Hardbopjazz

Drummers that were/are also very good composers.

25 posts in this topic

This topic came to mine after listening to an old interview from WKCR with Max Roach. I wish I had a copy of the interview. In the early 50s Max was going to record an album and was told to provide at least one original composition. He was telling Phil Schaap he was struggling to write something for the session the next day. His door bell rang to his apartment, when he opened it Bird came in and said he wanted to watch TV with Max. Max said he didn't have time to watch TV. After a few minutes, Bird asked what was the problem. Max told Bird he needed to bring a new piece to his recording session and was struggling. According to Max, Bird whipped out his horn and wrote something on the spot, jotted it down and said, "here you go, now let's watch some TV." The only Parker composition Max recorded when Bird was still alive was Chi-Chi. I guess that was the piece.  

Anyway, I know I never really think of drummers as composers, but many drummers do compose, including Max Roach.  Who are some drummers that compose a lot and you like their skills as a composer? 

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Jack DeJohnette and Ronald Shannon Jackson.

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Paul Motian was one of the all time great jazz composers, in my opinion

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Y'all are killin' me by leaving Joe Chambers out.  I've been digging on Joe my jazz-conscious life, starting with nearly all the Bobby Hutcherson albums on Blue Note.  His compositions are so strong, he's got at least two each on classic Hutch LPs 'Dialogue', 'Components', 'Oblique', 'Patterns', and 'Medina'.

Joe was the leader on two great albums for Muse -- 'The Almoravid' (1974) and 'Double Exposure' w/ Larry Young (1978).  He's led several more since then.   

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1 hour ago, Bill Nelson said:

Y'all are killin' me by leaving Joe Chambers out.  I've been digging on Joe my jazz-conscious life, starting with nearly all the Bobby Hutcherson albums on Blue Note.  His compositions are so strong, he's got at least two each on classic Hutch LPs 'Dialogue', 'Components', 'Oblique', 'Patterns', and 'Medina'.

Joe was the leader on two great albums for Muse -- 'The Almoravid' (1974) and 'Double Exposure' w/ Larry Young (1978).  He's led several more since then.   

I just saw this thread, and Joe Chambers was the first guy that came to mind for me too.

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The first name that came to my mind is Louis Bellson.  When Duke Ellington respected a musician's composing talents enough to  include their work in the band's book, that's a high compliment.  While with the Ellington band, Mr. Bellson was featured on two of his most famous compositions, "Skin Deep" and "The Hawk Talks".  He continued to compose for both big band and small groups throughout the years and even did an album of sacred music.  Here's one of my favorites of his --

 

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3 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

Tony Williams and Neil Peart. 

I thought Peart only wrote the lyrics.

Not that lyrics aren't part of the music. ;) 

 

 

 

BTW: I second the votes for DeJohnette & Motian. They're both wonderful composers, imho.

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Drummer/singer Dave Tull recorded a CD of his compositions.  Here's a couple of samples

 

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"Tiny's Blues" and more, from Chubby Jackson's 1957 album "Chubby's Back." The musicians are mostly Chicagoans. On "Tiny's Blues" the tenor soloistx in order are Sandy Mosse and Vito Price (given name Vito Pizzo).The guitarist soloist on "Flying the Coop" is Jimmy Gourley; not sure if the soloist on "Mother Knickerbocker" is Gourley or Remo Palmieri. That's the cover of the album -- Chubby's back, get it?
 

 



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_1SpnnXi6M

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this is the only one that i can think of

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denzil_Best

Best composed several well-known bebop tunes, including "Move" (which featured, arranged by John Lewis, on the seminal 1957 Miles Davis album, Birth of the Cool), "Wee", "Nothing but D. Best", and "Dee Dee's Dance", as well as (possibly) Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing".[4] Best's composition "45 Degree Angle" was recorded by Herbie Nichols and Mary Lou Williams.
 

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5 hours ago, HutchFan said:

I just saw this thread, and Joe Chambers was the first guy that came to mind for me too.

Me too. Hal Russell is another, though he played other instruments.

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To name one who hasn't yet been mentioned, Jeff 'Tain' Watts is a fine composer.  I've played the heck out of Family, an album that features Steve Wilson, David Kikoski and James Genus.

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John Stevens also wrote some good tunes. No Fear (Spotlite, UK), for example, has some good ones.

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John Hollenbeck

Matt Wilson

Gerry Hemingway

The idea that drummers might be less predisposed to be fine composers than musicians that play other instruments is silly.

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19 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

Tom Rainey

 

Other than as a wonderfully compositional improviser? I've never come across any written music by him, would be v interested to hear some

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He's credited as composer on a number of the Trio pieces w/ Halvorson and Laubrock. But sure, I may be conflating structured improvisation with tunesmithery. :)

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Baby Dodds.

Seriously. Listen to the various Baby Dodds solo records and tell me those aren't full-on compositions, and/or that they weren't at the very least "very good".

And more praise for Joe Chambers here. And Tony Williams, especially latter-day, when that was what he really focused on.

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Agreed. Same could be said for Tony Oxley's work.

And I guess here we could start to talk about composition as a process of instantaneous structure/restructure and add some wonderful players-leaders who didn't necessarily write things down.

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Probably incorrectly, but I always have this feeling that the Baby Dodds solo records are far too often overlooked by "general listeners" because they are kind of "obscure" in so many ways, and you know, it's easy to think (and I'll be honest, I thought it for far too long) that they would sound like "novelty" items to a "modern" listener, but whoa, no, FUCK no, they are some beautiful, substantial works to be awed and pondered in terms both long and short. I'll even go so far as to say that I was a fool for taking so long to getting to them, so anybody who hasn't yet done so, you're a fool too! :g :g :g

:ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

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Bill Bruford

Billy Cobham

Antonio Sanchez

Dave Kerman

Chris Cutler

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based on the responses, the title of this thread should be changed

from

...are also very good composers

to

...are also composers.

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