Good posting. Good advice. Great Father!it is like we are writing our own book on this subject!!! Love it
the only thing can add, or reiterate, is don't start out trying to play like Jack Dejohnette, or Elvin, or Joe Morello or Jeff Hamilton...
listen to their ideas, but practice within your skill set first.
I can only add a story:
My dad is the one who taught me jazz -well, ALL drumming back when I was 3,4, and 5 years old. We would do ALL of the stuff mentioned in this thread as far as listening, analyzing etc. I was practicing rudiments and reading skills etc; doing the old Wilcoxin and Haskell Harr stuff...but these, at first, were separate of fill creation <--- they were more for "hands and brain" creation. They were not even associated with drum set playing...
when it came time for application, he would put on this old "play along to the styles" record that had mid tempo examples of jazz, blues, "old school" rock (the record was made in the 60's) and a bossa nova. We would use this for hours, just repeating the same style over and over for me to experiment with.
the biggest thing he told me was "to keep your fill ideas in a triplet (swing) feel; and try to set up where the music (chord) changes were going with a melody on the drums; he would give me parameters that I was not allowed to break out of until I "got" them...the 2 biggest ones being keep the fill in 4 pulses, and that i didn't need to hit every surface of the kit within the fill
after a while, we then would put on jazz albums, and he and I would analyze and tear apart how some more complicated fills were created - this was mostly done with the Brubeck Take 5 album - and then I would learn the fills by copying...we also used some old Woody Herman albums, and Dukes of Dixieland for jazz; Motown stuff for R&B,
so, 3-5 years of all of this practice led me to be able to understand how to create my own fills. Use of rudiments crept in, but not because I was forcing them...they crept in because they were "in my hands and head" from my separate practice of them; the practice of reading charts crept in because it really helped me to remember the fills I was making up b/c I would imagine what they looked like written out in music
finally, when I was "growing up" (5 years old to 20 years old) and taking all of this in, often times, I would not try to learn other guys fills note for note, but I would take the general idea of the fill, make it my own, and then play it over top of the recored fill while playing along
I am still growing as a musician, so really, this whole process never stopped, it just kept attracting other elements to learn
This is my example of how I have used pretty much every suggestion in the previous 2 pages.
Moral of the story?
Soak it all in.
Don't rush to the next item if you don't have the fundamentals of the previous item down.
Don't get into the mind set that one thing is more important than the other.
Don't be afraid to fail!!!
Mighty Joker's statement that "Bird copied out his solos note for note," is simply untrue. He was perhaps the greatest improviser in jazz. Listen to different takes of the same tune, same studio, same day. All are radically different from each other. And it's reductive to imply that Tony Williams just
worked on rudiments. He listened, listened, listened; knew who the legends were. Copied solos and comping by Max Roach and Art Blakey-with his musical memory and his ear. He learned to read music from Alan Dawson. However, as flawed as some of these statements are, his overall point is correct--there are many paths to the waterfall.