Thursday, February 01, 2024

Art Blakey with Charlie Parker - "Wahoo"

I was recently turned on to this recording featuring a young Art Blakey playing with Charlie Parker.  This is an era of Blakey I've not been too familiar with until now.  I know he played in fellow Pittsburgher, Billy Eckstine's band and with Fletcher Henderson in the big band era, and did some work with Dizzy Gillespie.  Bit still, when I think of Blakey I (like most people, probably) tend think of the Jazz Messengers, of driving shuffles, and of hard bop leaders like Hank Mobley, Jimmy Smith, and Lee Morgan.  So I find it really interesting to hear him playing in this much earlier bebop style.

The left hand comping, which I've transcribed here is out of sight, but what also struck me was the bass drum.  That's far more than "feathering".  He's thumping that thing pretty hard on all four beats, which I think still carried over a bit from the big band era before it started getting lighter.  I only notated the bass drum when he plays it even harder than the "feathering", or when it feels like part of the larger phrase.  The recording quality is pretty rough, but as far as I can tell he doesn't alter his ride cymbal pattern much.

I also noticed how many three-beat groupings he plays, both in quarter notes....

....and in eight notes....

So, here's all the comping, minus the heads.  Each page is a chorus and is time stamped at the top.  Drop me an e-mail if you'd like the PDF.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Brazil again

I was fortunate enough to kick off 2024 with another trip to Brazil along with many of my fellow Brazilian music nerds here in London.

With only a few short weeks to Carnival, Rio was completely abuzz with incredible music and atmosphere.  Whereas on the last trip in 2022 I saw more jazz, this trip afforded me the opportunity to visit some of the samba schools as they prepare for Carnival.

I did have a chance to catch up with some of my favorite drummers, and new friends that I met on the last trip, like Renato Massa, Marcus Thadeu, and Marcio Bahia.

Marcio Bahia

But thanks to some well connected friends I was able to visit some of the oldest, and most respected samba schools in Rio, like....




....and see some technical rehearsals in the Sambódromo.

I also had the great pleasure of seeing master pandeirista, Bira Presidente, at Cacique de Ramos, where Fundo de Quintal was formed.

If, by chance, you're at all interested in seeing more pictures and videos from the trip, you can head over to my Instagram page and see "Brazil trip '24" in my highlighted stories.

Now that I'm back in cold, dark London, I have quite a few posts in the works that I hope to get up here for you soon.

Saturday, January 06, 2024

10 years of "That Drum Blog"

It's hard to believe, but I first posted to this, my own little nerdy corner of the internet, 10 years ago today.  Thank you very much to everyone who has read the blog, and been in touch with questions and comments.  I have enjoyed it immensely.  Some years I post more than others, but regardless, I have no plans of stopping any time soon and hope that 2024 will afford me some more time to transcribe, write, post and share with all of you.

Happy New Year!