Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lewis Nash on Brushes

For those of you who frequent my blog, you've probably noticed my appreciation for the work of New York Jazz drummer Lewis Nash and for the art of brushwork in general.

Well, today here's another tour-de-force....a dynamic brush solo and a virtual lesson in brushwork with the Master, Lewis Nash, again courtesy of the "Jazz Video Guy" Bret Primack:

This solo really fascinates me in terms of the sound Nash gets from the drums and the technique he uses. Generally, there are two different schools of brush playing in terms of sound production: playing off the head or playing into the head with the brush. In my experience, playing off the head with a staccato stroke is very effective when playing brushes with the snares off. This is how I started to play the brushes myself in the beginning, trying to emulate drummers such as Kenny Clarke and Papa Jo Jones. You get a nice clear sound and very defined, short stroke.

However, when I asked Joe LaBarbera about his brush technique at the Banff Centre during the summer of 1997, he encouraged me to leave the snares on when playing the brushes and trying "digging in" more with the brushes to get a fatter sound. Technically, completely opposite of what I had been used to practicing - but sounds great as well.

These days all brush techniques are good for me and I try to incorporate all of them into my bag o' brush tricks.

The above Lewis Nash drum solo is a great example of playing the brushes with the snares on, digging in to the drums and with what I would consider to be a fatter sound. I've heard Nash play brushes many times before and always considered him to be a Master brush player - although I was always pretty sure he was playing with his snares off and with that sharper articulation that I described above. So it was quite a revelation (for me anyways!) to hear and see Nash play brushes in that manner.

Lewis sounds great, as always. Time to practice my brushes... : )

And (on sticks this time!) here's Lewis swingin' hard with the Joe Lovano Nonet:

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