Re: Vinnie Colaiuta
I agree with April on this. Matthias, you're automatically out of the game when you say properly.I musically disagree with everything you wrote back to April. I bet Vinnie would too.
There is no "proper" in music. Are you going to tell me Steve Jordan is proper? Jack Dejohnette? Paul Motian? I can go on and on. I agree with April in the sense that you're putting all these rules on music as if it IS a sport. She hit it right on the head. Who are you to say who's expressing themselves properly? No one can say that and have a point. There are no rules in music, just like April said.
Did painter's "understand" Picasso? No. Did everyone love Picasso? NO. Was he a genius? Yes. To form an opinion on an art form, you do not have to understand what is going on. You only have to hear(or see) the outcome. In music we hear the outcome. Then decide if it strikes a chord with us, or not. If someone says they don't like Vinnie's drumming, it's a point of view that is different than yours. It's not because they don't understand something. It's almost as if you think the whole world should think like you. There are hundreds of thousands of musicians that prefer a different approach. Vinnie has one sound, and one approach. Just like other greats. Not everyone likes everyone.
I agree with you about April putting them all in one box. In reality though, these drummers are known for their physical abilities. So that does put them in the same arena. In my opinion, none of them have a particularly great feel, which is why I think they are not in music. The world of drum education is not the world of music. The same way Lewis Nash, Kenny Washington, Carl Allen and Billy Drummond are all in the same musical box of straight ahead jazz drumming. Sure they all do it slightly different, but that's what they do. The drummer's April mentioned in that box are all primarily clinicians. I understand what she's saying.
I also agree with her on best. Best applies only in a competition. Your music to language analogy is too literal. When speaking a language the idea is communication with another human being, so you have to be articulate and clean. If you're not, then you can't communicate. If this were the case in music, Elvin Jones would be musically illiterate. Steve Jordan would know only 4 words, and Jojo Mayer would have constant verbal diarhhea. Speaking an actual language and playing music are two very different things. They're only similar in the sense of conversation pertaining to jazz improvisation. But even then, you're actually creating words sometimes, and in a spoken language that would sound like gibberish. So again, it doesn't really apply.
I disagree on the point you made with regards to Indian music as well. There's a huge difference between a clinician at a drum clinic playing different meter's in each limb just for the sake of challenge and difficulty, and a musical culture that's 200 or more years old. That was just a silly comparison on your part. The rates and groupings in Indian music serve the music. They are organic, and were created for the purpose of serving the music. They do not stand alone.
April I totally agree with you. I feel that fanatical drum fans like Matthias are attempting to turn music into a physical skill with pre-set requirements for what is good. You have to have a certain amount of chops, you have to know every beat in every style, you have to play to a click, you have to, you have to, you have to...it's all BULL...The real artists in the art of music are much more open than this, and they create music. The most influential musicians of all time were all original, and did not have all of these required "skills" you put on music. They were creative and focused on music, not on who can play the smartest and fastest.
Matthias, even the way you categorize music is weird. Western pop? Most pop music in the world comes out of Brazil and Scandinavia. The biggest pop culture sensation this world has ever seen was British.
And really, a great artist can be anyone from Muddy Waters to John Zorn. 2 completely different musicians with exactly the same goal.
At the end of day, I don't care who can play the most styles, who can play the most complex and who can play the fastest. In the world of skill, that means something. In the world of art, that means nothing. Music is art.
I don't want to listen to music that I have to analyze so I know it's good. I like hearing something beautiful that touches me without having to think. I want my soul to be satisfied. When Vinnie Colaiuta plays, I think. I can also figure out what he's playing. When Elvin Jones plays, I hear colors and ocean waters. I feel a flow that reminds of waves. Elvin is not transcribable. No one knows what he's playing. Ever wonder why certain drummers have tons of clones? Because they're easy to figure out. You really don't see any Elvin Jones or Jack Dejohnette clones out there. Its impossible to copy them. But the Vinnie clones are everywhere. What does that tell you?
To you numbers on a schematic may be art. To me Van Gogh is art. Pablo Picasso is art. And drummers like Elvin Jones, Brian Blade, Levon Helm and Jack Dejohnette all possess this type artistry on the drums.
April, I'm so happy to see young music student have a real understanding of music. Best of luck with Manhattan School of music