Possible to be a Jazz drummer whilst listening and playing prog metal?

oxyplay

Junior Member
Just wanted some input guys, I really want to to get into Jazz drumming but IS it really possible to be good at it if I spend half my time studying prog metal as well? Do I have to really dedicate my entire time to it? I don't want I be regarded as a fake years down the line when I intend to join a Jazz band. With that being said what do you guys recommend that I learn?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
IS it really possible to be good at it if I spend half my time studying prog metal as well? Do I have to really dedicate my entire time to it? I don't want I be regarded as a fake years down the line when I intend to join a Jazz band. With that being said what do you guys recommend that I learn?
Ultimately, the answer is yes, you can do both. For example this and this are the same drummer.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Good answer KamaK. I have a real problem relating to the old school jazz. The samba makes sense to me. It might be the traditional jazz, like the stuff where the kick hardly ever plays that he's talking about. It's like there's no groove.
 

porter

Platinum Member
There is groove in the traditional jazz! The most important thing I had to learn coming from heavy stuff into jazz was that the priorities and stresses of instruments are basically inverted. In metal you often want to stress consistent, high-volume snare rimshots and kick. But in jazz, the kick drum is often the least important part of the kit, or at least the least audible. Snare rimshots should be saved for special occasions usually, and ghost notes are key. But the most important instruments in the classic stuff are the ride cymbal and a strong 2 and 4 on the hi-hat foot. I think touch and fluidity is not super specialized but listening to it certainly helps. Mostly, though, getting to the "right sound" is overwhelmingly a good balance of the instruments. Good luck!

Oh, I should add, good examples of the Brian Zink guy above. I thought he was a little heavy on the snare in the samba chart but the balance for that kind of stuff is different from traditional jazz (especially if you're playing to a track).
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
Sure, I think it's possible if it's what you want to do; but for me it required a sort of immersion.
I first started to study jazz about 18 months ago. If I'm honest, I started because I wanted to improve my independence and phrasing. I quickly got drawn into it - not just the music but also the story, the history, the players and so on. So really I practiced jazz pretty much exclusively for at least a year (by choice - it just felt like I needed to do that to 'get it'), and I have really developed a love for it. I have a long way to go of course!

I then took a left turn and worked on Drum & Bass for a couple of months!

All the while my gigs through this period have been with a rock band.

These days I spend some time practicing jazz and some time on other stuff, but for me that 'immersion' period made a great difference to all my playing.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Definitely possible.

Get as many feathers in your cap as possible.

If you get good at jazz independence then you'll laugh at metal.

Alternatively listen to Time Out (Dave Brubeck) That's progressive Jazz, I'm a mad prog rock fan and I love this album. That drum sound for 1959......
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
In a lot of ways those kinds of music are antithetical to each other-- I think Metal drumming has gotten so specialized it's almost a different instrument-- but most people are not just into jazz their entire life, and it can be done.

Just be aware that becoming more than a mediocre jazz drummer requires a lot of interest, time, energy, and love-- at some time in your life, preferably when you're young, you have to approach it like "this is the only music, this is all I want to do." And then you have to start hanging out with different people, and practicing, listening, and playing A LOT. At some point you do have to convert.
 

thebarak

Senior Member
You could try having a different kit, and different sticks, for the jazz. So you will come from a giant metal set with 2B sticks and sit behind a little bop kit with 7A sticks, and you'll forget about the rock gig before you even start to play.

Look at it as two different instruments.

The styles are so different, they can coexist, just as you are able to drive a car and then also walk.

No need to give either up.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Derek Roddy and George Kollias are both massive advocates of 'not just playing metal' - while I have no idea what they sound like playing jazz, I know they certainly have the skills and knowledge to play it.

Death metal is a far cry from jazz - so a prog drummer (who would generally play more technically complex stuff than blast beats) should have no trouble with the change in dynamics and feel that jazz requires.

Plus, as others have said - play everything! Being proficient at jazz will help you sound better overall anyway.
 

porter

Platinum Member
Even though I disagree with WhoIsTony?'s statement of convincing jazz (although I imagine that is defined quite differently for someone who primarily listens to jazz)... that Bozzio is definitely not the rebuttal to it.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Even though I disagree with WhoIsTony?'s statement of convincing jazz (although I imagine that is defined quite differently for someone who primarily listens to jazz)... that Bozzio is definitely not the rebuttal to it.
Listen to his chops.
There is Buddy Rich feel in much of what he is doing.
As for BR:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jDNzwVrmIc

As for what is jazz,to paraphrase the supreme court ,I know when I hear it.
Lot's of folks stuck in the dotted eighth sixteenth note era of the 50's and 60's when folks like Kenton and Don Ellis had pushed it way beyond that cliche.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
never heard a metal or rock guy play jazz convincingly at all ... the animal is just to different to flip that switch and sound authentic

also to me ...notice I said to me ...everything that follows is my opinion... and being a person who plays the music for a living I believe I am qualified .
jazz is not something you learn, it is something you live
many players pick up a Riley book and an Art Blakey album ... maybe even get themselves a new ride cymbal and have a go ... but unless you immerse yourself in the music and fall in love... unless you go back to the beginning and and understand the origins of the vocabulary listening almost obsessively ... unless you seek out every performance in your area and watch the masters perform and absorb everything happening on the bandstand.... unless you go to open jams and fall on your face and stay around for the hang, because from the hang comes the gigs ... and unless you get out on those gigs where you barely know some of the guys you are playing with and playing things that are completely unplanned and happening in the moment .... until you can assimilate and innovate all that vocabulary you spent all that time emulating to the point where you can express it second nature ... stream of consciousness while having a musical conversation with someone you quite possibly may have just met ... until your touch and phrases authentically come off your limbs as if you were comfortably speaking to friends ...
... until then you are not living jazz ... you are learning some jazz type phrases and most likely gaining some facility that you will eventually assist you in the very music that does have your whole heart
... but if jazz does not have your whole heart it is nothing more than a temporary phase most likely ...
there is nothing wrong with that ... everyone goes through their "jazz phase"

that doesn't mean you cannot have fun and learn from it

it will make you sound better with a better touch and feel in any style of music you play

if you are serious about taking the first step ... I recommend a good place to start is to get yourself a copy of the Art Blakey tune Moanin'
... take your ride cymbal away from your kit ... sit with your cymbal, your seat and a stick and play nothing but quarter notes to Arts ride beat as many times as you can stomach for about a 2 weeks straight ... I'm dead serious

... and I think I just read someone refer to jazz as "grooveless music"

my friend jazz created groove ...
You sir have just hit a rather large nail on the head!

No groove in jazz, oh dear.............All those amazing pop songs Motown/Stax/Wrecking Crew all jazz guys that swallowed some pride to make a lot of money.

The only 'rock' drummer that comes to mind that can swing a is Ginger Baker but again he is a jazz player.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
Well, Neil Peart managed it....
Neil Peart managed what? Please don't say playing jazz. That's offensive.

Listen to his chops.
There is Buddy Rich feel in much of what he is doing.
As for BR:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jDNzwVrmIc

As for what is jazz,to paraphrase the supreme court ,I know when I hear it.
Lot's of folks stuck in the dotted eighth sixteenth note era of the 50's and 60's when folks like Kenton and Don Ellis had pushed it way beyond that cliche.
Chops does not make jazz. Coming from Buddy or anyone else. Did they have them? Some did – some didn’t but chops is not what makes it swing. Also – jazz was around LONG before the 50’s/60’s. Swung REAL hard too.
Did the feel and approach evolve? Of course, no different than any other genre (hopefully).

Good answer KamaK. I have a real problem relating to the old school jazz. The samba makes sense to me. It might be the traditional jazz, like the stuff where the kick hardly ever plays that he's talking about. It's like there's no groove.
It takes a while to get into groove-less drumming. ….
A ton of groove. You just can’t find it because you can’t relate to it perhaps. It’s MORE than there though. Again the way in which it’s stated has changed over time as part of the evolution of the music. Big Sid stated it differently than Tony Williams who stated it differently than Jeff Watts. And yes. Brian Blade as cited.

never heard a metal or rock guy play jazz convincingly at all ... the animal is just to different to flip that switch and sound authentic
also to me ...notice I said to me ...everything that follows is my opinion... and being a person who plays the music for a living I believe I am qualified .
jazz is not something you learn, it is something you live
many players pick up a Riley book and an Art Blakey album ... maybe even get themselves a new ride cymbal and have a go ... but unless you immerse yourself in the music and fall in love... unless you go back to the beginning and and understand the origins of the vocabulary listening almost obsessively ... unless you seek out every performance in your area and watch the masters perform and absorb everything happening on the bandstand.... unless you go to open jams and fall on your face and stay around for the hang, because from the hang comes the gigs ... and unless you get out on those gigs where you barely know some of the guys you are playing with and playing things that are completely unplanned and happening in the moment .... until you can assimilate and innovate all that vocabulary you spent all that time emulating to the point where you can express it second nature ... stream of consciousness while having a musical conversation with someone you quite possibly may have just met ... until your touch and phrases authentically come off your limbs as if you were comfortably speaking to friends ...
... until then you are not living jazz ... you are learning some jazz type phrases and most likely gaining some facility that you will eventually assist you in the very music that does have your whole heart
... but if jazz does not have your whole heart it is nothing more than a temporary phase most likely ...
there is nothing wrong with that ... everyone goes through their "jazz phase"
that doesn't mean you cannot have fun and learn from it
it will make you sound better with a better touch and feel in any style of music you play
I’m not as qualified as Anthony is to make the statements he’s made since I don’t play music for a living. That being said, I was born into a family with a Dad who was a jazz drummer and an uncle who was a jazz saxophonist. I was raised on the music and the history of it. I didn’t know any other genre existed until I was about 10 years old.

I began learning how to play the music on drums when I was 10 and have done so ever since. Not only with teachers – but like the manner Anthony has stated – with players. I began playing with live players by the time I was 11.

The gigs aren’t there anymore where I live to do the hangs and such, but I did then when they were. Got shredded on the bandstand by many but the next time, I came back fighting that much harder until I was the one getting calls for the gigs.

By the way - I ABSOLUTELY SUCK TERRIBLY at playing standard backbeat music. I'm terrible and I simply don't care.

My rock groove is laughable and no one should ever be subjected to hearing it. Not even me.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I think it's really hard to do both well. Because I think the "10,000 hours" counter (with time spent listening as important as playing) almost has to be reset for jazz. There's so little overlap with backbeat music in general. Even the selection of drums and cymbals and the tuning choices are almost incompatible. And then metal is itself a highly-specialized thing, even farther removed. So they are worlds apart.

You definitely can't just lay your fusion chops on top of a traditional ride cymbal beat and call it jazz. Lots of drummers seem to think it's just about triplets and learning some independence out of a book. But that's not really what swinging is all about. It really does start with living inside that ride cymbal beat.

I get uncomfortable criticizing players much more accomplished than me for not swinging, but I hear even the icons who grace magazine covers struggle with it.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I play both and am much better at metal, but I started with that and listen to it much more.. My Jazz / Funk playing is getting better every day.

Learning another genre improves your overall playing and they style spills over into the other..

It's good to be able to play fast and slow, loud and quiet, and be able to do everything.

The issue is the hours and hours I spent on blasts and double kick are helpful for endurance, but when playing a slow groove it is a totally different thing.. Some jazz is super fast, some metal is super slow. It all complements each other.

My left foot on the hihat helps with my second bass drum pedal and vice versa. I always learn to keep time on the hats on the down and upbeats of every groove I play.

Just don't spread your self too thin. It is better to learn a few things well than practice 100 things and not master any of them.
 
Danny Carey comes to mind immediately for me. He trained as a jazz drummer long before he joined Tool.
Yeah, I've heard that about Jimmy Chamberlin too. But, even though JC is in a jazz quartet now, his "swing" still sounds like rock to me.

Any examples of DC playing straight jazz?
 
Top