I first heard Colin Bowden on a session the late Humphrey Lyttelton and Kenny Davern did for the Calligraph label — THAT OLD GANG OF OURS — so long ago that I had a vinyl copy.  And I admired Colin’s wonderful beat and the sounds he got out of his drums.  I haven’t changed my mind.  Too many times, when the drummer in a jazz group begins an extended solo, the other members of the ensemble leave the stand — not to give him more room, but because they know that six or seven minutes of pounding all around the drumset awaits the unwary.  A half-dozen drummers are exceptions to this, and Colin is one of them.  Here’s his feature on THAT’S A PLENTY recorded on September 20, 2009, with the Delta Jazz Band — comprised of the UK veteran Pat Halcox (tp), Terry Giles (cl), Mike Pointon (tb), Andy Maynard (bj), John Sirett (b).  It was recorded (expertly) at HundertMeister Duisburg (Germany), and posted on YouTube by “ulivids.”  

To some this style of drumming may seem archaic — too much Baby Dodds and Zutty Singleton.  But if you can free your mind from the neat boxes of Styles and Categories, perhaps you can better appreciate and enjoy Colin’s enthusiastic way of making those pieces of wood and calfskin (or plastic) sing.  And I despair of the person who could watch this clip without jiggling around in the chair.


  1. I watched, I jiggled. Don’t despair.

  2. Paul Barbarin lives!

    And I suspect the white socks he wears arrive via the Jo Jones lineage.

  3. Colin’s got it! In fact he’s had it for fifty years… probably the finest Baby Dodds-style drummer since…Baby Dodds.

    I know that he also likes Sid Catlett and Ray Bauduc and that in deference to his old boss Ken Colyer he never uses a hi-hat.

  4. Sorry to shatter the myth, Jim but Colin always uses a hi-hat; in fact he is using it on this session. Maybe not in the conventional way but it is there in full view if you look hard enough!

    Bazza Jazza

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