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#1225356 - 06/30/09 11:01 PM Working with drummers
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I am starting to realize that a drummer can really make or break the band. and that a solid drummer is like a rare diamond... they are hard to come by, at least where I live.

If the drummer is just not solid.. it really feels like there is this giant hole in the music, and you never feel safe about playing. You can't really take any risks, and you feel like you have to make extra effort to make sure things doesn't go out of line, so you end up taking your focus away from what you are doing.

I am not saying it's the drummers job to keep time soley, I have responsibility too, but it really shows when the drummer is the weakest link time-wise. I end up listening to the bass player for time and find a lock with him, and pretty much ignore the drummer.

It's also very frustrating, because I enjoy doing over-the-barline or metric modulation/hemiola stuff on my solos, but I can't do them without 'misleading' the drummer. I can pull them off fine in a duo gig with bass player.

I also think trading 4s really tell just how good the drummers time is..a lot of time me and the bass player look at each other wondering exactly where we are supposed to come in, but with a good drummer there is no doubt about that.

On a side not i was talking about Bill Evans trio with a friend of mine.. we talked about how Bill is constantly on top of the beat, and borderline rushing.. and I really feel like Bill was able to do what he does because he had a very solid drummer holding him down and keeping everything together...


Edited by etcetra (06/30/09 11:02 PM)

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1225359 - 06/30/09 11:06 PM Re: Working with drummers [Re: etcetra]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I am listening to "The Intuition" album with Eddie Gomez.. and in my opinion, they are not playing as "aggressively" as they usually do as a trio.. it still sounds like Eddie is somewhat holding the tempo together for Bill

I don't know if its just me.. I love Bill's playing but sometimes I wish he could just lay back a little

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#1225390 - 07/01/09 01:04 AM Re: Working with drummers [Re: etcetra]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
I love the track on Intuition called "A Face Without A Name". He tweaks that same signature arpeggio again and again in his solo. It's the only thing I have really transcribed in the past two years. I don't care much for the tracks where he plays a Rhodes on the same album.

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#1225528 - 07/01/09 10:11 AM Re: Working with drummers [Re: etcetra]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 375
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I am listening to "The Intuition" album with Eddie Gomez.. and in my opinion, they are not playing as "aggressively" as they usually do as a trio.. it still sounds like Eddie is somewhat holding the tempo together for Bill

I don't know if its just me.. I love Bill's playing but sometimes I wish he could just lay back a little


I think playing duo with a bassist might promote playing more notes to fill the gaps of the missing drums. At least that's what I've experienced. I think the Bill Evans duo records with Jim Hall are much better then the ones with Eddie Gomes, especially Intermodulation, which is one of my favorite Bill Evans albums, probably cause it was really good produced. The sound of Evans in the 70ths is not as mellow as in the 60ths and I guessing this is partly the producers and engineers fault.

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#1225579 - 07/01/09 11:55 AM Re: Working with drummers [Re: KlinkKlonk]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
KlinkKlonk

I kind of think the opposite.. I think Eddie Gomez was much more aggressive rhythmically with a drummer. It's almost as he has the freedom to fill in the gap because he has the drummer as the point of reference. I remember listening to some of the trio recording where it would have been very hard to know where 1 was if I was just listening Bill and Eddie without the drummer. But Eddie didn't seem to do as much to "obscure where 1 is" on the duo CD.

I am listening to Intermodulation now. its a great CD. But even on that CD.. I feel like Jim Hall's steady comping is really holding things together and Bill is kind of 'floating' over that...I find myself listening to Jim Hall for time even when he is soloing.

at least that's my opinion

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#1226010 - 07/02/09 05:16 AM Re: Working with drummers [Re: etcetra]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 711
Loc: Germany
Chet Baker: "You have to be a helluva a good drummer to be better than no drummer at all."

Here's a nice recording for you to check out. THE VISIT with Bill Dobbins and John Goldsby (piano and bass). You can listen to the whole thing for free on Last FM. The Visit: Last FM
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1226015 - 07/02/09 05:50 AM Re: Working with drummers [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
haha that's a great quote.. I'll remember that for next time when I work with not so good drummers..

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#1226105 - 07/02/09 10:40 AM Re: Working with drummers [Re: etcetra]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 711
Loc: Germany
I love that quote, too. My dad is a drummer and he's the one who sent it to me. I ended up using it as the first line of my novel, RHYTHM, which, you guessed it, is about a drummer.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1226225 - 07/02/09 02:51 PM Re: Working with drummers [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I think for other instruments you can get way with being kind of good, but drummers can't get away with just having 'kind of' descent time. Drummers are dime a dozen, but a solid drummer really is like a rare diamond.

btw way thanks for the link to the Bill Dobbins stuff.. he is a great piano player smile

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#1226471 - 07/03/09 02:26 AM Re: Working with drummers [Re: etcetra]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 711
Loc: Germany
My pleasure, etcetera.

You are so right about good drummers being like a rare diamond. Or a fine wine!

Best,
Robin
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1227110 - 07/04/09 05:47 PM Re: Working with drummers [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
dave solazzo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/09
Posts: 160
Loc: syracuse ny
that chet baker line is great! im going to start using that--when it need it. :-)

i know when i play with a drummer who is dragging it makes my hands and arms feel heavy. it's like trying to climb a mountain with a log on your back...or a backpack full of rocks. you cant pull off your lines under those circumstanes. it's terrible. but the right drummer--someone who is really swinging and moving things forward--can really elevate the music and make it easy to play. i love to play with drummers like that, but it seems that those drummers are a bit hard to find.
_________________________
http://davesolazzo.com

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#1227234 - 07/05/09 02:03 AM Re: Working with drummers [Re: dave solazzo]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
For me, I usually have to deal with drummers who are rushing. it's really uncomfortable.. It's like someone dragging you with a rope. you feel like you are constantly being pushed, and you can't relax when you're playing like that.

But the worst kind are ones that changes tempos on you suddenly and they don't even realize it. it's like all the sudden the tune is 10bpm faster or slower. I asked the drummer if he was doing it on purpose and apparently he didn't even realize he was doing that.

I remember one time I started counting off a tune at a medium tempo, ad the drummer immediately took it up to an up tempo. i was looking at the bass player wondering what in the world is going on. eventually I had to give in and play at that tempo.. but it was horrible, nothing settled and it was all over the place.

I know my time isn't perfect but when you work with good musicians, you are constantly listening and adjusting. I do rush, but catch myself being ahead of the band, and I am usually able to come back. But I think the problem with the drummers I mentioned is that they are not really listening, so they there is really no way of helping them and you are stuck with whatever it is they do.

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