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Teasing the Korean

Help Me Understand the Art Blakey Drum Albums

57 posts in this topic

OK, so I am the exception.  I like these albums specifically because of the drums, and find the vocals, flute and occasional other instruments to be the problem, especially a couple of the upbeat, cheerful melodies heard on The African Beat.

But even with just the drums, Blakey at times seems reluctant to groove with the drummers.  He always seems to be working against them, and I don't necessarily mean "against" in the positive way it is often used to describe complex rhythmic interplay.  Sometimes it works for me.  Other times, when he runs out of ideas, he tends to repeatedly bash the cymbals and kick drum.

I have too many 1950s and 60s all-drum albums I like much better.   Having just listened to all three AB albums, though, I do think you could get one really solid album out of them.  That would also mean trimming off some sections and doing crossfades.

That's just me, though.  I'll me be more than happy to share some other all-drum or mostly-drum albums that I find more satisfying, if anyone is interested.

 

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1 hour ago, mikeweil said:

A great example for sense of form with drums only are Baby Dodds' 1940's drum solos. I will think of more examples.

That is some of the greatest music of the 20th Century. Seriously.

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

That is some of the greatest music of the 20th Century. Seriously.

Agreed.  And there was a very interesting latter-day Jo Jones album that showed him demonstrating the various styles of his contemporaries and influencers.  I once put his examples beside the quoted drummers in the performances he mentioned.  Don Vickery, a fine local drummer / teacher used to use that in his college classes...

Image result for Jo Jones

Edited by Ted O'Reilly
Found the album.

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7145sjwxYgL._SL1200_.jpg

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19 minutes ago, JSngry said:

7145sjwxYgL._SL1200_.jpg

I didn't know that Chico did a solo album.  That'd have to be good.

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It's quite good, actually!

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Max+Roach_Solos_Baystate_front.JPG

 

MAX ROACH  "SOLOS"


Max Roach, drums

A1. Big Sid           06:17
A2. Jas-Me            05:17
A3. J.C. Mose-J's     05:07
B1. Five For Paul     06:10
B2. Mr. Hi-Hat        04:36
B3. South Africa '76  07:38


Recorded August 30, 1977 at Long View Farm Studio, Mass., U.S.A.

BAYSTATE RVJ-6021

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I have that Roach LP - really good, he clearly refers to Baby Dodds, Jo Jones, Big Sid Catlett, Coty Cole. 

Doug Hammond referred to all these and Max, and did combine drums solos with recitations of his poetry.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by mikeweil

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The question is: how to present thematic material and then variate it. Most horn players or pianists are not that much better at this, just running the changes without much reference to the theme or its elements. You can play a solo by thematic variation or just run licks. The former is necessary for drummers or you will bore the listeners. Doug Hammond is great at this. 

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One thing I'm thankful for is that there aren't a lot of amateur jazz drum circle recordings.

Edited by jazzbo

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I guess, then, that I should be thankful that I'm totally unaware of there being any amateur jazz drum circles?

:unsure:

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Yes, you should. But explore that phenomenon at your own risk.

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On 5/29/2019 at 0:05 AM, chewy-chew-chew-bean-benitez said:

 Its like the "Drums" part of the grateful dead experience

not all DRUMZ are created equal, however...

1 hour ago, mjzee said:

 

R-1566534-1527419566-9359.jpeg.jpg

yeah, that one also uses melody to a great extent. "Bert The Cat" is amazing.

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Love that Jerome Cooper

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OK, so today, it is raining like crazy, I am drinking a rum cocktail, and blasting Holiday for Skins and really loving it!  This album is a little different I think from the other Blue Note drum albums.  I like the combination of minimalist jazz and long drum grooves.  Overall, this is my favorite of the Blue Note drum sessions. 

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On 8/17/2019 at 3:57 PM, Teasing the Korean said:

OK, so today, it is raining like crazy, I am drinking a rum cocktail, and blasting Holiday for Skins and really loving it!  This album is a little different I think from the other Blue Note drum albums.  I like the combination of minimalist jazz and long drum grooves.  Overall, this is my favorite of the Blue Note drum sessions. 

Vol. 2 is my favorite of the two. Japan reissued both volumes on cd last month, as well as The African Beat.

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41 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

Vol. 2 is my favorite of the two. Japan reissued both volumes on cd last month, as well as The African Beat.

I like only tracks 3 and 4 on African Beat.  

I need to burn a new CD of Orgy because accidentally broke.

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Once again, it is rum cocktail season, and I am spinning Latin jazz and exotica again.

I just listened to Kenny Dorham's "Afro Cuban," the Latin side only, and Mr. Blakey grooves very well with the Latin percussionists here. If only he had taken a similar approach on his own percussion albums. Oh well, I'm grateful that I have Chaino!

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So this summer, I am warming up to "Orgy in Rhythm" more so than in previous years. I skip the godawful "Come Out and Meet Me Tonight," but the rest of it is generally good, except for the parts where Art runs out of ideas and bashes the cymbals. Luckily that doesn't happen too often. 

Anyway, I have the stereo going in the family room, and I simultaneously blast jungle sound effects from the tiki bar. The jungle sound effects improve the album. 

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I love these albums, I'm a drum nut though.  Blakey said he never liked these discs much, but I've dug the ritual like aspect of them and the modal vamps to frame drum solos.  Is an album like Drums of Passion more authentic? Maybe so, but the Blakey drum albums were my first exposure to that type of thing.

Edited by CJ Shearn

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On 5/25/2019 at 6:21 AM, mikeweil said:

It is hard for any non-drummer or non-percussionist to "understand" these discs. It's a simple as that.

Went and back and looked over this thread and in retrospect I’d agree with Mike although I’d also add the word “appreciate,” although maybe it’s understood to be the same thing as “understand.”

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Again,  I started this thread as someone with dozens of all-percussion records. 

I really think my issue with these albums is that they often fail to settle into consistent and compelling grooves, primarily because Art seems unwilling or unable to simply groove with the percussionists. He is the Great Art Blakey on hard bop sessions, but here, he is out of his element.

That and I really don't like the high-life numbers on "The African Beat."

 

 

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