Big Band drum thread.

WallyY

Platinum Member
I wish.
I can't read. I wouldn't be good enough, but it would be the best type of band to play with.
 

Bart Hodge

Senior Member
There's actually very little to read in a big band chart. The majority of many charts is straight time (ding dinga-ding, dinga-ding) with a few kicks and rests sprinkled in. Nothing to difficult.

The guy that posted the YouTube video of Sting of Pearls (Glen Miller) - that's pretty common for what you'd get in the average adult big band.

I wish.
I can't read. I wouldn't be good enough, but it would be the best type of band to play with.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I miss playing in jazz band in high school and college because I love big band drumming. Love setting up the hits, keeping time, those little drum breaks. Even though big band music is considered the 'poppy' jazz, the drumming is far more bombastic, which I dig a lot.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
U.S. Navy Big Band (one of the fleet bands) for about four years. Various swing/society orchestra gigs. These days I don't what's harder to find:
An audience or the player's who can properly interpret the style.
 

mjtug

Junior Member
U.S. Navy Big Band (one of the fleet bands) for about four years. Various swing/society orchestra gigs. These days I don't what's harder to find:
An audience or the player's who can properly interpret the style.

Hands down an audience.
 

Stefan Brodsky

Senior Member
Zickos- Thanks for your post and to all who play big band music. As close as I got, was the pit orchestra in HS, where I played in Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man". I got to start the show, every nite. Every so often nowadays, I'll fire up a couple of Glenn Miller CDs to play along to, just to get back into that "swing thing". It's amazing how rhythmic those big bands were. Found this on the net recently of the old Tommy Dorsey Band, doing "Song of India", another favorite of the era. Note a young Buddy Rich on the skins. The video is a capture from the film "Las Vegas Nights", released in 1941.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&x-yt-ts=1422411861&v=9yRIUuUJpJM&x-yt-cl=84924572
 
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teggs

Junior Member
There's actually very little to read in a big band chart. The majority of many charts is straight time (ding dinga-ding, dinga-ding) with a few kicks and rests sprinkled in. Nothing to difficult.

The guy that posted the YouTube video of Sting of Pearls (Glen Miller) - that's pretty common for what you'd get in the average adult big band.
This is not strictly true. There's a lot more to Big Band music than Glen Miller! Reading and chart interpretation is an essential skill for a Big Band drummer. Whilst I agree that you can get by with rudimentary reading skills if you're playing the likes of Miller, you'd be dead in the water if the bandleader was to put a Gordon Goodwin chart in front of you.

I'm lucky enough to gig regularly with 4 different Big Bands and all of them have their challenges. There is no way I'd even be considered for these gigs if I couldn't read. That said, learning to read and interpret Big Band charts is not all that difficult. There are plenty of decent books to learn from (Steve Fidyk's book springs to mind).

Learning to read and then joining a Big Band changed everything for me and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Nice to see a Big Band discussion on here :)
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
"Learning to read and then joining a Big Band changed everything for me and I'd recommend it to anyone."

So true, I remember a very humbling experience when I was a young drummer (who thought he knew how to play "big band"). I was handed the Basie chart The Magic Flea and had a minute to look over it, then the bandleader counted it off. It was the world's fastest train wreck!
I'm not even going discuss how it went trying to play Louie Bellson's Sambadrea Swing...

Man I miss that stuff.
 

vxla

Silver Member
There's actually very little to read in a big band chart. The majority of many charts is straight time (ding dinga-ding, dinga-ding) with a few kicks and rests sprinkled in. Nothing to difficult.
I'd say that's a gross generalization. I've seen both charts with nearly nothing in them and charts that were extremely difficult.
 

RickP

Gold Member
Anyone using a 24" bass drum for their Big Band gigs currently ? Buddy used one for years (his final Radio King kit was a 26" I believe). I normally use a 20" bass drum for my Big Band gigs. I will use a 22" for larger rooms and stages.
I just picked up another Yamaha Club Custom kit with a 24" bass drum. The potential intrigues me.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I have a Yamaha maple custom 24x16 for that type of gig but it's such a beast to move around. I'm looking at the new Sonor vintage (thin) beech shell that comes in a 24x14 size. Maybe next year...
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I went to a big band gig tonight, a band made up of university teachers, students and a few graduates. Pretty advanced stuff - charts by Bob Mintzer, etc.

The drummer was a great young player in his mid 20's, great chops, etc. BUT he played on a tiny bebop kit with trashy, dark cymbals which were barely audible. I found the ride cymbal(s) sound frustrating all night. It seems to be the fashion in my town, to pound away at tiny drums in a 16 piece band (no mic's.) I wonder if the horns at the far end could actually hear the ride (and the hats) to keep in time.

Is it just me, or should the drums be a bit bigger, and the cymbals a bit clearer for big band music?
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
A Zildjians (and by extension, Sabian AA's) are touted as rock cymbals nowadays, but they were developed for big bands originally. Buddy Rich used all Zildjian A's, for example. People get in their heads "Jazz = Dark Cymbals = Stuff like K Constanioples or handmade Turkish cymbals" when in reality you're correct; big band music is LOUD. You need to think similarly to a rock drummer....you have to have the gear to cut and project. Full hornlines can get louder than people realize.
 
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