Saturday, January 9, 2010

Frankie Dunlop

I decided today to highlight another favorite drummer of mine, but one who gets little attention in jazz circles - that being the great Frankie Dunlop who held the drum chair with Thelonious Monk's quartet during the 1960s (Ben Riley was another significant drummer who played with Monk around this time). Frankie Dunlop is, somewhat, so obscure that I couldn't even find a photo of him to post on my blog ! (so I settled for the cover of one of my favorite Monk albums he plays on). I was first introduced to Dunlop's brilliant and unique drumming style by now Paris-based jazz drummer Karl Januska. Karl and I went to McGill together during the mid-1990s and I've been a big fan of Dunlop's bouncy, medium tempos ever since. When I studied with drummer/pianist Andre White while pursuing my Master's Degree at McGill, studying Dunlop's approach to soloing and comping were both serious assignments he gave to me - and I sure learned a lot from those !

Frankie Dunlop is a great drummer that we should pay attention to and study. His approach to rhythm was a great compliment to Thelonious Monk's and, while steeped in the bop tradition of drumming, he definitely had his own thing going on. Pay attention to his solos and notice how he will intentionally turn the beat around and play the hi-hat on beats 1 & 3 - and it swings like mad !

*Also interesting to note: I once read in a Jazz Times magazine interview with drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts where he stated that Dunlop was a big influence on him as well. Maybe not such an obvious influence since the influence of Elvin and Tony play such a predominant role in Watt's drumming style. But it's in there !

Anyways, here's a few rare clips of Frankie Dunlop featured with Thelonious Monk:

And here's a clip of Ireland's premier jazz drummer, Conor Guilfoyle, demonstrating his transcription of Frankie Dunlop's solo on the Monk composition "I Mean You":

Conor has a wealth of great drum lessons on and check out his website for other great lessons and more transcriptions and such:

1 comment:

  1. Dunlop came to our town with Freddie Hubbard, very late in his career and shortly before he retired. It was my pleasure to be his "driver" and he was a very nice cat !