Why Is It?

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
So are we talking about open jam sessions and not a rehearsed concert?
I think that there is a huge difference between the two. If you know up front what you will play, you'll know that you can probably make it.
At a jam session, you're not really in control and if you don't know a certain tune, you might "butcher" it. Same thing would happen to Jazz drummers if they had to sit in at a Prog session and play an unfamiliar Rush song with signature grooves and fills.
Even if an unknown tune is not very fast and has a standard form like 32 bars of AABA, there are some dangers. For instance, if you don't know Nardis and you just play spang-a-lang with sticks from beginning to end, it won't be a lot of fun.
Anyway, you can make it easier for yourself if you attend a regular jam session as a listener and find out which tunes get played often. And of course you could ask which tunes the other musicians want to play before you sit in (or propose one yourself).
Luckily, some of the stressful factors of joining a session don't apply as much to drummers. If you don't know the changes, you're out of luck as a bassist (unless you have really great ears and are flexible). As a drummer it's easier to play an unfamiliar tune if you pay attention to the other musicians.

more open jam sessions, but also try out situations, or fill in situations.

and it is not the majority of situations, but at least around here, it is something that has always happened. There are also a few leaders and players who have a rep of being harsh just to be harsh...no one plays, or gets jazz like they do for whatever reason

and it is not just the jazz scene either...it happens on the orchestral scene too...lots of "looking down noses"

I used to let it really get to me util I heard other drummers - who I KNOW were really good - complain about the same people/situations
 

someguy01

Well-known member
more open jam sessions, but also try out situations, or fill in situations.

and it is not the majority of situations, but at least around here, it is something that has always happened. There are also a few leaders and players who have a rep of being harsh just to be harsh...no one plays, or gets jazz like they do for whatever reason

and it is not just the jazz scene either...it happens on the orchestral scene too...lots of "looking down noses"

I used to let it really get to me util I heard other drummers - who I KNOW were really good - complain about the same people/situations
Some people are just power hungry dicks and they won't change. It's just easier to avoid them until they find themselves all alone and in desperate need of a life evaluation.
I see it often in people who are new to any form of management.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
There is no explanation, even here. Folks post jazz questions, and the answer is always "listen to jazz". Well that's great, still doesnt explain how to do stuff, when to do stuff, and why to do stuff. I can listen to all the jazz in the world, but still don't understand any of it. This definitely doesnt lead to want to try to play it.

Not everyone knows what comping is. Not everyone knows what AABA is. If one doesnt even understand the basics of how the music works, why would we want to play it? That would just be humiliating.

There isnt even really a definition of what jazz is. Squirrel Nut Zippers anyone?

When I hear jazz musicians say stuff like "Those who can, play jazz. Those who cant, play rock", this really turns me off. This is the jazz snobbery no one likes to acknowledge.

Jazz feels like a secret club that wants no new members. It's really just not worth the bother to even try to learn. This is coming from someone who enjoys learning.
 
There is no explanation, even here. Folks post jazz questions, and the answer is always "listen to jazz".
I disagree - there are usually recommendations like practicing Syncopation / the Jim Chapin book / the John Riley books / the Wilcoxon books. Building the coordination and control to play some typical stuff is the first step. How and when you play what is a matter of taste or convention. How would you tell a young Metal drummer when to play a blast beat and when to do something else? It's a personal decision that is also rooted in what other Metal drummers have done before, so isn't the answer "Listen to Metal"? I'm not trying to pick a fight here - I really don't see a big difference. :)
Not everyone knows what comping is. Not everyone knows what AABA is. If one doesnt even understand the basics of how the music works, why would we want to play it? That would just be humiliating.
Because you listened to it, enjoyed it and now you want to do it yourself? If you can't get anything out of the music, why play it? Nobody forces anyone to play Jazz (unless you want to go college maybe).
If you're starting to play other styles, you also need to learn new things: power chords, gravity blasts, Bo Diddley beat, Train Beat, Nashville number system... How are you supposed to know what those words mean? You need to look it up. That doesn't mean that Country is a secret club that wants to keep newcomers out.
And isn't Metal also humiliating? As a beginner you can't keep up with anything you hear on records and you feel like you don't know anything - probably because that's actually true. I think a better word would be "challenging".
 

someguy01

Well-known member
I disagree - there are usually recommendations like practicing Syncopation / the Jim Chapin book / the John Riley books / the Wilcoxon books. Building the coordination and control to play some typical stuff is the first step. How and when you play what is a matter of taste or convention. How would you tell a young Metal drummer when to play a blast beat and when to do something else? It's a personal decision that is also rooted in what other Metal drummers have done before, so isn't the answer "Listen to Metal"? I'm not trying to pick a fight here - I really don't see a big difference. :)

Because you listened to it, enjoyed it and now you want to do it yourself? If you can't get anything out of the music, why play it? Nobody forces anyone to play Jazz (unless you want to go college maybe).
If you're starting to play other styles, you also need to learn new things: power chords, gravity blasts, Bo Diddley beat, Train Beat, Nashville number system... How are you supposed to know what those words mean? You need to look it up. That doesn't mean that Country is a secret club that wants to keep newcomers out.
And isn't Metal also humiliating? As a beginner you can't keep up with anything you hear on records and you feel like you don't know anything - probably because that's actually true. I think a better word would be "challenging".
I think what he was getting at is the community itself. The metal community is pretty open and accepting, even though there's gonna be heckling ( everyone's a critic don't ya know) as is the funk/hiphop/pop community. The jazz community can seem to a newcomer/outsider to be very insular and not very welcoming unless you have acquired a reasonable to them skill set.
I have tried with videos and other means to learn some basic jazz, but no one explains well to beginner beyond "spang a lang". It's not like I don't listen either, my grandfather was huge jazz fan and I acquired many of his records and have been listening for decades, but when drummers start with all the terminology, they might as well be speaking Sanskrit as it makes no sense to me.
None of this may be the reality, but it is the perception of this guy based on experience.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I disagree - there are usually recommendations like practicing Syncopation / the Jim Chapin book / the John Riley books / the Wilcoxon books.
Books is a cop out answer. Anyone can suggest books. If you dont know how to apply the resources, you havent learned anything. A human can answer questions, books just lay out exercises.

And isn't Metal also humiliating? As a beginner you can't keep up with anything you hear on records and you feel like you don't know anything - probably because that's actually true. I think a better word would be "challenging".
Not at all. The metal community is very welcoming. I have never met a metal drummer who was secretive about their craft. Metal drummers will be happy to explain heel/toe, gravity blasts, etc. with anyone who wants to know. We encourage new metal drummers and welcome them into the fold.

I think what he was getting at is the community itself.
This is exactly right. Why would I want to even try to be a part of a community that gives off the impression that they dont want me there?
 

someguy01

Well-known member
Without an audio reference, this might as well be hieroglyphics:
it's just how I learn, I'm sure others can look at this and hear it exactly as it should be played.
Screenshot (20).png
 
The jazz community can seem to a newcomer/outsider to be very insular and not very welcoming unless you have acquired a reasonable to them skill set.
I guess that applies to all genres - if I did an audition for a Metal band they'd send me home. No double bass chops? No blast beats? Wrong intensity? No fast runs down the toms? I'd be totally useless to them. Likewise, a guitarist that can't play any traditional songs and has never heard of John Denver won't make it into a Folk or Country band.
Books is a cop out answer. Anyone can suggest books. If you dont know how to apply the resources, you havent learned anything. A human can answer questions, books just lay out exercises.
Yes, but you still need to sit down for yourself and practice Metal-related exercises. Just knowing about heel-toe technique won't make you a functional Metal drummer. You do useful exercises until you have a certain vocabulary and things slowly fall into place. A teacher (regular paid teacher or a mentor from your local community), listening to lots of Metal, learning songs... there's no way around it if you don't want to make the journey unnecessarily frustrating.
You said in the recent thread on Metal drumming "There is a very long, frustrating road ahead of you. As a metal drummer, you will run into roadblocks normal drummers dont have. You must learn techniques other drummers dont use."
Same goes for Jazz drummers - you won't need a Bossa Nova groove (or even triplets) in lots of music, but if you want to become a Jazz drummer, you need to learn it.
Not at all. The metal community is very welcoming. I have never met a metal drummer who was secretive about their craft. Metal drummers will be happy to explain heel/toe, gravity blasts, etc. with anyone who wants to know. We encourage new metal drummers and welcome them into the fold.
I've met several arrogant Metal musicians that look down on anyone who can't keep up with the speed of artist XY. Maybe you've met the wrong people, but judging a whole community based on those experiences? Again, most Jazz guys I've met are pretty nice and supportive if they see a newcomer showing some interest in the music.
 

someguy01

Well-known member

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I think what he was getting at is the community itself. The metal community is pretty open and accepting, even though there's gonna be heckling ( everyone's a critic don't ya know) as is the funk/hiphop/pop community. The jazz community can seem to a newcomer/outsider to be very insular and not very welcoming unless you have acquired a reasonable to them skill set.
I have tried with videos and other means to learn some basic jazz, but no one explains well to beginner beyond "spang a lang". It's not like I don't listen either, my grandfather was huge jazz fan and I acquired many of his records and have been listening for decades, but when drummers start with all the terminology, they might as well be speaking Sanskrit as it makes no sense to me.
None of this may be the reality, but it is the perception of this guy based on experience.

in my experience...

the only thing I ever got made fun of, or looked down upon in the metal/punk community was not drinking or smoking pot. I have never had a musical situation where I was made fun of, or excluded because of the lack of knowledge of how do do it. We usually all failed, made light of it, and then tried again.

in the jazz situations, it was never usually outright negative, but at first, it always seemed I had to prove myself first. Like it took a few sessions for guys to open up after repping.

and in the orchestral situations, there were times where all I did was take off my coat and lay down my stick bag, and I would get snide comments and looks..."Innovative Percussion sticks. You must be a drum corps guy" along with these looks > :rolleyes: 😒

and not saying that there are NOT arrogant metal guys, and chill jazz guys, but again, IME, it seems like metal guys lead with a handshake, and jazz/orchestral guys lead with a look and a "back"
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Yes, but you still need to sit down for yourself and practice Metal-related exercises. Just knowing about heel-toe technique won't make you a functional Metal drummer. You do useful exercises until you have a certain vocabulary and things slowly fall into place. A teacher (regular paid teacher or a mentor from your local community), listening to lots of Metal, learning songs... there's no way around it if you don't want to make the journey unnecessarily frustrating.
I totally agree. I just dont see many jazz related technique questions really get answered in a "how to" form. Maybe it can't be, I dunno. In a metal scenario, there would be videos and explanations, like a step by step guide practically. Perhaps that's the nature of the music. I know metal inside and out, and it's pretty complicated. I'm so lost with jazz, but yet it seems so simple.

I've met several arrogant Metal musicians that look down on anyone who can't keep up with the speed of artist XY. Maybe you've met the wrong people, but judging a whole community based on those experiences? Again, most Jazz guys I've met are pretty nice and supportive if they see a newcomer showing some interest in the music.
Possibly. Being part of the scene and not could produce different attitudes I suppose. The only really arrogant folks I ran into in the metal community played strings. But again I was a part of this community, so perhaps perceptions were different. Most everyone I met over my 8 year "career" (I use that lightly) was a pretty easy going individual. Lots of nerds in metal.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
in the jazz situations, it was never usually outright negative, but at first, it always seemed I had to prove myself first. Like it took a few sessions for guys to open up after repping.

and in the orchestral situations, there were times where all I did was take off my coat and lay down my stick bag, and I would get snide comments and looks..."Innovative Percussion sticks. You must be a drum corps guy" along with these looks > :rolleyes: 😒

and not saying that there are NOT arrogant metal guys, and chill jazz guys, but again, IME, it seems like metal guys lead with a handshake, and jazz/orchestral guys lead with a look and a "back"

Who gives a shit, though? New people always have to prove themselves, in any playing situation. It's just a loser's attitude to get hung up on that aspect of it, and either retire from the situation or never form a relationship because some people were a little cool at first. If someone is hesitant to greet you normally, then you greet them normally, and proceed with business.

And, you don't know what someone's "look" means, some people are just shy or socially awkward. Like if they've been living in a cubicle with a saxophone for 25 years. People may not be as focused on judging you as you think.
 
I totally agree. I just dont see many jazz related technique questions really get answered in a "how to" form. Maybe it can't be, I dunno. In a metal scenario, there would be videos and explanations, like a step by step guide practically. Perhaps that's the nature of the music. I know metal inside and out, and it's pretty complicated. I'm so lost with jazz, but yet it seems so simple.


Possibly. Being part of the scene and not could produce different attitudes I suppose. The only really arrogant folks I ran into in the metal community played strings. But again I was a part of this community, so perhaps perceptions were different. Most everyone I met over my 8 year "career" (I use that lightly) was a pretty easy going individual. Lots of nerds in metal.
We might just be stuck in our own respective youtube bubbles! There are lots of tutorials on Jazz drumming. For comping, this is a neat introduction to the concept of using Syncopation:
It's just one rhythm to demonstrate the concept. After that, you could sit down with Syncopation or something similar and play all those 8th and quarter notes rhythms. The next video is about using the bass drum.
Of course, you can do it without knowing anything about notation, but it makes it easier if you do. After you've built some facility, it's up to you what to play behind a soloist. Do you mimic his or her rhythms? Do you fill in the gaps with something different? Do you keep on going and let the soloist do his/her thing? No hard rules here - you do whatever seems like a good choice at the moment.

For soloing, there are also videos, but I don't want to type endlessly. :D

If you know any good Metal tutorials, please share them in this thread: https://www.drummerworld.com/forums...onal-resources-websites-blogs-youtube.176444/
You'll find a ton on Jazz in that thread but not a lot of Metal yet, because I don't know which tutorials are good.
And if you get along with nerds, you'll find tons of them in the Jazz scene. They might just have a different taste of music. :)
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I'm basically a rock, blues and funk drummer. I have gone to a few jazz jams. I did just fine playing jazz. Mainly because 60 years ago my drum teacher taught me how to play jazz. But I will share with you why many drummers might feel nervous playing jazz.

1. In most cases jazz is played at a low volume. When playing drums at low volumes your mistakes will stand out. Your technique, and your accuracy of tempo will be fully exposed. It can be hard for rock drummers to play fast and a low volume.
2. The rhythm of the song is kept with the hi hat and the ride cymbal. The other musicians in the band are listening for your pattern on your ride cymbal and your hi hat click. In my rock band I can't even hear the pattern on my ride cymbal. And in rock music the click of the hi hat is very hard to hear. In rock music the bass drum and the snare provides the rhythm of the song. I was playing with some jazz musicians at a local jazz jam. After I was done the bass player commented that I played very well, but I did not need to play the bass drum so loud. And I was barely hitting the bass drum!
3. Playing 2/4, 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8 is no problem. But there is always that fear that the band will start playing some strange off tempo time signature.
4. Many jazz tunes include drum solos. If you are afraid to solo, jazz is not for you. Actually that is what I like about jazz. It is very friendly to drum solos. You need to be ready to trade fours. If you don't know what that means, find out before you play jazz.
5. You need to know how to play with brushes. And when to use brushes. And which songs sound better with brushes.
6. And lastly, unless you listen to classic and contemporary jazz tunes you won't be familiar with jazz tunes. This is not a major issue, but it helps a great deal to be familiar with the song you are playing.

All of these things can create pressure on many drummers who don't normally play jazz.


.
Point number 2 hits the nail on the head for me. I'm mostly a rock guy and the few times I've ventured into Jazz, I've struggled to groove subtly on the cymbals and hi-hats. That's a real detriment to the other people I've played with.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I don’t fear jazz as much as jazz should fear me… 😂 (y) I remember jamming with a jazz band at college (I had to step in to record with them for a regional jazz competition because their regular drummer wasn’t eligible)…they started a New Orleans style rendition of “When the saints go marching in” so I joined in but was a little louder than they were used to (I thought appropriately so)…the wtf looks on their faces when I started smashing a backbeat were a joy to behold!!😂(y) I’d obviously play it differently now but at the time it was a proper jazz rock mash up! We were all smiling by the end of the tune and had a good chuckle about it. :)
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
A few observations about the jazz scene:

1. It's small. Most actual jazz musicians in a given area-- the guys who are "all in" on the music-- know or are at least aware of each other.
2. There are relatively few actual jazz performing gigs in most cities-- like, gigs where people are paying to hear jazz musicians play. Most "jazz" gigs are wallpaper gigs-- music that serves to convey a mood in a restaurant.
3. Most professional jazz musicians have devoted a crap-ton of time to learning the music and learning their instruments. Their deep familiarity with, and awareness of, all the key people who've come before them on the instrument is a signature trait.
4. Most modern jazz musicians have come up through high school music programs and music colleges, both of which have shaped their outlook.
5. A lot of musicians who play jazz exclusively understand that theirs is a niche interest. Like any niche interest, participants are looking for like-minded people to spend time with. It's not so much arrogance (although it's sometimes that) as it is a desire to find people who care about the music as much as they do and with whom they don't have to do a lot of explaining.
6. A lot of jazz musicians make their livings playing theater gigs or other things requiring a lot of discipline, reading skills, etc.
7. Most jazz musicians-- especially younger ones-- definitely listen to music other than jazz.

In the scene around here, a lot of the key players have known each other since high school. They've been playing together, checking out records together, going to shows together, playing with visiting jazz artists together-- the whole bit. So, they've got pretty specific hopes for what they think jazz should sound like. And it can get pretty granular, like a bass player having strong opinions about what sorts of ride cymbals he likes to play along with. Back in the day I was playing a lot with a sax player who loved one particular cymbal I owned. So, I used that cymbal on every gig we played together. It can get stultifying, for sure, or it can feel like a pair of warm slippers if you're playing with like-minded people.

Anyway, people certainly can be arrogant, but mostly I think it's nerdy and meritocratic-- people can sniff out if you've done the work to really immerse yourself in the music.

BTW, lest you think I'm endorsing all this: I've stopped playing jazz after 20 years on the scene and hundreds of gigs because of a lot of the things mentioned above. I find a lot more freedom and openness and joy playing with original songwriters these days. It's just not me.
 
I don’t fear jazz as much as jazz should fear me… 😂 (y)
I think you're confusing Jazz with spiders (a common misconception)...

Anyway, Jazz players might often look dead serious, but that's mostly because they are alert and concentrated. But when things line up, even they will smile. If you can't enjoy it, it might just not be your thing. I don't enjoy some things that other people love - who cares? :)
 

jansara

Junior Member
Jazz can be intimidating because of the syncopation and independence associated with the genre. It's a lot easier to lay down a repetitive backbeat than to comp around a jazz soloist. Keeping it simple with the ability to swing while playing straight time will work fine but unfortunately many cannot do that. "It takes a helluva good drummer to replace no drummer." ~ Chet Baker
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
Yep. I think all of the comping is the issue. Not just 4/4 bass and snare. But I think if more time would be given to practice of this style the fear would go away.
This ⬆️ is it. I am a four on the floor guy most of the time, but jazz/fusion is SO MUCH FUN to play, especially with odd time signatures scattered about. So glad that I joined the jazz band in HS which included daily jamming. Not sure why I never thought to lobby for a Rock band class…
 
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