Are Jazz Drummers Overrated?

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JPW

Silver Member
Really good observation - "Where the players have exhausted themselves in some conventional musical vein and the only way forward for them is to be more and more outside".
(This isn't directed to you Polly, you know where I'm coming from) How hard is it to accept that it isn't these kind of people (myself included) that are to blame. Some of us just are born different. And trying to like what other people like to listen to around you becomes a burden. I hate to sound like a broken record on this board but I say it again, if I have listened to free jazz and jazz fusion from womb till I was 13, how could the popular music impact me the same way? It's not my language. It's not like I have made myself numb or eccentric just because I _want_ to be different. I have been made that way.

And I don't like the term intellectual in music. I don't listen to jazz because it should be intellectual. I listen to it because it can affect my emotions. It's emotional music I'm after. I liked metal really really much when I was teenager and I had lots of anger to project. Now I don't have that anger anymore, at least not so often, so that kind of music doesn't speak to me that much. But even when I was listening to heavier stuff, it wasn't the easiest rhythmic stuff because of my background, but being intelligent doesn't have anything to do with it. The guy who made the greatest musical piece can be retarded. I don't care.
 

Frost

Silver Member
Why do we have to give a politician answer? Do we all just have to be one giant, faceless crowd keeping our opinions silent out of fear that we might offend somebody?
.
It's not like that at all, it's about justifying your opinion, just saying because I like it or I don't like it doesn't cut it in an argument.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
...I just don't see what the big deal is about using the term "best". It's an opinion and everybody has an opinion, and so long as you're not treating your own opinion as gospel, I really don't see why it would be such a big deal. After all, any of us who said we don't ever use the term "best" would be full of crap. We all use it. "This is the best ice cream"...
You're right of course, we all do it. But my point is that when talking about music and drummers, and even pizza, it's really hard to tell someone that so-and-so is the best when they don't agree, because you're implying a right and wrong; either that person agrees that Buddy Rich is the "best", or they're wrong for not agreeing.

And best at what? Being Buddy Rich? Of course! He had that one locked up from the beginning. But he was never much of a rock drummer, or funk, or bop, or any number of other perfectly legitimate styles, so how could he be the best? And even if he did play rock, would he have been better than Bonham? Would "When the Levee Breaks" still have had that mojo? I think not.

I'm just trying to make the point that it's a mess trying to suss out all the implications of attributing "best" to anyone.

It's not so much about being PC; it's about leaving room for others to have their own opinions and interpretations, or to use their own metrics when evaluating without having to accept that their tastes are somehow less that optimal, or even wrong.

Speaking of which, I've not been shy about not liking Max Roach, regardless of how he came to be considered "great", and that's where the idea that a universally accepted objective standard of greatness fails to register with me. I don't care how many people like MR; I don't, and his "greatness" means very little to me. I'm not trying to start trouble or create friction with that, it just is what it is. But I'm also not trying to suggest that he objectively sucks or that other people should not like him, or are defective if they do. It's not that I don't like jazz drummers, or think that metal drummers are superior. I just don't like Max's drumming. Just my little PC opinion. You don't have to suppress your opinions, you just have to leave room for others to have theirs.

lol no, but there can be recognition that just because you like it, it ain't the best. We all have elements of solipsism in our makeup, some more than others.
Hey, what's with the big words, huh? I had to look that one up and I'm still not sure I understand it. Something about not knowing other minds...

I like the Arctic Monkeys quite a bit, but they're not the "best" muso's. However, that's not what they're about. Kind of like the Beatles thing I mentioned earlier; they're songwriters and the drummer is a drum part writer who has a unique approach and I just like the way he (and the rest of the band) sounds. If they were virtuoso players, I think they'd probably come across more like Toto than the edgy blue collar kids that they are.
 
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jazzin'

Silver Member
Not leaving a lot of wiggle room for anyone else to have an opinion, are you? I think your perspective is as stupid as it is predictable and ignorant. You're actually trying to somehow equate kids playing metal with killing? That's freaking RETARDED.

And your description (stereotype) of metal drummers is ridiculous. I'm not a metal drummer but there are metal drummers who I admire; who put in the time and who aren't just "kids running on double pedals" - AND who don't sit around knocking jazz drummers for sport (or spite). There are a lot more open-minded drummers out there than you imagine, even if not all of them like Max Roach.
*sigh*

I think you overreacted and missed my point entirely mate. Not leaving anyone else room to have an opinion? I'm not stopping anyone from having their opinion. I'm saying the TS's opinion (not everyone), based on nothing about a whole genre, is stupid. On the perspective thing, what I meant was that not informing yourself before making massive generalisations about something is stupid. Like you called me, it is ignorant and stupid. I don't like metal music personally (well, maybe not the kind that is being talked about here) but I would not call the drumming terrible, overrated or the players such. They also practice a lot to get where they are, and I know how much time they put in and what they need to do get become good at it.

lol....Jesus. I was making the point, if you had tried to read it properly, that although everyone can have a perspective or opinion, some can be stupid. Just because it is someone's opinion doesn't always make it the right thing. I then made the extreme analogy (just to show that wrong opinions do exist) that people can have the perspective/opinion that killing for whatever reason is right. It in no way relates to anything to do with metal or drumming or whatever you were trying to make it out to be so jump off the high horse and take it easy. It was to show that opinions, based on ignorance of certain circumstances or lack of education/informing yourself can result in a foolish opinion.

The TS based his opinion on nothing more than one video and his friend saying that Roach was good. His response was metal is faster and better and jazz/jazz drummers are overrated. That's all cool, if he had informed his opinion first, he doesn't have to like it. No one gives a toss what he likes. But, bringing up a thread based on his views from metal drumming on a great drummer from an entirely era and style of music is stupid. He obviously didn't know the first thing about it though which is the point of the aforementioned stuff. You get it? You might not like punk music and you might love a capella music and I'm rather positive that if someone told you to check out a Travis Barker vid of some solo and you didn't like it, you are not going to then call the whole genre and its players overrated compared to the subtle power and intensity of some acapella thing you'd been listening to.
 
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jazzin'

Silver Member
For the most part I agree with you; about jazz being good and how a lot of people develop a taste for it as they get older, not your opinion of metal drummers. Art does exist in metal but so does a lot of unimaginative music which is more just about speed and math. You shouldn't put a massive blanket over metal drumming due to a few drummers who do nothing but strive to play quicker and reuse the same beats over and over without dynamics, there are a lot of fantastic metal drummers out there.

I disagree with the whole point of, "No it sounds good, you need to agree it sounds good."

Some people do enjoy blasting, it doesn't make it wrong, I'm sure you don't enjoy every jazz song ever written while a lot of others do. I believe that a lack of appreciation is wrong, I don't believe you need to enjoy listening to it. You can't control peoples tastes in music.

Personally, my beef is more with pop then metal, I don't know when music stopped becoming an art form and resorted to repetition and almost no actual instruments except for vocals.
Hey Frost. Ok, this post has been completely misunderstood, especially by the other guy MikeM. This was in response to what you considered to be the view of the TS. Since he never responded and you did respond, I was responding to you. I was writing this in response to that. I am not saying 'jazz is better', 'metal sucks' or whatever nor was I just making that post up out of nowhere for no reason. I was being largely sarcastic in the style that the TS was, meaning I was making blanket statements of the music as he was to show how foolish that is.

You had written that you thought the Thread Starter was writing from the view of "Jazz sounds bad and I think it's overrated no matter how technical" yes? I was trying to get across that using the same concepts as what you use for the music you like, in his case metal, without trying to understand the other style of music (whatever that may be, whether classical, Indian folk, funk, polka...) and why people listen and enjoy/play it first is a foolish perspective.

He was looking at it from his view of metal music which is loud, fast, angry, technical etc. Yes, I know he likes it. The technical aspect is a part of what he would like about it, especially as a drummer. However, bringing up that jazz and Roach specifically is overrated because metal trumps it with it's technical wizardry, speed and 'skill' is an uninformed, ridiculous opinion. I don't care whether he was saying it about jazz or some Afro Cuban thing because it is the same no matter what style.

It is stupid saying about any style of music "The style I like is better because it goes faster and sounds better and the guys that play it aren't overrated like the ones that play (insert style here) music". What he likes about metal has no bearing on another style of music that doesn't try to be the same or do the same stuff. Blurting out "Jazz is overrated because the music I like trumps it and its players" is as ignorant as MikeM thinks my post was.

If you are going to post something about another style of music you need to at least try to understand what makes that music tick and why other people enjoy it. Like I said, if my friend had said to me "Hey man, check out this sick music. The drumming is insane and they are the best players today" and told me to check out some metal guy, the last thing I would do is watch one video of this one guy and then make some huge blanket statement about metal, with all its sub-genres included, being overrated and it's players not as hip, musical and attentive or something just because it didn't like it.

Sorry, what do you mean by this? "I disagree with the whole point of, "No it sounds good, you need to agree it sounds good." " Was that directed at me? Again, it was in quotation marks and so I'm confused as to whether you think I was saying that or you just paraphrased something you thought I meant, because if that's the case you certainly misread it. I don't think anyone should like anything else whatever it sounds like.

Stating the obvious, but people like what they like because it sounds good to them. Running on my ipod a lot right now is some Rammstein, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, some Tom Waits and the Buena Vista Social Club album so I don't have some thing against what people listen to and think they should like something because it sounds nice to me or sounds better in my opinion. My tastes are weird enough and I come across enough people that can't stand what I listen to that it just doesn't bother me. Just like don't care if someone listens to pop and calls the stuff I listen boring. What I find ridiculous is someone that doesn't like one players single video that he watched and then says that his style of music and the players trump it because that guy is obviously overrated and crap without even thinking.
 

Frost

Silver Member
If you are going to post something about another style of music you need to at least try to understand what makes that music tick and why other people enjoy it.
Your reply made a lot more sense. I was never having a go at you as such, I was paraphrasing in quotations how I felt it came across. I just thought your view was narrow minded. It wouldn't be the first time I've met a musician who believes that the only good music is their music, my old jazz teacher was like that, if you didn't like his music you were wrong, he was very narrow minded.

I understand now it was an attempt at sarcasm. One of the problems with talking over the internet instead of in person is that inflections such as sarcasm rarely ever come across correctly. If I upset you at all I'm sorry. I agree with what I quoted in particular, I think that was the key point in your response.

Out of curiosity, where are you from in Australia?
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
*sigh*

I think you overreacted and missed my point entirely mate.
Okay, fair enough. Reading through your response just now has made it more clear to me what you were going for originally. Forming an opinion or perspective based on grossly incomplete information and drawing hard conclusions based on willful ignorance is lame, I agree. I missed that that's what your first post was driving at. Sorry about that.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
It's not like that at all, it's about justifying your opinion, just saying because I like it or I don't like it doesn't cut it in an argument.
This to me is basically it in a nutshell. It's the whys and hows of the discussion that make it interesting, not the opinions themselves.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Hey, what's with the big words, huh? I had to look that one up and I'm still not sure I understand it. Something about not knowing other minds...

I like the Arctic Monkeys quite a bit, but they're not the "best" muso's. However, that's not what they're about. Kind of like the Beatles thing I mentioned earlier; they're songwriters and the drummer is a drum part writer who has a unique approach and I just like the way he (and the rest of the band) sounds. If they were virtuoso players, I think they'd probably come across more like Toto than the edgy blue collar kids that they are.
Mum was a writer, Mike, and some of it stuck. Sometimes the big words express things just the way I want it and I figure you guys are old enough and ugly enough to handle it :)

But yes, for sure. Virtuosity is just one fabulous element of music. If the music has a cool vibe - a mood or atmosphere - then I'm in and I couldn't give a stuff about the band's skill or lack of it.

It's easy for musicians striving to improve to miss the forest for the trees IMO. We have to get the nuts and bolts of drumming together so as to progress and it's easy to get carried away with the science and stray from the art. I've done it in the past. Probably all of us have done at some stage.

So when we talk about the "best" we sometimes talk of those who can do the most technically impossible things, and maybe that's the only measure that's even approaches objectivity. Others might choose the most fluent storytellers, or the grooviest / funkiest / swinging, or the most crazy and energetic, or they like the sound ... the list is endless.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
So when we talk about the "best" we sometimes talk of those who can do the most technically impossible things, and maybe that's the only measure that's even approaches objectivity. Others might choose the most fluent storytellers, or the grooviest / funkiest / swinging, or the most crazy and energetic, or they like the sound ... the list is endless.
What Mike was getting at though was that we can understand someone's contribution to drumming, esp a guy like Max, Buddy or Tony.

Max took drumming and jazz in a whole new direction. He along with Kenny Clarke founded bop drumming. They changed the time from four on the floor to being propelled forward by the cymbals. They also further integrated the drum set into the ensemble situation by reacting to the band members and trading short solos with other instrumentalists.

Buddy brought the rudimental element into big band drumming in a big way. His use of dynamic contrast and clean precise execution influenced a whole new generation of drummers. He could also swing a band to high hell.

Tony came up on the shoulders of those who came before him brought rock into jazz drumming and interesting new phrasing and polyrhythmic elements. When someone says, "I don't like Max, Buddy or Tony" what does that really say? I don't think it says anything.
 

Frost

Silver Member
What Mike was getting at though was that we can understand someone's contribution to drumming, esp a guy like Max, Buddy or Tony.

Max took drumming and jazz in a whole new direction. He along with Kenny Clarke founded bop drumming. They changed the time from four on the floor to being propelled forward by the cymbals. They also further integrated the drum set into the ensemble situation by reacting to the band members and trading short solos with other instrumentalists.

Buddy brought the rudimental element into big band drumming in a big way. His use of dynamic contrast and clean precise execution influenced a whole new generation of drummers. He could also swing a band to high hell.

Tony came up on the shoulders of those who came before him brought rock into jazz drumming and interesting new phrasing and polyrhythmic elements. When someone says, "I don't like Max, Buddy or Tony" what does that really say? I don't think it says anything.
If it wasn't for Baby Dodds (my avatar) we wouldn't have the kick drum. He was one of the biggest innovators of the late 1800's
 

Michael McDanial

Senior Member
You're right of course, we all do it. But my point is that when talking about music and drummers, and even pizza, it's really hard to tell someone that so-and-so is the best when they don't agree, because you're implying a right and wrong; either that person agrees that Buddy Rich is the "best", or they're wrong for not agreeing.

And best at what? Being Buddy Rich? Of course! He had that one locked up from the beginning. But he was never much of a rock drummer, or funk, or bop, or any number of other perfectly legitimate styles, so how could he be the best? And even if he did play rock, would he have been better than Bonham? Would "When the Levee Breaks" still have had that mojo? I think not.

I'm just trying to make the point that it's a mess trying to suss out all the implications of attributing "best" to anyone.

It's not so much about being PC; it's about leaving room for others to have their own opinions and interpretations, or to use their own metrics when evaluating without having to accept that their tastes are somehow less that optimal, or even wrong.

Speaking of which, I've not been shy about not liking Max Roach, regardless of how he came to be considered "great", and that's where the idea that a universally accepted objective standard of greatness fails to register with me. I don't care how many people like MR; I don't, and his "greatness" means very little to me. I'm not trying to start trouble or create friction with that, it just is what it is. But I'm also not trying to suggest that he objectively sucks or that other people should not like him, or are defective if they do. It's not that I don't like jazz drummers, or think that metal drummers are superior. I just don't like Max's drumming. Just my little PC opinion. You don't have to suppress your opinions, you just have to leave room for others to have theirs.

Hey, what's with the big words, huh? I had to look that one up and I'm still not sure I understand it. Something about not knowing other minds...

I like the Arctic Monkeys quite a bit, but they're not the "best" muso's. However, that's not what they're about. Kind of like the Beatles thing I mentioned earlier; they're songwriters and the drummer is a drum part writer who has a unique approach and I just like the way he (and the rest of the band) sounds. If they were virtuoso players, I think they'd probably come across more like Toto than the edgy blue collar kids that they are.
Mike, we can go around in circles on this forever. As I said, you can say something is the best and clearly acknowledge it as your opinion and not a fact. You're automatically assuming that because somebody uses the term "best" that they are saying that their opinion is fact and there is no reasoning with them, and that's just not true. Yes, I think Buddy Rich was the best drummer. No, I do not believe that my opinion is a fact.

The words "I think" clearly states that it is an opinion. Yes, there are some people that think their opinions are facts and there is no reasoning with them, but this hardly applies only to music. There are million other things that people do that with, but let's not judge the many on the actions of a few.

It's good to have an opinion, and heck, I'm always up for a good, healthy debate. :)
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
If it wasn't for Baby Dodds (my avatar) we wouldn't have the kick drum. He was one of the biggest innovators of the late 1800's
Um...he was born in 1898. Make-shift bass drum pedals were in common usage back in the 1870s, and Ludwig came out with the first commercially-viable pedal in 1909, when Dodds was 11. Just sayin'...
 

Frost

Silver Member
Um...he was born in 1898. Make-shift bass drum pedals were in common usage back in the 1870s, and Ludwig came out with the first commercially-viable pedal in 1909, when Dodds was 11. Just sayin'...
Dodds revolutionized the floor bass that we use today. I did get a few dates wrong though, he's best known for pre-big band era early New Orleans jazz music but I thought he was born about 20 years before he was. He did a lot at a young age obviously
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Dodds revolutionized the floor bass that we use today. I did get a few dates wrong though, he's best known for pre-big band era early New Orleans jazz music but I thought he was born about 20 years before he was. He did a lot at a young age obviously
How did he revolutionize the floor bass drum? I'm seriously curious about what you've been reading, because my historical documentation on the subject is way different...
 

Jessiah331

Senior Member
I mean, I'm not the biggest fan of Jazz, it's just not my cup of tea, and I'm not good enough to even think about playing it.

But I'll admit Jazz drummers are some of the most talented and technical players out there. Sure they are in their own league, and there are different levels of being 'good', but Jazz players are usually up there with the best.

I'm the drummer at my church, and one sunday a kid (16, long hair, tight pants...sorry to stereotype) came up and ragged me about not owning a double pedal, and said 'Well I bet you can't play blast beats or fast double bass' I just responded by saying that my talent was knowing when to NOT play them, like in church, and I felt like the intricate parts I write for worship music are what makes me talented, because I know how to play parts that fit.

Always remember, 'talent' doesn't mean you play fast. It means you play right. At least I feel that way...
 

Frost

Silver Member
How did he revolutionize the floor bass drum? I'm seriously curious about what you've been reading, because my historical documentation on the subject is way different...
Two beats a bar bass drum playing and changing the way a kit was used, from press-rolls on the snare to accents on toms, he moved the bass drum from being used in the military marching band style to pretty much the style we use it in today.

I suppose the way he revolutionized the kick drum wasn't any different to how he revolutionized a lot of other things, I was wrong to say he invented the floor bass but he certainly changed how it was used.
 
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