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stasz 08-21-2010 09:31 PM

Darren Jessee
OK so this thread is a little late, since Darren Jessee was the drummer for Ben Folds Five, and they broke up 10 years ago. I don't think he's played drums on any recordings since--though he is singer/songwriter in his band Hotel Lights.

Anyway, any other fans of his drumming for Ben Folds Five? That band's songs are some of my favorite to play along to because I think his drumming just fits the song perfectly every time. And they're fun to play, too. Darren has a nice swing to his playing. I read somewhere that he was a big jazz drummer and loved Elvin Jones, though he played pop. I can easily hear a jazz sensibility in his playing. To add to his great drumming he often provided some of the classic Ben Folds Five backing vocals.

If you've never heard of him before, or heard any Ben Folds Five songs, there are plenty of videos of the band on youtube, and studio tracks too.

For starters, I think Darren's drum track on the studio version of Steven's Last Night in Town, from Whatever and Ever Amen, is flawless throughout. Check it out here

Here are some other great videos:

stasz 08-22-2010 02:18 AM

Re: Darren Jessee
One more thing I forgot from my first post-- Darren can play a tasty samba too. Check out this live recording of Julianne, Darren plays over a piano montuno in the first verse.

Link (Click on the play button in the box under the mp3 URL. I don't think the download link works, unfortunately)

Winston_Wolf 08-22-2010 03:04 AM

Re: Darren Jessee
I absolutely love Darren's playing, and have been a Ben Folds Five fan for a very long time. I've actually just spent this summer getting re-acquainted with BFF and especially the drumming. GREAT stuff!

The live set they did on Sessions at West 54th was really good, and is a great example of just how talented all three of them are. There's an energy to Ben Folds Five that has been unfortunately missing from Ben's solo stuff, and I wish the older band stuff had been a little better documented. I can't believe that one official Ben Folds Five DVD is all we got, especially since they did a reunion concert a couple years ago.

I also recently picked up Hotel Lights second album, Firecracker People, and even though it might be a little too mellow for me, it's still a great album.

stasz 08-22-2010 07:17 AM

Re: Darren Jessee
I couldn't agree more, especially about the difference between Ben Folds' band and solo career. Don't get me wrong, I love Ben's solo stuff, I saw him live a couple months ago, and he's still an amazing player and songwriter--but I think you got it right, there's just that certain quality of the band that I don't quite find in all of Ben's newer stuff.

That Sessions at West 54th DVD is so great, it's a shame those videos keep getting taken down from youtube. I noticed you're from NC, did you get the chance to go see the band's reunion concert?

Winston_Wolf 08-22-2010 06:26 PM

Re: Darren Jessee
I completely missed the reunion concert! I guess it wasn't publicized enough to catch my attention, but I was really disappointed when I found out about it after the fact. So I've had to live off of internet videos of that show, which don't include either Hotel Lights' opening set or the songs BFF played as an encore. Why that isn't out on DVD still after two years completely baffles me.

Ben played one of his symphony concerts with the North Carolina Symphony back in March of this year, I did catch that. It was good, but that was what sparked my recent dive back into Ben Folds Five and strengthened by belief that nothing quite lives up to what they accomplished together.

stasz 08-24-2010 05:24 PM

Re: Darren Jessee
Yeah, I've seen the videos online of the reunion concert, but I can't believe either that it's not on DVD yet. I can't imagine that it wouldn't sell, Ben Folds still seems to have plenty of fans, even if they haven't necessarily listened to BFF that much.

Ben has a new CD coming out next month I think. I heard a couple of tracks that he released early, there's some good stuff and some mediocre stuff. Have you heard the demo for Levi Johnston's Blues? I like it. Nice drumming, too, check the use of gong in the opening

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