I wanna be a jazz drummer
Since I was a kid, I always dreamt of being a jazz drummer. How could I ever be able to play like my heroes- Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette? I studied for years, but never more than two hours a day. I have also played in bands, but never could find jazz musicians who’s level of playing was similar to mine. Either they were too advanced, or too amateurish. So now I ended up being a sort of half musician. And I kept playing along with my heroes. The tune I practise to most often is this Red Garland/ Paul Chambers/ Philly Joe Jones 1958 rendition of “Billy Boy”. It’s the only trio track on Miles Davis’ album “Milestones”. I am a filmmaker, which is one of the reasons I never became a professional drummer. So I wanted to see how my own drumming would look like in a multiple camera setting.
About my playing on this track - most of the fills (also known as “dropping bombs”) I play are regular bop accents and riffs like the one at 1.06-1.10, which is a Max Roach invention. The fills at 1.28-1.33 I got from Ed Blackwell. Sometimes I copied the fills and “fours” of Philly Joe Joe himself, and sometimes I used my own. For instance- to use the hi-hat bell was my own idea. Of course I wasn’t able to take out the drum track from the original track I played along with, so you’ll still hear Philly peeping through. I also, for this clip, trimmed the original track by more than three minutes.
I recorded this clip with 6 camera’s. Camera one is the basic medium shot from the left, recorded with the Sony NX-80 4K camera I bought recently. Camera two is behind me on the right, a Panasonic GH5 4K camera using the 12-35 Lumix lens. Camera three (top camera) is a Sony RX-100 mark V, Camera four (hi-hat) is the Panasonic GM1 HD camera with Olympus 50mm lens. Camera five is on old Panasonic GH2 camera, filming my face in close-up. Finally the base is filmed with a GoPro hero 6. From the 4K shots I took digital zooms (in my editing software) also. Particularly the Sony RX-100 and the digital zooms from the NX-80 gave disappointing results. The GH5 I was very happy with, even with the digital zooms. I wish I had used the GH5 as the top-camera! The audio recording is done with a Zoom H6 with Neuman KM-100 (general sound from above), a Zoom H5 with its internal mike (placed near the base) plus an Edirol R-09HR (internal mike, placed near the hi-hat). Light comes from a Red Head 800W and a smal LED light to the base drum.
The editing was done in damned Adobe Premiere Pro CC in HD video. I recorded three takes, of which the second is the basic track you’ll hear/see mostly. The rest are parts of the other two takes. Yes there are some mistakes (continuïty) in the edit!
By studying this clip I hope you’ll be able to learn something of how the art of jazz drumming works, be it from a minor player like myself. In showing the different parts of the drumkit in this clip and how they collaborate as it were, you’ll definitely get an idea of the basics of jazz drumming.
Regarding the original Billy Boy tune by the Red Garland trio- I found this comment on Youtube by a certain Frank DeVito:
“This has to be one of the greatest jazz trio recordings of all time! A superswingin groove from begining to end. Philly Joe plays such wonderful stuff, no matter how many times I hear it , it’s a thrill ! Every drummer in the world will tell you this is their favorite record. Buddy really dug it too!! I’m going over now to my DW’s to work on Philly Joe’s great riffs!”
Another comment on a Youtube clip from “Billy Boy”:
“After 57 years I still get excited by this whole album. If a drummer wants to know what playing "4’s" and accompanying a soloist is about this album teaches it.”