Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alan Dawson with Sonny Rollins

Brief, but great footage here of drummer Alan Dawson shown here in trio with Sonny Rollins and bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen playing on the Rollins classic Oleo:

Alan is another great drummer that deserves more attention. I hear alot of Roy Haynes in his playing (among many other influences from contemporaries of his). His crisp articulation and clear phrasing really do it for me ! Dawson is probably best known as Tony William's drum teacher and a fixture on the Boston scene who taught a plethora of great drummers for many years before he passed away. His coordination exercises based on Ted Reed's Syncopation text book are legendary and STILL giving drummer's headaches...

Check out this link at for another clip of Dawson with the same band, shown here trading 4's and stretching on the standard tune There Will Never Be Another You:

For those interested in checking out more of Alan Dawson's excellent drumming, I would highly recommend the following album, Dawson's "Waltzin' With Flo" (although this one is very obscure - so good luck finding it !)

This is a great album that really features Alan Dawson in his element with an all-star band.

As far as I know this is the only date that he lead as a leader.

For me it was also very important to check out this album as Dawson plays several tracks on the vibraphone as well (and sounds great too). I didn't realize that he played the vibes but according to several of his former students that I've encountered, playing the vibraphone was a integral part of his Alan's teachings and he would often accompany his students on the vibraphone during lessons. Clearly, playing the vibraphone contributed to developing his melodic approach to the drums as well. In fact, Ed Saindon told me that Dawson would often play gigs and shout the changes of the tune to the pianist from behind the drums !

1 comment:

  1. Jon

    Nice to see you writing on Alan. I (and Bobby Hsu) interviewed him in the mid-1980s when he visited Queen's University. I have the interview on tape -- somewhere -- and if I can find it, I'll transcribe.

    Alan was a real gentleman, very gracious and generous with his time and recollections.