Re: Kendrick Scott
I went to a summer drum class at Berklee back in '98 and found myself in the top jazz class, with 5 other drummers. A couple older cats from Italy and Spain, a 15 year old kid from Matt Wilson's hometown (studied with Matt), someone I totally don't remember much of at all, and Kendrick Scott. At the time, I'd say it was either the Spanish or Italian guy, and then Kendrick, in terms of playing. He was 18 and on his way to Berklee in the fall (full scholarship, I believe).
We had the priviledge to be studying with a great teacher/player Robert Kaufman, who was the one who really shoved Elvin Jones down my throat (it was almost an "Elvin" styles class, which was fine with me, since I didn't really know him much at the time). Kendrick was from Houston, and you could tell he was a badass but still a little underdeveloped. I was surprised when I was able to play some of the things Kaufman was showing us but Kendrick couldn't quite grasp it. I would see him in the practice rooms, working on those things, VERY slowly and I remember thinking "This guy is so much better than me, why can't he get it?"
Two days later, in class, Kaufman asks him how it's coming, and he plays the exercise but not just playing it - he was owning it. Learned it forwards and backwards and using it in a musical way. And here I was just playing it on the surface, *just* getting it and not letting it fall apart.
I got to hang with him in the dorms here and there, and just being around Kendrick - seeing what made him excited - made me realize there was more to other aspects of music that I used to shrug off. We were in the basement of the dorms one night eating pizza and watching Late Night - And Kendrick was excited about seeing the drummer. It was a hip hop group playing as the guest band that night (don't remember who it was) And I never once thought about really checking out a drummer playing hip hop - and the drummer - this big fat guy who dwarfed the kit whips off this amazing fill around the kit in this super-slick way and Kendrick yells "WWWOOOOOOOO!!!!" and starts laughing and falling off his chair. "That guy is KILLIN' IT!" and I started looking at those drummers in this whole new light - 'cuz that guy WAS killin' it. I just never bothered to notice before.
Kendrick also knew his jazz. I was still a newb in a lot of ways - *thinking* I knew jazz, with my Sonny Rollins Cd's, Jazz Messengers, some Basie, and a few other things - Kendrick is talkin' with our teacher about guys like Horace Parlan, and Billy Higgins, and all these other guys I was like "...who?"
I knew I loved jazz, and really wanted to "get it" and play it - and Kendrick was the guy who really kicked my ass to set about accomplishing that. I immediately started buying a ton of records, practicing 12 hours a day and not just my snare studies, and feeling like I could hang with anyone. I saw him a few years later in NYC at an IAJE convention and he remembered me and we talked a bit, I think he said he was at the New School then. Now he's starting to blow up - AND he's a pretty accomplished composer too (they don't just teach drums when you go to Berklee/New School as a drummer!)
So, I guess I'll say it here: Thanks Kendrick.