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Old 09-12-2012, 02:03 AM
AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken is offline
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Default What is he doing with his left hand?

Calm down, it's drumming-related :-P

This is a video of Louis Jordan's band playing "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby". The drummer is doing something weird with his left hand, like he's stirring a pot of soup. Does anybody have any idea what he's doing? Or is he just faking motion for the synch?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qROFl0sbrjo
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:06 AM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

he is comping

a lot of guys will use a brush type motion on their left hand while playing time on their right just to keep the flow
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:51 AM
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8Mile 8Mile is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

Another great example of the same thing, by the great (and underappreciated) Charlie Smith. The two dudes playing horns are pretty good, too. http://youtu.be/Clp9AeBdgL0
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:40 AM
AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

That's so weird! I don't imagine the stick head makes any noise as it's 'brushed' across the head, so I guess it's just for feel?
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:32 AM
Longfuse Longfuse is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

It does make noise. He's almost certainly playing incredibly light buzz rolls. Drummers in those days quite literally dragged-out rolls across the head (almost imperceptibly). If you can track down the original footage (this is slightly out of synch..although that might just be the editing), he's probably accenting the afterbeat on 2 & 4. There were many variations (Ray Bauduc's book has some wonderful examples...although good luck finding a copy!).

In your link, the drummer looks like Shadow Wilson. Cool cat.

If you don't already own a copy, I'd recommend tracking down one of the DVDs that contains all the early Tympany 5 stuff (the one I have is produced by Storyville). Great music, and some great drummers. Even in the "blink-and-you'll-miss-them" scenes, you can still pick up some little tricks that they did in those days. I really like the brush playing on Louis Jordan sides. Chris Columbus (and many others) used to use a 'doing-the-locomotion' left-hand slam on the backbeat that is a great move to learn. A prequel to that style of brush-playing (if you're interested) is covered in an article on my site, called Early Jazz Styles for Brushes.

Last edited by Longfuse; 09-12-2012 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:23 PM
AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

Thanks for the info. I frequently think I made a mistake learning matched grip instead of traditional grip ... guess it's never too late to learn something new.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:16 AM
Longfuse Longfuse is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken View Post
Thanks for the info. I frequently think I made a mistake learning matched grip instead of traditional grip ... guess it's never too late to learn something new.
They'd play crushed/buzz rolls with the right hand too, so no reason why you couldn't do it using matched.

The New Orleans Drumming video goes into this, IIR. As well as Herlin Riley, Johnny Vidacovich shows modern applications for crushed rolls (plus he demonstrates the dragging-out of rolls).
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:23 PM
Longfuse Longfuse is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

Here you go, "The Drag Roll" - a lesson from the 1930s (from 'Max on Swing'):

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/r...3/scan0001.jpg

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/r...3/scan0002.jpg

This is just one way drummers would play dragged rolls (plenty of variations).

Last edited by Longfuse; 10-04-2012 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:25 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Longfuse View Post
Here you go, "The Drag Roll" - a lesson from the 1930s (from 'Max on Swing'):

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/r...3/scan0001.jpg

http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/r...3/scan0002.jpg

This is just one way drummers would play dragged rolls (plenty of variations).
is that from the Premier book?

do you own it ?
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:44 PM
Longfuse Longfuse is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

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Originally Posted by Gvdadrummasum View Post
is that from the Premier book?

do you own it ?
Yes, and yes.

Technically, it's still in copyright in the UK (70 years after someones death, and not after date of publication...and I seem to recall that Bacon was still alive in the 1950s). I might be willing to scan it if there's interest though, and if someone else (preferably in the US, as it will be out of copyright there) hosts it (no fly-by-night websites please, something that is established). Failing that, it could be circulated by PM, I suppose.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:38 AM
AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

Thanks for the scans. At everyone's suggestion I got the New Orleans drumming DVD. I grew up in New Orleans, but at the time I wasn't into drums (when I was younger I wanted to play violin ... the bright side of that is I can always claim something in common with Joe Morello :-P). But I've always loved the music and man can those guys play. No disrespect to the others, but Herlin Riley is just amazing.

In fact, this was the first drumming DVD I've watched that didn't drive my wife crazy.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:35 AM
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Anon La Ply Anon La Ply is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

Thanks, great thread. Never seen anyone do that - and I've been to tons of jazz gigs. What a great old classic - I was introduced to it by Joe Jackson.

Longfuse (I was given that old Max on Swing book by a relative). I find that pic perplexing because he's coming down on the drum, and you'd need your snare rather low to do that. I'd be thinking that with matched grip the stroke would be more elegant played with a French grip, otherwise your elbow sticks out like a chicken wing. Make sense?
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:46 AM
Longfuse Longfuse is offline
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Default Re: What is he doing with his left hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
Longfuse (I was given that old Max on Swing book by a relative). I find that pic perplexing because he's coming down on the drum, and you'd need your snare rather low to do that. I'd be thinking that with matched grip the stroke would be more elegant played with a French grip, otherwise your elbow sticks out like a chicken wing. Make sense?
Possibly, although his palm is parallel with his body, the stick facing forward (in-line with his forearm), so all that would be required is a sideways draw from right to left, out towards the rim for the tap on 1 & 3. Most of the motion would come from the elbow, with a slight amount from the wrist. Plus the steep angle of the snare that they used in those days would help (?). The picture is confusing though.

Mostly, in old vids, I've seen two techniques to drag out rolls. One is similar to Bacon's, in that you drag towards the rim, but there's usually a pull down the head too. A lot of these techniques were replicated with brushes, with little or no amendment. For example, 42 seconds into this clip you can see Jessie Price doing a tap and 'drag' (sweep) with right hand, and afterbeat 'rolls' (sweeps) with the left. Chicken wings galore!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C1vJ2Z8aI0

I think of this move as being a bit like drawing a pair of curtains, allowing the hands to drop down a little in the process...if that makes sense (?)

I've seen footage of one of the old New Orleans guys doing the same with sticks, but really dragging out the roll. Those guys had incredible control, because their rolls were almost imperceptible.

The other method I've seen is basically what Shadow Wilson was doing in the above clip. Zutty Singleton used to do it too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4ZFsm9msv4

The Right-hand plays crushed/press/buzz rolls on the afterbeat, left-hand plays time-keeping buzzes. Same thing with brushes: palm-up in the left hand and the fingers pull the stick/brush down the head during the roll. There are better clips of Singleton doing this, but the above was the first I came across.

Last edited by Longfuse; 10-05-2012 at 12:10 PM.
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