25 sept. 2008

From the point of view of a drummer, Buddy Rich is incomparable for of his speed and technical proficiency. Yet I have seen jazz critics say that Rich is not really a jazz player. This is obviously bull. He revered Papa Jo Jones and those tasteful players of that period. He is on some Ella sessions with Louis Armstrong and some trio dates with Lester Young, and he swings with great precision and grace, mostly playing relatively understated brushes. His work on the JATP tour with Norman Granz is pretty tasteful too. In that all-star format he did play some solos, but spent a good part of the time just being the drummer in the band.

Within that context, you still might prefer some other drummer of the same period. Jo Jones himself is my favorite of the swing era, and Max Roach of the bebop period. Billy Higgins and Phillly Joe, Jimmy Cobb. But you can't say that Rich is less jazzful as a pure accompanist. Maybe he was greater when he wasn't in the limelight. If he's drummer in a band that has Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker in front, well, it's just ridiculous to have that much human talent in one place at one time.

5 comentarios:

Jay dijo...

I think jazz critics and fans (particularly post-fusion) are inclined to be suspicious of players with incredible chops. But even players with incredible chops -- like Buddy Rich -- can swing and be tasteful.

What are your thoughts on Dannie Richmond and Ed Blackwell? (Both personal favorites, in addition to the other drummers you mentioned.)

Jonathan dijo...

I saw Blackwell with Old and New Dreams back in the 70s. Charlie Haden and Dewey Redmond. I've always liked his playing with Ornette too. It's a different sonic and rhythmic conception that your typical jazz drummer. Jeff Watts comes out of that tradition.

Richmond played with Mingus and I've always admired his loose, swinging feel. He had to probably follow Mingus wherever the latter was going rather than setting his own beat.

Jay dijo...

Thanks. I don't know Jeff Watts -- but will look out for him now. It's funny that keeping up with "new" players and especially song-writers/composers should be so hard for me -- especially since jazz (at least for me) is so much about the excitement of the new. But the canon has such sway and can be so consuming that I don't have the same enthusiasm for scouting out new players/composers. David Murray, Hammiet Bluiett, Geri Allen, Bill Charlap are the few I know of and really like. How do you keep up?

Jonathan dijo...

Jeff "Tain" Watts is a New Orleans drummer who's been associated occasssionally with some of Marsalis brothers.

Jay dijo...

Ah. For the reasons you mention above, I'm not so big on Wynton. And while Bradford seems fine, there are other players that interest me more. But I'll listen for Tain. Thanks.