Wednesday, January 23, 2013
KWash with Benny Green
On Sunday evening I heard the "Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour" at the Epcor Centre in Calgary. The band featured an all-star lineup with the likes of Chris Potter, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Benny Green and Lewis Nash. It was a great show and really featured the strengths and talents of the diverse musicians. In particular, the hook-up between bassist McBride, Benny Green on piano and drummer Lewis Nash was impeccable and a lesson in itself in the art of rhythm section playing. This was definitely one of the better shows I've heard in recent memory.
I searched around for some recent footage of Benny Green and came across this good one of his trio featuring Kenny Washington on drums:
Really dig the deep, relaxed, swinging and soulful groove that Washington gets at this slower tempo, especially when he switches to sticks. Now THAT is hard!!! In fact, I recall from an interview with Washington in a Modern Drummer magazine from the early 90s where Kenny stressed the importance of checking out Mel Lewis' slow cymbal beat on track "The Night Time Is The Right Time" from the album "Presenting Joe Williams and Thad Jones/Mel Lewis - The Jazz Orchestra".
One should never underestimate the importance of practicing one's ride cymbal beat at a VERY slow tempo. This is something that my teacher at McGill, Chris McCann, stressed way back during my undergrad days and I feel that being able to play that cymbal pattern in a relaxed AND accurate fashion really separates the men from the boys! I think it also really establishes one's ability to feel a definitive triplet subdivision and sets the stage for a really authentic sounding/feeling Jazz cymbal beat.