Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Farnsworth on Brushes
I never get tired of watching Joe Farnsworth's slick moves with the brushes:
Also, notice the absence of any toms or extra cymbals in his setup. As a matter of fact, I was listening to Kenny Clarke today on some recording dates done in the early 50s for the Savoy record label when Klook was their house drummer and I was reminded of why it's important to be able to play just a basic collection of drums to get the job done. Apparently, Clarke was so busy doing recording sessions at the time that he would often play with just a minimalist setup to facilitate transporting his drums between recording sessions, running across town. I'm always impressed when I hear him swing so mightily on those recordings and play so creatively, occasionally soloing just on a snare drum and using such a limited setup. Hanks Jones' "The Trio" is a good one (thanks to Jesse Cahill who set me up with that one in 1996!) and "Kenny Clarke Meets The Detroit Jazzmen" is another personal favorite.
I often enjoy the challenge of using a small, one-cymbal setup with no toms when I'm playing club dates (btw - that seems to be a term that nobody in Calgary nor Toronto ever seems to understand. I guess it's a Montreal thing?) Although recently there have been a few local gigs I've played like this to give myself the challenge of getting more out of less. I first heard drummer Leon Parker play like this as well although with no hihat either (!) accompanying the Jacky Terrasson trio in Saskatoon around 1995. His ability to get so many sounds out of so few drums and cymbals was really quite shocking.
By the way, what ever happened to Leon Parker? At another Saskatchewan Jazz Festival date around 1999 I heard Leon play in Saskatoon as a duet with Charlie Hunter and that still resonates as some of the heaviest music I've heard. The groove was very deep. Incidentally Leon was playing a rather large drumset that evening but still no hihat !