SKF NOTE: This is the last of my Trading Fours exchanges with Neil Peart. My friend and music writer par excellence, Chip Stern, had a very good, albeit short-lived, idea for a drummer’s magazine. I did some writing for Chip’s magazine, but I don’t know that any of it saw the light of day.
Chip used the Blindfold Test concept, calling it Trading Fours, as part of his drummer magazine.
Recently I found an August 1989 manuscript of a Trading Fours I did with Neil Peart. I think this exchange took place in Neil’s home.
The YouTube version of M’BOOM’s Epistrophy below is the same arrangement I played Neil, but not the same cut. The cut Neil listened to is on M’BOOM’s first album — recorded in the studio.
Song Title: Epistrophy. Percussionists: Max Roach, Joe Chambers, Omar Clay, Kenyatte Abdur-Rahman, Fred King, Ray Mantilla, Warren Smith, Freddie Waits. Album Name: M’BOOM. Columbia IC 34267. Released: 1980.
Neil Peart: Here’s the kind of music that I can understand why people want to make it, but I can’t understand why anyone would ever want to listen to it (laughs).
Scott K Fish: Why do you think people would want to make this type of music?
NP: Oh, it would be a lot of fun. Just for that reason alone. If you were down in the basement, a couple of guys with their vibes and drumset and tympani could have a good time! I’m trying to think of every human circumstance under which music can contribute to the mood. And I can’t quite find the one for that (laughs). Unless it’s while you’re smashing up your house.
SKF: Do you have any idea who it was?
SKF: That’s Max Roach’s percussion ensemble M’BOOM.
NP: Ah! I almost said that, but I thought it was too Western. I thought their idea was to incorporate traditional African.
SKF: This was a Thelonious Monk composition. Epistrophy. The neat part was Warren Smith playing the melody and improvising on tympani.
NP: I listen to it and I smile because I think that would be a lot of fun to do. But, then I smile because: Who wants to listen to it (laughs)? It’s like the answer to the question that nobody asked. That’s my favorite quote lately.
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