Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tony Williams Quintet

Some footage today of one of the great Jazz quintets to come out of the 1980s & 90s, The Tony Williams Quintet, featuring:

Tony Williams - drums
Wallace Roney - trumpet
Billy Pierce - tenor saxophone
Robert Hurst - bass
Mulgrew Miller - piano

I consider myself very fortunate to have attended a drum clinic with Tony Williams about fifteen years ago, at an IAJE conference in Anaheim, California. Tony began his clinic with a very looooooong and awe-inspiring drum solo to a room packed full of students, educators and jazz legends. He then proceeded to give many honest answers to questions from the audience regarding everything from his tenure with Miles Davis to his technical approach to the drums.

In fact, I remember one humorous anecdote from that clinic in which someone asked Williams to describe his approach to brush playing. "Brushes?", exclaimed Williams, "I make a better spaghetti sauce than I play the brushes !" Tony Williams then proceeded to describe his favorite recipe and I wish I had written that down at the time...Incidentally, I must imagine that his sauce must be pretty damn good considering that I think his brush playing to be amazing by all accounts ! (check out his great brush playing on his Blue Note album entitled "Spring" for an example of some fine Tony Williams brush playing)

Anyways, that was quite an inspiring experience for a young jazz drummer at the time, such as myself.

I really dig Tony's yellow Gretsch drums with the three-floor tom configuration. Never did figure out those big black dots on the drumheads, though. However, he sure made them sound great !

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