Bill Maxwell on Learning Bebop Drumming (1981)

: Andrae Crouch, The Winans, Freddie Hubbard, Koinonia — Bill Maxwell’s work as drummer and producer is among the best. Bill first came to my attention through my ears in 1981. No pre-judging on my part. The full story of my meeting and interviewing Bill Maxwell is posted here.

My typed transcript of Bill’s interview is 61 pages — at least twice as much material than space allowed in his MD feature. Here’s another excerpt.


Scott K Fish: How did you develop your Bebop drumming?

Bill Maxwell: There was always moonlighting. We would do maybe one jazz song a set. There was this Black club called Trevor’s Club in Oklahoma City where I grew up. It was a great place for me. I started going there when I was about sixteen. They had Sonny Stitt, Roland Kirk, Kenny Burrell — mostly the Black traveling club acts. I’d go hear them all.

Roland Kirk was very nice to me when I was sixteen. I would talk with him about music and his feelings. He could tell I really appreciated it — and he let me play with him. He was real encouraging.

In those kind of situations I’d play Bebop.

There was some pretty good musicians around there and we would do things at night. After everybody quit we would have instruments set up out in the area. We’d all go out and get loaded and set up and play free music. Anything that came to our mind — no form — and we’d just see how long it would take us to do it. And we’d get into Bebop in that.

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