Monday, February 12, 2018

Bob Gullotti: Chasin' the Bird

Not at that long ago (in the last ten years anyways...), Bob Gullotti was a big help towards my own doctoral research through the University of Toronto (much more than he likely realizes!)
In examining the notion of Melodic Jazz Drumming (found here: I recalled an obscure article from a long out-of-print Jazz education magazine that I first discovered in the McGill University Library in which Gullotti described using the solo phrases from the Charlie Parker Omnibook to develop solo vocabulary on the drum set. This intrigued me then (late 90s?) and this idea not only left an impression on me as a Jazz drummer but also prompted me to reach out and interview Gullotti on this specific topic several years later.

We never met in person however we did speak at length over the phone and his description and explanation of his use of Bird's "melodies" and how to orchestrate them around the drums was a big help in my research. In fact, I somehow think of this and all the possibilities of Melodic Drumming in some way or another every time that I sit down to play and teach at the drums.

So here's an example of Gullotti demonstrating this very concept, on the Charlie Parker tune Chi Chi:

As you can see and hear, Bird's melodic ideas lend themselves very well to orchestration around the drum set.

Bob is also a founding member of the long standing Boston trio The Fringe with tenor saxophonist George Garzone and bassist John Lockwood. Be sure to check these guys out if you ever find yourself in Boston.

Here's a 2012 article from NPR on the legacy of this very important trio:

And if you are interested in learning more about Bob's drumming teaching concepts, I would highly recommend checking out this new instructional lesson from My Music

Thanks for all your help Bob!

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