Gig report- 11/8/08


Silver Member
Don't know if this is the right place to post such a thing, but here goes.

Had my first drumming gig in a long time (besides the electric kit at church) tonight. I sat in with a 5 piece group playing some cocktail jazz during a dinner in a hotel ballroom. Their drummer was busy that night, so the piano player asked me to sit in. Piano, bass, guitar, alto sax, and me.

Most of my jazz experience is from behind a bass (which was my major in college) or a guitar, so the vast majority of my jazz drumming experience has been through listening to and playing beside fantastic drummers. I sat in once with a big band 2 or 3 years ago, covered for 2 AWOL drummers during a jazz band rehearsal once in college, and played one ballad all year during my freshman year of high school (the only time I was enrolled as a drummer in jazz band). That's all of the actual, behind-the-set experience I have with jazz drumming, so I was nervous, to say the least.

Luckily, everything seemed to go off without a hitch. I brought along a fake book to follow along, and we mainly did standards. A few bossas, more than a few ballads, one samba (that wasn't really a samba) and we even played a good number of uptempo numbers. I was glad for the opportunity to use a few of my toys that don't usually get to come out. I used my nylon rutes on a few numbers, and even pulled out my mallets for one of the bossa numbers. Of course, my light sticks and brushes carried the bulk of the work. Toward the end, as the banquet-goers were starting to get tipsy, we started getting a little more adventurous- we jammed on some 12 bar blues for a while and even did an impromtu cover of "Tequila" as the night was winding down. Three hours flew by.

This also marked the first time that my new kit saw the light of day. It's always hard to judge tunings in a small bedroom practice room, so I was pleasantly surprised by my kick- it lacks bottom in the practice room but sounded perfect in the bigger hall. I need to tweak my 10" tom a bit because it's still not singing the way I think it can- definitely not as well as the 12" is. The transparent green finish is GORGEOUS out in the real world- It's fantastic in the practice room, too, but sitting in a ballroom, it really stood out as a classy looking kit. I also grabbed a snare that I have up on Craigslist, a Ludwig from the 80s, threw a new-ish head on it, and tuned it up for jazz (I didn't want to mess with retuning my rock snare since I finally found a great sound with it). I had always assumed this snare was metal because it was silver and shiny, but had never bothered to really look at it. It's actually a wood snare with a chrome wrap. Bizarre. Maybe I'll pull the wrap off and see if I can refinish it. In any event, it sounded great at the gig, and I think I may pull it off of CL and keep it in my collection.

I left most of my cymbals at home, as well as my 16" floor tom- I used the 12" as a floor and kept the 10" high. I tweaked the 10's positioning- lower and flatter- to make it more conducive for jazz. For cymbals, I used my K Custom 18" flat ride as the main ride, my K Custom 18" dark crash, and my Sabian HH 16" Orchestral suspended cymbal. They're all hand hammered, so they had similar sounds and I thought the three complimented each other well in the larger hall. I also used my New Beat hats that I use for everything. Even for the next-to-zero volume that we were playing, the cymbals sounded good, and I was able to ride and crash everything well.

I also brought out my homemade sizzlers, and they worked fairly well. Unexpectedly (but understandably), the weight of the sizzle chain deadened the cymbal a bit when playing very lightly, but I felt that the long sizzle was a good way to fill some of the space that our small combo was leaving open.

In the end, the piano player was very complimentary and really seemed to enjoy playing with me. He told me he'd look forward to playing with me again... so maybe I'll have a new quasi-regular subbing gig. Most importantly, I got paid. :)

Next for me, an audition for a local rock group signed with a Nashville record company. That's Tuesday. For now... it's time to sleep.


Silver Member
Sounds like a good gig. It's always fun when those things work out eh?

I applaud you regarding the fake book idea. My quartet has a massive problem with viewing me as a musician. When they write songs they don't give me charts, just expect me to 'make it up'. I finally cracked it last month, walked out of rehearsal. Bass player gave me a chart for one of his tunes, we've jammed it a couple of times and he's complimented me on it since.

If you can follow the form with the band, you're in the right place as a drummer. If you can correct other people when they get lost you're doing really well.

I'd love to see pics of your kit. Are there any up here?

You might find other lengths or weights of chain work better for sizzlers. I stole one of the chains that keeps pens attached to the counter (from a bank, but they deserved it at the time) and find it works really well because it's a lighter chain than the one I bought off eBay. Shop around for different ones, you'll find what you like...


Silver Member
I really wanted to take pics last night, but couldn't find my camera. Then when I came home, saw it sitting right there on the counter in plain sight.

The chain that I bought was the only chain I could find so far- pull chain for a fan or light at the hardware store. I'll keep looking around. I just wrapped some wire around the chain and attached it to a rubber washer. Put the rubber washer on top of the felt, and we're good to go.