Larry Kart

Ethan Iverson on "Whiplash," Buddy Rich

118 posts in this topic

http://dothemath.typepad.com/dtm/the-drum-thing.html

Pull quote:

"In light of the Whiplash phenomenon, I have no problem saying that if you think Buddy Rich is the greatest jazz drummer, you are racist."

Fortunately Iverson asked Mark Stryker to add his thoughts on Rich, and Mark does his best to restore some sanity to the proceedings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will read and maybe expound later, but having just watched the film, I find the taste level of the proceedings to be true to the milieu. Jazz school is a whole different beast than the critical establishment and whatever it is we have going on over here. IRL, that kid probably would want to be Buddy Rich and not Max Roach. I found the film to be rather ambiguous re: Andrew. I didn't feel like anything he thinks, feels, does or desires should be perceived by the viewer as the best course of action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://dothemath.typepad.com/dtm/the-drum-thing.html

Pull quote:

"In light of the Whiplash phenomenon, I have no problem saying that if you think Buddy Rich is the greatest jazz drummer, you are racist."

Fortunately Iverson asked Mark Stryker to add his thoughts on Rich, and Mark does his best to restore some sanity to the proceedings.

zero knowledge of or interest in the movie but it sure seems whenever Iverson tries to "think"... it's dopey effusion time, no matter his better intentions. (Just like his band's many crap recordings do NOT matter... save perhaps to exemplify the precise argument of "mere" chops versus __________ he's trying to make. Could be why dude's so "sensitive"? (I dislike Iverson's nomenclature and refuse to 'trade fours' with it here.)

I trust Iverson "means well" but he really needs to slow down, read more history-- both books and contemporary writing about/advertising for popular music, live and recorded-- and listen to a lot more recorded music 1890-1923... not a typo but if Iverson ponders what was recorded then, by whom and why he might be able to figure some things out without resort to nonsensical overassertion.

Rhetorical Q: how many times has Iverson read "The Souls of Black Folk"? At least once I'd reckon but... is once enough?

Chauncey Morehouse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6O6IJ1tPA

Ray Bauduc

Edited by MomsMobley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait wait wait, what is this now? A movie I have no interest in or intention of seeing is supposed to supplant whatever thoughts/feelings/conflicts/admirations/disdainments/whatevers I've been having about Buddy Rich pretty much my entire musical life? I gotta say, fuck that!

I'm sick of all this whiny shit. Buddy Rich was a baaaad motherfucker. Buddy Rich is also probably not on my list of favorite jazz drummers, or even drummers period. But he was a baaaaaaaaad motherfucker, totally, and that's what you gotta deal with, not all this "jazz drummer" bullshit, because that will get you nowhere except back where you started.

And oh, btw/fwiw, Basie made it a point to request Shaughnessy for those mid-60s Chico O'Farrill-arranged MOR dates (or so it's been said through the years). And apparently Basie would make it a point to let Buddy play a set whenever paths crossed, and loved it.So if the point is that "stage band drumming" and "jazz drumming" are different things, well, DUH. Past that...what, exactly? That people can't enjoy each other?

Just...grow up, Iverson. Grow up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's incredible stupid of Iverson ( and I agree with Moms ). I saw this movie last weekend and didn't like the whole idea of the film and the characters involved.

When I got home I showed my wife a video of Elvin Jones playing "Three Card Molly" to answer any questions she had about the real thing (as in drummers) and to cleanse my senses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I very much liked the movie which my wife and I saw on Saturday.

I thought J.K. Simmons was great in the part he was given.

As far as the the rest, I figured whoever wrote it had a late and very limited introduction to the music.

I am also perpetually fascinated how the narrative here and everywhere else regarding the musical and cultural is so different from mine. I think there is much truth in Simmons' character - I think a truth not even known by whoever invented him. Looking for the next Bird 60 years after he's gone. So busy ensconced in a tomb, they all missed the man his own school wouldn't even give a concert to.....maybe a guy like that was playing outside the school for change. 20 years ago it might have been Charles - maybe the other Charles (Brackeen) is still able to play out in LA if he's still alive at 75 ?!?! I guess these teachers missed them all as they were looking for the Bird who would only play Bird redux.

Race? I didn't even think of it until I opened this thread today. Ethan is off the deep end with that incoherent rant. Talk about pigeonholing and stereotyping.

Lordy Fucking Lordy

No more devotional drummer in this world than the *great* Randy Peterson

devotional to the family and the ultimate anti-groove

Let The Horse Go

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've become suspicious of this whole "real thing" line..I mean, I get it, but the festering implication is that other things aren't "real", and that's as true maybe less often that it is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait wait wait, what is this now? A movie I have no interest in or intention of seeing is supposed to supplant whatever thoughts/feelings/conflicts/admirations/disdainments/whatevers I've been having about Buddy Rich pretty much my entire musical life? I gotta say, fuck that!

I'm sick of all this whiny shit. Buddy Rich was a baaaad motherfucker. Buddy Rich is also probably not on my list of favorite jazz drummers, or even drummers period. But he was a baaaaaaaaad motherfucker, totally, and that's what you gotta deal with, not all this "jazz drummer" bullshit, because that will get you nowhere except back where you started.

And oh, btw/fwiw, Basie made it a point to request Shaughnessy for those mid-60s Chico O'Farrill-arranged MOR dates (or so it's been said through the years). And apparently Basie would make it a point to let Buddy play a set whenever paths crossed, and loved it.So if the point is that "stage band drumming" and "jazz drumming" are different things, well, DUH. Past that...what, exactly? That people can't enjoy each other?

Just...grow up, Iverson. Grow up.

:tup:tup:tup

Also, Iverson says that Rich's drumming sprang from that of Gene Krupa. Has he done much listening/have any ears? That's nonsense. And by that I don't mean that Krupa wasn't a fine player in the right settings, any more than Rich was not amazing in the right settings -- though neither is my favorite drummer; I just mean that the way Rich played owes little or nothing to the way Krupa played, other than that both often were in the solo spotlight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just the idea that such a selfish, cruel and demeaning character such as Fletcher could survive in a world that requires cooperation, empathy and understanding is outrageously upsetting. The fact the the student character is so myopic about Buddy as his one and only drumming God is almost as bad. Now, I love Buddy and saw him play many times and have been amazed by his talent and musicianship, but he really was/is a one of a kind in his own world and for a musician to be so singularly focused on his is unrealistic in a jazz college setting. For what Buddy did, he was the best. Elvin was Father Time!

There is a who mean spirited vibe about the movie from the back stabbing among the other students, much less between Fletcher and the the Mr. Student Drummer, but also in his personal relationship with his "girlfriend".

These are not my kind of people! Hence my craving to witness a little of the "real thing", both on a human and musical level.

The big band arrangements are lame, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My main problem with the article is the recurring disclaimer inserted in the text. If you need a recurring disclaimer, what you need (probably, IMHO) is to change the text and get rid of the disclaimer. And second, repetition renders it invisible (at least for me).

There's more in the line of historical inaccuracies (which I guess are covered by said disclaimer - it just doesn't make it for me). Maybe later.

F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My main problem with the article is the recurring disclaimer inserted in the text.

I was gonna post that i found the recurring disclaimer the best part of the article but it would be unfair as i did not finish reading it and like others have no interest in the movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact the the student character is so myopic about Buddy as his one and only drumming God is almost as bad. Now, I love Buddy and saw him play many times and have been amazed by his talent and musicianship, but he really was/is a one of a kind in his own world and for a musician to be so singularly focused on his is unrealistic in a jazz college setting. For what Buddy did, he was the best. Elvin was Father Time!

THIS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey there jazz fans! I'll check in tomorrow morning on this thread if you want to ask me a direct question.

If your curious, I vetted my post with a group of 10 critical readers, whose many comments changed the essay over time. This group included several black musicians and several truly excellent drummers. I don't blame them for what I wrote! This was my gig! But consensus was positive. At the end they all said, "do it."

I think Mark Stryker is here sometimes...as you may have guessed, having him be the "defense" gave me room to be the "prosecution." If I hadn't been lucky enough to have him participate, I wouldn't have closed with, "In light of the Whiplash phenomenon, I have no problem saying that if you think Buddy Rich is the greatest jazz drummer, you are racist." However, since Mark was there "restoring sanity," I felt I had room to make a complex argument culminating in that admittedly over-the-top claim. (I stand by the claim, even if it is rather theatrical.)

The other thing I'd add to this group of experienced listeners is that my piece is intended as a lob to the general world, not to experienced listeners like Organissimo. I must say that most of the responses I've gotten so far from other professional musicians has been gratitude. Everybody's mom is asking them about WHIPLASH.

I'm running around today...as I say, if anybody wants to ask a direct question I'll log in tomorrow morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ethan: I agree that "Whiplash" is an ugly, silly (certainly in psychological terms), and arguably pernicious piece of B.S., albeit I can't tell those who find it entertaining not to be entertained by it. My objection is, first, that you don't seem to have much of a clue as to who Buddy Rich was as a musician -- historically, stylistically, and aesthetically, if you will -- rather than as an icon in one corner of the stage-band community (e.g. historically and stylistically, your statement that Rich's drumming owes a big debt to/significantly springs from Krupa's: the two men don't sound a bit like each other, nor does Rich's "Traps, the Drum Wonder" child-prodigy-in-vaudeville upbringing leave room, chronologically or logically, for him to be a Krupa disciple). As for the claim that admiring Rich's drumming to some degree and in some settings -- I do, but he's not my favorite drummer -- makes one a racist, you are familiar with that noted racist Philly Joe Jones' intense admiration for Rich? Further, I would suggest that you track down Rich's late 1956 album "This One's for Basie," which is among other things a heartfelt and elegantly minimalist tribute on Rich's part to Jo Jones. More to be said here, perhaps, but I must leave the computer for a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"In light of the Whiplash phenomenon, I have no problem saying that if you think Buddy Rich is the greatest jazz drummer, you are racist."

I haven't even seen the movie and probably won't. Maybe I don't get the context or what is going on here, but that is a terribly inflammatory statement, uncalled for. I'm not sure Rich is the greatest jazz drummer, but awfully close, certainly the greatest for what he did. So I'm racist.

Sue me.

But I could redeem myself I guess, by saying that I think Oscar Peterson is the greatest jazz pianist (a statement many or most here would not agree with, I'm sure). But at least in saying it I'm not being racist, am I? I'm sorry, but this whole thing is the height of stupidity. Greatness is greatness, is it not, regardless of race?

Edited by John Tapscott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Further Ethan: You write "The other thing I'd add to this group of experienced listeners is that my piece is intended as a lob to the general world, not to experienced listeners like Organissimo. I must say that most of the responses I've gotten so far from other professional musicians has been gratitude. Everybody's mom is asking them about WHIPLASH."

Whenever I address "the general world" about jazz, I say or try to say the same things I would say to "experienced listeners," both in terms of substance and tone, if not in detail -- not only for moral reasons but also because I'm not clever enough to have more than one set of opinions. I certainly don't use "a lob to the general world" as a reason to make blanket accusations, a la ""In light of the Whiplash phenomenon, I have no problem saying that if you think Buddy Rich is the greatest jazz drummer, you are racist." (BTW, if one thinks that Rich is a great jazz drummer, but he is not one's personal favorite, where does that leave one on the racism scale?)

Again, we both agree that "Whiplash" is a crock. But do those "responses .. [of] gratitude" you've received from professional musicians refer to what you said about "Whiplash" (if so, we all agree on that) or to your disparagement of Rich and your statement that those who intensely admire Rich's drumming are racist? If the latter is so, perhaps you'd share some of those responses, with names unattached.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing I'd add to this group of experienced listeners is that my piece is intended as a lob to the general world, not to experienced listeners like Organissimo. I must say that most of the responses I've gotten so far from other professional musicians has been gratitude. Everybody's mom is asking them about WHIPLASH.

Oh, ok then. I can see where a movie review that plants the seed in the "general world" that people who admire Buddy Rich are racists (I know that's not EXACTLY what you said, but you know how those General Worlders are...) moves all kinds of things forward.

Thanks for that, dude!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If one thinks that Buddy Rich is the greatest jazz drummer, then one's perception might well be determined by a LOT of things (possibly including being wound too tight for your own damn good :g ), but at by least having a need to have a "the greatest" of anything in the first place...and that's more of a "male" thing than it is a race thing, especially at root.

And don't talk about Sonny Payne apart from the whiteflashydrummers. That's nuts. Perhaps you're not aware that there was (and still remains, probably, what's left of them) a school of Basie fans who CURSED THE LIVING FUCK out of Sonny Payne, especially right when he took over from Gus Johnson.

I get pissed as hell when "racism" is used as a simplistic out for a very real, complicated state of affairs. If anybody actually does think that Buddy Rich is the Greatest Jazz Drummer but their next favorites are Elvin Jones, Tony Williams & Jack Dejohnette (and I've know some drummers who felt like this), is the Racism in the "greatest" or in the "jazz" part? Or is it in the balancing of those things in the decison-making process. Is racism a matter of liking a particular brand of expression, or is it a matter of dismissing everything but that thing you like? Greatest, bullshit. Let's talk about FAVORITES and then see what rolls out. And even then, shit is nowhere near THAT simple.

So many types of racism, over, implied, and subliminal, consious and unconsious. But simplistic, lazy, knee-jerk proclamations do nothing but encourage simplistic, lazy, knee-jerk solutions. It's stirring a pot of soup, seeing a piece of potato that's too big, and thinking that the way to get that potato piece out is to stir the pot that much faster. Good luck on that.

I mean, seriously, this shit is wrong in all kinds of ways,...the only way to atone is to do a smart piece on Bruno Carr.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People living in harmony is not going to sound like people living in unison.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just the idea that such a selfish, cruel and demeaning character such as Fletcher could survive in a world that requires cooperation, empathy and understanding is outrageously upsetting. The fact the the student character is so myopic about Buddy as his one and only drumming God is almost as bad. Now, I love Buddy and saw him play many times and have been amazed by his talent and musicianship, but he really was/is a one of a kind in his own world and for a musician to be so singularly focused on his is unrealistic in a jazz college setting. For what Buddy did, he was the best. Elvin was Father Time!

There is a who mean spirited vibe about the movie from the back stabbing among the other students, much less between Fletcher and the the Mr. Student Drummer, but also in his personal relationship with his "girlfriend".

These are not my kind of people! Hence my craving to witness a little of the "real thing", both on a human and musical level.

The big band arrangements are lame, too.

As one who taught at the college level for many years, I found this post on the mark. This guy wouldn't have lasted five minutes before he was "drummed" out of a job. I love J. K. Simmons, and he was very good in the role, but the notion that someone as verbally and physically abusive as this would actually be allowed to teach is ludicrous. I haven't seen such a silly representation of teaching on screen since Robin Williams in "Dead Poets Society" (though in his case, the silliness was a polar opposite of Fletcher in this flick). As for the fixation on Rich, that actually made some sense to me. I could easily see a young drummer fixating on a particular role model, and Rich was a great drummer. All the race stuff strikes me as nonsense.

The "next" movie in which the music will figure is "Miles Ahead" directed and starring Don Cheadle. Hope springs eternal.

gregmo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've known plenty of musicians over the years that latch onto a single player they want to emulate/surpass, this tends to happen during the early years of learning an instrument. I also think it's kind of a passing phase, something you have to work through and then eventually the blinders fall away and you open yourself up to other influences.

It's also a MOVIE and you don't really have time to name-drop 20 great jazz drummers (that the majority of the audience have never heard of) to get your point across. It's more dramatically focused to pick 1 player and that's really all that was required in this particular instance.

I still disagree that Whiplash is a "crock". It's a damn entertaining FILM, made like an old-school Hollywood melodrama with everything amped up and exaggerated for the purpose of entertainment. The purpose of the film is not to be a documentary geared solely at the less than 1% of the moviegoing audience that listens to jazz. It's psychological warfare and the battlefield just happens to be set vaguely in the jazz arena.

Discussing this movie on a jazz board is like having a group of scientists sit down and nitpick the latest popular sci-fi film. It will get torn to shreds, but only by that almost infinitesimal audience, the rest of the general public will mostly likely enjoy it for what it is....entertainment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to me saying anybody is the greatest jazzdrummer or piano player or or or.. is stoopid on too many levels. as others noted it may be juvenile, sexist, historically ignorant etc. to me to say Buddy Rich ist the greatest also sounds at least racially offensive. it's a bit like calling the washington nfl club you know what. . so. like Iverson i have no problem with the statement.

Edited by uli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "next" movie in which the music will figure is "Miles Ahead" directed and starring Don Cheadle. Hope springs eternal.

I'm pretty sure that however good the Miles movie is it will be the final straw that brings about the jazz-internet-osphere apocalypse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "next" movie in which the music will figure is "Miles Ahead" directed and starring Don Cheadle. Hope springs eternal.

I'm pretty sure that however good the Miles movie is it will be the final straw that brings about the jazz-internet-osphere apocalypse.

Probably an accurate speculation. As a friend of mine who's both a musician and a music-school professor, and who loved Whiplash (as did I), said, "The jazz community always complains that it's never represented in popular culture, and then whenever it is, proceeds to heap critical scorn on that representation."

I've known plenty of musicians over the years that latch onto a single player they want to emulate/surpass, this tends to happen during the early years of learning an instrument. I also think it's kind of a passing phase, something you have to work through and then eventually the blinders fall away and you open yourself up to other influences.

It's also a MOVIE and you don't really have time to name-drop 20 great jazz drummers (that the majority of the audience have never heard of) to get your point across. It's more dramatically focused to pick 1 player and that's really all that was required in this particular instance.

I still disagree that Whiplash is a "crock". It's a damn entertaining FILM, made like an old-school Hollywood melodrama with everything amped up and exaggerated for the purpose of entertainment. The purpose of the film is not to be a documentary geared solely at the less than 1% of the moviegoing audience that listens to jazz. It's psychological warfare and the battlefield just happens to be set vaguely in the jazz arena.

Discussing this movie on a jazz board is like having a group of scientists sit down and nitpick the latest popular sci-fi film. It will get torn to shreds, but only by that almost infinitesimal audience, the rest of the general public will mostly likely enjoy it for what it is....entertainment.

:tup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of representations of jazz and documentaries, has there been any discussion on this board of Keep On Keepin' On? I've seen only clips, not the entire film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.