Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Whole Drum Truth!

A pretty amazing collection of current Jazz drummers, all collaborating together in one giant collective percussion discussion. Featuring Joe Saylor, Willie Jones III and Sylvia Cuenca, all led by the elder statesman Albert Tootie Heath on drums:

I've personally had two significant drum set ensemble experiences such as this, first playing with Joe LaBarbera at the Banff Centre in 1997 and then with Billy Hart in Lake Placid, New York in 1998. In both instances both LaBarbera and Hart insisted that we all set-up and play together during our daily morning, drum masterclasses (anywhere from 6-8 drum sets all at once, with our drums set-up collectively in a giant circle!) It's very rare that we as drummers have the opportunity to play together with other drummers and we should really encourage more of this sort of thing.

I don't think the label "drum battle" really applies to this sort of configuration (not like the friendly rivalry of Rich vs. Krupa for example) but this is more of an attempt to explore the idea of a group of drummers playing multiple drum sets, together as a true ensemble. Once we shed the competitive aspects of playing the drums in a context such as this, ensembles like this really become a positive experience and a chance to share and celebrate our collective love for rhythm, the drums and the "brotherhood" of drumming to which we all belong.

Here's another incarnation of the same group but with different personnel (this time with Billy Hart, Idris Muhammad, Louis Hayes and, again, Albert Tootie Heath):

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