WITH OPEN EARS

For your consideration, a drum solo, under two minutes.

For the moment, the player — a professional jazz drummer playing live in 1973 — will be unidentified. It’s not a trick, and the player isn’t me.  That the photograph is of a Rogers snare is coincidental.

I offer this as a test run for listeners, because I think even the wisest of us are conditioned by evidence other than what our ears tell us. If we’re given the name X, judgments, associations, preconceptions, likes and dislikes spring to mind.  It’s then difficult for most listeners to actually respond with open-eared curiosity to what they actually hear, rather than guessing who the player is, and other kinds of artistic irrelevancies.

“I don’t know who that is, but wow, she sounds great. . . . ” is a start to true hearing.  “She Sounds Just Like ______,” to me, isn’t.

“What do I hear?” is the central question. This is a “blindfold test” of sorts, but  distinctly not the DOWN BEAT version.  There are no prizes for “getting it right.”

Your thoughts?  I will reveal all in two days, so check back . . .

Since JAZZ LIVES isn’t Facebook, I reserve the right to ignore comments that are unkind.  To anyone.

And just sending in a name — “That’s Big Beat Smoochy! His Chicago period!” — misses the point.  Tell me what you hear . . .

May your happiness increase!

14 responses to “WITH OPEN EARS

  1. I hear a drummer with excellent time and a swinging feel. This solo is tasteful, thoughtfully composed, and shows an understanding of all the greats associated with the Condon style, the top players of the swing era, and some of the early modern jazz masters. I like that this drummer chose not to make this a technique show, despite apparently having plenty of chops. I’m not sure who it is, but I would bet that it’s somebody with whom I’m familiar. I like! A lot!

  2. Oh, and I meant to say I love the use of dynamics, varied phrase lengths, and the tones this drummer gets out of the kit. Great touch.

  3. I’m guessing it’s a trick question that you might have given us a hint to with your use of the word “she”. So I’ll guess Karen Carpenter.

  4. Guess away, but I did write that it isn’t a trick question . . . and I was being candid.

  5. I hear a New Orleans undercurrent.

  6. Swing drummer, listened to Krupa.

  7. Trygve Hernæs

    Tasteful drumming. Swings, without being noicy. Have heard Lionel Hampton do things like this.

  8. I haven’t the faintest idea who it is, but I appreciate that he/she keeps the listener clued in as to where the beat is and makes real music, not just flashy noise, with taste and drive.

  9. The timing of the cymbal crashes and the tones of the drums sound like George Wettling (to my ears).

  10. (But it can’t be, as George passed away five years before the recording was made)!

  11. I was listening to see if I could pick up a particular melody within the solo, but could not. The swing style is obvious, and the chops are good, but it’s more bashy/trashy than a Rich or Bellson. Cozy Cole comes to mind, but the count off to bring the band back in is too high in tone of voice. The style and vocal “growling” underneath the solo have shades of Lionel Hampton (who always reminded me of a bleating Billy Goat behind his brilliant solos on the Carnegie Hall and other live Goodman stuff). He also makes the crowd laugh at several points, as Hampton might with all his showbiz tricks. So I guess I’m going with Hampton!

  12. I like a guessing game, but this IS a stumper. I agree with time65 – the drums and cymbals sound like the equipment Wettling used and there are a few moments where it does sound like. It’s not Hampton as he didn’t solo that way and that’s not his voice at the end. Oddly enough the voice sounds like Buddy Rich to me, but it’s sure not Buddy. That said – I’m guessing Mel Torme.

  13. Ida Melrose Shoufler

    Of course you know who I thought of immediately!! Nephew Hal Smith! He’s the best drummer I know. Thank you for the post dear!

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