SKF NOTE: Last night I dreamed I was sitting on a stool, in someone’s apartment, practicing with a pair of wire brushes on the bottom of a blue-and-while Apple clam shell iMac. At first, playing on the hard plastic, confined to such a small playing area, was challenging.
I remembered Max Roach talking about playing the brushes without ever lifting them off the snare drum head. That’s how I played on the iMac and soon, I was playing a nice sounding, soft, even, slow tempo pattern.
Buddy Rich walked into the room and sat down while I was mastering the iMac. When I acheived my even brush pattern I stopped, looked over at Buddy and laughed. “Brushes are fun to play. Don’t you think?” I asked.
He stood up, walked over and – for a brief moment – took the brushes from my hands. I couldn’t understand what he was saying at first, but Buddy was showing me how he holds the brushes. His hands were very small and somewhat deformed. As if they were receding as Buddy got older.
Then the brushes were back in my hands and Buddy was showing me how he holds the brush between the thumb and index finger, and finds it best to rely on his middle finger for control on top of the brush. He showed me how he “use to have Cathy,” his daughter, exercise that technique by holding her left hand open, then closing just the middle finger into the palm of the hand. As if making a middle finger fist.
That was the second time I can recall having a conversation about drums with Buddy Rich in Dreamland.
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