Today my 2 jazz jam buddies gave me some firm direction on how to play jazz drums. Ditch the steady 4 on the floor bass drums and just accent with the snare/bass drum. It will tighten up the time and lighten up the texture. " We don't need you to keep time".
Bingo, 9 years of occasional chunkiness goes poof.
In 2015 over lunch Rufus Reid told me how to comp and play the ride pattern on the jazz kit. I was in a serious funk. I had just come from a workshop where trumpeter/drummer Bobby Shew, vibraphonist/percussionist Dick Sisto, and legendary drummer/teacher Ed Soph simultaneously critiqued my playing in front of my classmates, while I haplessly played away. It wasn't pretty. I went to lunch ready to call it a day, hand in my sticks and head back to Canada.
Rufus saved my drumming career over lunch when he saw me sitting alone looking like I lost my best friend. Sitting down he asked me what was the matter. I told him. He said, "Play quarters on the ride and whenever you detect a space in the soloist and or melody, throw in the skip beat and/or comping 8th note" Bingo more flow, more listening. Thank you Rufus.
There is a lesson for all of us here: Take direction from master musicians, value feedback, and suck it up.
David Story: Professional pianist, drummer, composer, and educator. Well into his 4th enthusiastic musical decade, David works with adults pursuing musical dreams in the autumn of life, while he maintains an active presence in the Toronto arts scene.