Jazz Drums

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Sorry, not buying it. Weckl is not and never will be a jazz drummer. He has always been a fusion drummer, which is a totally different thing. There are those out there far more qualified to make judgements over the definition of 'jazz' than I am, but fusion developed in the 60's and 70's to be a distinct form separate from jazz. The aesthetic standpoint is different, the playing styles and techniques are different, the rhythms are different and the attitudes are different.
I don't know what your experience is with "fusion" musicians, but I've been around them all of my life, and they're mostly jazz guys. There are players with little or no jazz training doing it (Dave Koz leaps to mind), but Dave Weckl isn't one of them. The players who invented the style were jazz guys. The music was a direct expansion on and extension of the modern jazz of the '60's. Despite Wynton Marsalis' partially successful campaign to limit use of the word jazz to music he approves of (plus the self-ghettoization by the LA/WAVE/smooth jazz guys), fusion has always been considered to be a form of jazz by nearly everyone else; most importantly by the majority of jazz musicians, educators, historians, and theoreticians. In fact it was the dominant form of jazz from roughly 1970-90. So this daylight you put between fusion and jazz is totally ahistorical.

Dave Weckl could creditably cover any jazz gig in the world. That makes him a jazz musician. Whether you or I are wild about him aesthetically is irrelevant.

Looked at his credits. Mainly Chick Corea and Mike Stern. Who are both fusion players. Corea was a jazz player, but also a key component in developing fusion into a distinct style of music that is not jazz.
You're going to have a hard time convincing anyone who knows anything that Chick Corea is not a jazz musician. I guess he stopped being one when he was making the Return to Forever records, then suddenly became one again when he made the things with Roy Haynes and Miroslav, and was sort of partially one when he made Three Quartets or the Akoustic band record? That's not actually the way it works.
 
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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I don't know what your experience is with "fusion" musicians, but I've been around them all of my life, and they're mostly jazz guys. There are players with little or no jazz training doing it (Dave Koz leaps to mind), but Dave Weckl isn't one of them. The players who invented the style were jazz guys. The music was a direct expansion on and extension of the modern jazz of the '60's. Despite Wynton Marsalis' partially successful campaign to limit use of the word jazz to music he approves of (plus the self-ghettoization by the LA/WAVE/smooth jazz guys), fusion has always been considered to be a form of jazz by nearly everyone else; most importantly by the majority of jazz musicians, educators, historians, and theoreticians. In fact it was the dominant form of jazz from roughly 1970-90. So this daylight you put between fusion and jazz is totally ahistorical.

Dave Weckl could creditably cover any jazz gig in the world. That makes him a jazz musician. Whether you or I are wild about him aesthetically is irrelevant.



You're going to have a hard time convincing anyone who knows anything that Chick Corea is not a jazz musician. I guess he stopped being one when he was making the Return to Forever records, then suddenly became one again when he made the things with Roy Haynes and Miroslav, and was sort of partially one when he made Three Quartets or the Akoustic band record? That's not actually the way it works.
Nowhere have I said I dislike Dave Weckl or that I deride fusion, you're making those assumptions up.

It also sounds like you can't tell the difference between the two, in which case I suggest a hearing test might be in order.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Nowhere have I said I dislike Dave Weckl or that I deride fusion, you're making those assumptions up.
Please show me where I said that.

It also sounds like you can't tell the difference between the two, in which case I suggest a hearing test might be in order.
I don't think a hearing test is going to do me any good, since we're using a written medium, but I appreciate the suggestion!
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
It's a great entry point to jazz- it's got the original, classic renditions of three of the first tunes everybody learns- an AABA, a regular blues and a blues waltz, the changes are easy to grasp, Jimmy Cobb plays a lot of time and keeps the comping sparse, and as the most famous jazz LP in the world, every single other novice musician you run into is going to know about it.
I have to agree with Con Struct on this one. If you sit down a 16 year old student who is wondering what jazz is all about, and they've listened to nothing but popular rock or rap music up to that point, Kind Of Blue isn't really the easiest pill to swallow. I start my students on more "user friendly" albums with more "pop appeal". After about a minute and a half into KOB, posture starts slumping, feet start shuffling, eyes start looking around. Kids just don't have much to grasp onto, since it's full of modal harmonies. Just sayin'...
 

Frost

Silver Member
It would probably be helpful if somebody would define jazz for the O.P.
PS Is there a definition?
There are plenty of definitions, some solid, but most varied. There is the traditional big-band view of the likes of Wynton Marseilles and then there is the view that all jazz is innovation, yet avant-garde metal with elements of a jazz sound is rarely referred to as jazz, so obviously there is something sonically that defines jazz as jazz. A lot of jazz musicians dislike anything electric/amplified.

A relatively popular opinion is that Bop is the core of jazz, this is an opinion I don't buy as I find it too narrow.

Personally I'd really like to hear others opinions on this subject, for my own interest, and for the benefit of the guy that started the thread.

Also to chime in on another persons argument, Chick Corea is definitely a jazz musician.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Wrong.
While bebop IS eventually essential listening, there is no better start than KOB. For all the reasons Todd said (though he is wrong about Weckl) and that it is easily accessable and understood by just about anyone, anywhere, ever. Not to mention it is much easier for a beginning Jazz drummer to play along to, very important.

History (music and otherwise) is built on reactions, it would be absurd to avoid something because you think it merely reactionary. Do you not read Machiavelli because it was written hundreds of years ago and directed at a government that doesn't exist? Do you not watch Godard's later films because of the social commentary? Do you avoid the Impressionists because they too were reacting to the previous art movement?

Furthermore, when talking MODERN Jazz, as in contemporary, 2011 Jazz, KOB is far more the foundation than bebop with it's modal harmonies, minimal approach and improv (and Coltrane). While rhythm changes are neccesary to know and understand for all Jazz musicians, they are anything but the foundations of modernism. As is the Brown/Roach stuff- though one of the best bebop groups ever, it sure as hell ain't modern Jazz. If you really want to go step by step construct, start with Armstrong, Ellington, etc, THAT would be how the masters did it. Bebop is jam session material.

Weckl- MFB is correct, he's as much a Jazz guy as Steve Lukather, as in, he isn't. What, Luke's played All Blues (what album is that off of again?) with Los Lobotomys? So What. If your instructional video contains any kind of sequenced music, you are not a Jazz drummer, the end.

GB
Hey, it was just my opinion. We've all got them, you know.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Hey, it was just my opinion. We've all got them, you know.
You had to know some people were going to disagree with you pretty strongly on that one! But it's all good, no one's picking on you. I usually start people with Saxophone Colossus or Monk's Dream myself, if only because they usually already own KOB.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
I never understand that when discussing late 50s Miles Davis as the entry point why everyone always jumps to the more cerebral Kind of Blue as opposed to investigating the outstanding Milestones of the same period. Gregg is right in that Jimmy Cobb is very easy to follow, but I have to feel that a drummer coming to jazz from another genre is going to want to embrace a tad more aggression. Philly Joe Jones delivers that and more on Milestones. He drives within the constraints of musical cooperation and his playing is very approachable, and I would think for a jazz novice would be more fun to listen to. His playing on Straight No Chaser alone qualifies as textbook jazz blues performance.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Gregg is right in that Jimmy Cobb is very easy to follow, but I have to feel that a drummer coming to jazz from another genre is going to want to embrace a tad more aggression.
You make a good point, Matt. KOB is one of my default recs for the jazz novice, but this is a drummer we're talking about and the recs should reflect that. I hadn't thought about that. KOB may not be the best choice to get a drummer hooked right off the bat. I agree that Milestones is great. You can't go wrong with Philly Joe, and in my experience, the modal improvisations like those found on the title track are easily accessible to someone weened on jam-oriented rock, for instance.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
His playing on Straight No Chaser alone qualifies as textbook jazz blues performance.
Billy Boy too is an absolute classic- one of the greatest tracks ever. Milestones was Tony Williams favorite record; I forget the word he used- perfect, quintessential?
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I would recommend going to www.drummerworld.com , click "Drummers" from the top menu, and start watching the tons of video there. If you then still feel compelled to play that music, get a teacher.
 

jazzgregg

Pioneer Member
I never understand that when discussing late 50s Miles Davis as the entry point why everyone always jumps to the more cerebral Kind of Blue as opposed to investigating the outstanding Milestones of the same period. Gregg is right in that Jimmy Cobb is very easy to follow, but I have to feel that a drummer coming to jazz from another genre is going to want to embrace a tad more aggression. Philly Joe Jones delivers that and more on Milestones. He drives within the constraints of musical cooperation and his playing is very approachable, and I would think for a jazz novice would be more fun to listen to. His playing on Straight No Chaser alone qualifies as textbook jazz blues performance.
I think that's a good point that I hadn't thought of either- the agression part of it. For me, When I decided to really get into Jazz as a kid, for Miles' stuff, I ended up buying KOB, Milestones, Round About Midnight, Birth of the Cool, Miles Smiles (didn't get it at all at the time), and a bunch of other stuff as well at the same time. I remember not liking BOTC (except for a couple tunes) and not getting MS, but loving the rest.

As a teacher, when I bring new students in to Jazz with KOB, its not like I force them to sit and only listen to that. I quickly introduce RAM and Milestones, but insist when they are ready that it's KOB they play along to. I think that's more than likely where the universal KOB reccomendations come from, from Jazz drummers anyway. I know if I was NOT a drummer, KOB would not be my first choice Jazz reccommendation as the harmony is more difficult to understand from a conventional point of view. Ask Cannonball:)

GB
 

Pkaneps

Senior Member
I just started attempting to learn some jazz drumming with the help of a friend of mine who has been playing a long while longer than myself, and has the knowledge to reflect that, just not the physical technique to demonstrate it.

Anyway, I listened to Miles Davis and John Coltrane at first, then expanded from there. I haven't attempted to play along with anything, but I've been listening a lot, and taking what I hear to the kit and have a little jazz jam. (My friend is also a bassist) If I had to give advice based on the little experience I have in this subject, I'd say listen like hell.

I guess the next logical step would be to play along.
 
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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I just started attempting to learn some jazz drumming with the help of a friend of mine who has been playing a long while longer than myself, and has the knowledge to reflect that, just not the physical technique to demonstrate it.

Anyway, I listened to Miles Davis and John Coltrane at first, then expanded from there. I haven't attempted to play along with anything, but I've been listening a lot, and taking what I hear to the kit and have a little jazz jam. (My friend is also a bassist) If I had to give advice based on the little experience I have in this subject, I'd say listen like hell.

I guess the next logical step would be to play along.
You're absolutely taking more or the less the right approach. I'm not an expert, I'm really not - but listening really is the most important thing to do. Most of the listening advice on this thread is fairly solid and playing is also important. I think a lot of drummers play along to records too much and the difficulty there is actually learning 'real' improvisational skills, because you do know the song. I would advise to actually play live more than playing to records!
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Looked at his credits. Mainly Chick Corea and Mike Stern. Who are both fusion players. Corea was a jazz player, but also a key component in developing fusion into a distinct style of music that is not jazz.
Wynton? Is that you? ;-) I keeed

A relatively popular opinion is that Bop is the core of jazz, this is an opinion I don't buy as I find it too narrow.
While the roots of jazz go back to the Dixieland and the evolution though big band swing, I would consider the "core" of jazz, what you're going to run into on a real book casual, to be the practice of taking Tin Pan Alley songs as forms and improvising over them. Your basic Miles Prestige series, Oscar Peterson, Wes Montgomery, Norman Grantz produced stuff. This evolved into bop with Dizzy and Bird, devolved into the Miles "cool" period, split off the fusion thread, free jazz, and so on. Though it all, folks continue to play All The Things You Are and that ilk. Modal stuff is fun, but if you can't get though All The Things You Are or Joyspring, you aren't going to get much respect as a jazz musician.
 
This is an interesting discussion. Trying to grapple with what jazz is, where to start, and who to listen to is a very worthwhile endeavor. Coming to grips with what jazz is will never be fully resolved. Duke Ellington refused to accept a label instead insisting that we call his product "music." In terms of where to start, in my opinion the best place to start is at the beginning and the very earliest recordings that are still readily available are Louis Armstrong with Baby Dodds on drums. Depending on how the transfers are made on these early recordings, the drummer can be hard to hear, but it is worth the effort. Listen to Zutty Singleton too, and a little later guys like George Wettling, Davey Tough, Shadow Wilson, and Chick Webb (the only guy to ever cut Buddy Rich in a battle of the drums). Man I could go on and on. Bebop is actually the beginning of the modern era and the guys to check out include, but are not limited to, Kenny "Kook" Clark, Max Roach, and Connie Kay. A lot has been said about guys like Philly Joe and beyond. All of these guys are worth spending time listening to. Buddy Rich once said that every drummer he ever heard was an influence on him.

Have fun,

Bill
 

Pkaneps

Senior Member
Buddy Rich once said that every drummer he ever heard was an influence on him.
Well, yeah. Anytime I hear something interesting, I try to emulate it, make it my own, and there you go. Or if I hear something I don't like, I try not to play like that. So whether they're positive influences or negative ones is a different thing altogether.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Buddy Rich once said that every drummer he ever heard was an influence on him.

Have fun,

Bill
That's why he's Buddy.


I have to be honest. This is something that I learned not to say in public, esp with those whom you are about to play. But we're all friends here. No one will jump down my throat. My entry point into jazz was not bop. I only became a bop fan because I knew it was good and I liked it so I listened to it until I loved it. But at first it was not an easy listen for me. My first records that I really loved were Bill Evans Live at the Village Vanguard and Coltrane's Ballads, although my first jazz record was a Love Supreme, which I always loved. I still really love ballads and brushes like nothing else. Now I would say Milestones is my favorite Miles record or at least up there. I think that for really serious jazzers bop often tends to be an entry point, and I hear stories of guys who have 10,000 bop records. They hear it and it does something for them. At least that is what I have found. As we've said many a times, jazz is so unique anyone's entry point it going to diverge from the next person.
 
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