion, and improvisation (which takes great skill in a big band)

The members are:  Thad Jones - Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn
                             Bill Berry - Trumpet
                             Jimmy Nottingham - Trumpet
                             Marvin Stamm - Trumpet
                             Snooky Young - Trumpet
                             Richard Gene Williams - Trumpet         
                             Bob Brookmeyer - Trombone
                             Tom McIntosh - Trombone
                             Cliff Heather - Trombone (Bass)
                             Garnett Brown - Trombone
                             Eddie Daniels - Clarinet, Sax (Tenor)
                             Jerome Richardson - Clarinet, Flute, Sax (Alto), Sax (Soprano)
                             Jerry Dodgion - Flute, Sax (Alto)
                             Joe Farrell - Flute, Sax (Tenor)
                             Pepper Adams - Clarinet, Sax (Baritone)
                             Richard Davis - Bass
                             Sam Herman - Guitar, Shaker
                             Sir Roland Hanna - Piano
                             Mel Lewis - Drums

     Interesting to note for those who don't know is that Thad Jones, Hank Jones, and Elvin Jones are brothers.  And, the whole cd is great.

Don
 
 
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« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2009, 08:53:43 PM »

Hi, 

       Today, I'd like to introduce another great drummer who might not be as well know as some of the others.  He isn't flashy, but he has a consistency to his playing that always provides the drive and rhythm necessary to keep the band always cooking.

       Kenny Clarke is one of the originators of bebop drumming and was the original drummer for the Modern Jazz Quartet.  (Connie Kay took over that posistion until the end)  He has played with countless groups.  He was the first drummer to shift time keeping from the bass drum to the cymbal.  So, that jazz lick you hear on the cymbal, ta-taa-ta-ta, is his baby.  He created many of the cymbal rides so common today and many of the  syncopations between bass drum and snare.  Because of his "bombs" on the bass drum and other innovative bass drum work he was nicknamed Klook-Mop later shortened to Klook. 

       He wrote his own series of drum exercises like you find in Jim Chapin's book years before Chapin did.  (I'm not trying to take anything away from Chapin.  He is great and I've been through his book many times - everyone should have a copy of it and use it)  So, we owe a lot to this man.  It is true that Jo Jones was creating a lot of snycopated rythyms back at that time too, but that is another drummer for another time.

       There are many great recordings of him, but a song that you can hear his style on is "Porky" on the cd   "'That's Nat' Adderley".  This cd is available as an import from Japan.  Altough Kenny can be heard with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and countless other people, there is an interesting solo he does on the song  "La Ronde" when he was with the MJQ.  It's now available again on the cd 'The Complete Modern Jazz Quartet Prestige And Pablo Recordings'.  But, don't get that mixed up with the "La Ronde Suite".  That has four versions of La Ronde in it but isn't as exciting to listen to.  Both La Rondes are on the "Complete"   If you hunt around, you can get it a good price.



The members of the Nat Adderley group are:  Nat Adderley - Cornet
                                                                   Jerome Richardson - Tenor sax and flute
                                                                   Hank Jones - Piano
                                                                   Wendell Marshall - Bass
                                                                   Kenny Clarke - Drums

The members of MJQ are:         Milt Jackson - Vibes
                                              John Lewis - Piano
                                              Percy Heath - Bass
                                              Kenny Clarke - Drums (until Connie Kay became the new drummer)

Don
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2009, 10:25:00 PM »

Kudo's Don......this thread is rapidly becoming a great historical tutor for drummers that may not be aware of many of the drummers you are citing.

KEN
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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2009, 09:25:31 AM »

Hi,

      Thanks Ken.  I've found myself digging through my old stuff and finding things I forgot I had.  So, this is actually good for me too.  To me, it's a thrill listening to a good drummer playing good music.  There is always somethng to learn "steal", and you never know when that little drum part you borrowed from some drummer will end up being played in a song you're playing sometime.

      If you are going to improvise, you need ideas.  You get ideas from listening to other drummers.  The more drummers you listen to, the more ideas you can keep inside you waiting for that moment when you can play them.

      Strangely enough, I have found myself plyaing jazz in heavy metal and heavy metal in jazz, but in a way that fits the music.

       I would like to introduce another great drummer to those who are not familiar with him, and he is Shelly Manne.  For newer drummers who have heard his name and can't understand what the deal is, it's like this.

       Shelly has played everything and with almost everyone in jazz (Stan Kenton, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and you could just keep going.   He is one of the founders of West Coast jazz.

       He has won more jazz and popularity polls than any other drummer.  For example:

1.  Down Beat readers poll - eight times.
2.  Metronome poll - eleven times.
3.  Playboy poll - four times.
4.  British Melody Maker poll - three times.
5.  Hamburg Jazz Echo poll - three times.

       Because of this, he and Barney Kessel (guitar and poll winner) and Ray Brown (bass and poll winner)  formed a group and called it The Poll Winners.  The made a few albums that are very smooth and cool.

       The strange thing about Shelly is he shunned drum solos.  He would play one if it was musical and fit the song, but he didn't care much for showing off just for the sake of showing off.  So, there aren't a lot of Shelly Manne drum solos around.  So, why did he win all those polls?  Because he could play the perfect thing at the perfect time and make the band cook or swing or groove or whatever the band needed to do with feeling and taste that was always "right on".

       Shelly's words:  "it isn't how loud or fast you play that counts, it's what you have to say. Hands are nothing unless they are extensions of the heart".

       Two examples of his playing are on (1.)  "Black Hawk Blues" off the cd 'Shelly Manne and His Men at the Black Hawk Vol. 3' and  (2.)   "Me and Some Drums" off the cd 'Shelly Manne 2 3 4'.  This song is completey improvised from beginning to end.

The members at the Black Hawk are:  Shelly Manne - Drums
                                                        Joe Gordon - Trumpet
                                                        Richie Kamuca - Tenor Sax
                                                        Victor Feldman - Piano
                                                        Monty Budwig - Bass

The members on "Me and My Drums" are:  Shelly Manne - Drums
                                                              Coleman Hawkins - Piano and Tenor Sax

Don

       

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« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2009, 03:43:28 PM »

This great history lesson continues and it is well worth researching Don's links.
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