Re: Neil Peart
I think that Peart brought to fruition a lot of what was going on in earlier progressive rock drumming, and very rudimentary in regards to what drummers being mentioned are doing today. If anything, progressive rock increased the size of the drum set, especially in the addition of the tom toms. This allowed the drummer to move up from his 12" as well as down from his 12", which Neil did a lot. This brought a greater melodic contour to rock drumming. it's a very simple thing; but very effective if nobody had heard it before. Prog also brought greater technique and the abstraction of the bop drummers to rock music. So a drummer would use a rhythmic theme that could come back throughout a piece. A good example of this is Yes' Heart of the Sunrise. Bruford was influenced by Max.
To say that early prog had any relation to bringing world ideas to the fore such as you would see in Nigeria seems problematic. Playing in 7/8, which Neil did a lot in the day, was par for the course, esp after The Mahavishnu Orchestra brought Indian rhythms to the rock mainstream. Everybody needed to prove they could play in odd meters. Steve Reich was the master at bringing these ideas into percussion music; but his relation to the rock mainstream seems tangential at best. Zappa's experiments came more from the European avant-garde, esp Varese, and Cage. it would be interesting if you see some relation in Zappa to other world music ideas, esp if these were intentional.
Wasn't the opening of the bass drum that the bop drummers did a matter of practicality? As the music increased in speed they couldn't play all fours on the Bass drum. So it had ramifications in opening up the bass and opening up the harmonic implications of the piece; but I don't know that the drummers really had a part in that evolution as much as adapting to it. Please correct me if I am wrong here.
For me, the drum set is an instrument in itself. If Virgil Donati plays something that has no practical implications it doesn't really matter. It's like saying "Bach could play a four part invention on the organ; but that has no practical applications in an oratorio or opera so why do it?" Well, later Mozart did it in an opera.
What I am asking is whether or not these evolutions that happenined on the drum set in its early manifestation affected the music or did the music affect these changes Secondly, now that we see these evolutions happening on the drum set "without a musical outlet,"that is they've happened as an evolution of the instrument itself, does that necessarily discredit them or make them any less musical?
Ken Marino Drum Teacher "It's not worth keeping score. You win some. You lose some, you let it go"