Monthly Archives: June 2018

Appreciating Denzil Best

SKF NOTE: Denzil Best has always been somewhat of a mystery drummer to me. In all my studies of drummers, Denzil Best was always praised by drummers and other instrumentalists as a swinging, supportive drummer. Best was a trumpet player … Continue reading

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Billy Higgins Didn’t Play Loud, But Had Such an Even Groove, Beat

SKF NOTE: An instructive four minute interview segment with musician Jimmy Heath where he talks about the wonders of Billy Higgins, but also, some funny observations about Heath’s playing with Elvin Jones. “[Elvin] didn’t give you a one [beat] all … Continue reading

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Hearing Drum Beats as Melodies

SKF NOTE: Will learning to play a melodic instrument make you a better drummer? On balance, yes. The most common melodic instruments drummers play are piano (keyboards) and guitar. I also know drummers who played trumpet or trombone. Learning to … Continue reading

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Songs as Time Machines

SKF NOTE: Songs are time machines. In an instant (a heart beat?) a song can carry us back to faces and places, experiencing emotions, just as we did fifty years ago. I was reminded of music’s mysterious power this weekend … Continue reading

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Manna from Heaven: A New Coltrane Quartet ‘Lost’ Album

SKF NOTE: Well, what do you know! The classic John Coltrane Quartet recorded an album in 1963, “two years before A Love Supreme, and then stashed it away,” writes the New York Times. The family of Coltrane’s first wife, Juanita … Continue reading

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Start with Curiosity

SKF NOTE: The first time a kid with the desire to learn picks up a pair of drumsticks and starts playing the most basic rhythm, he or she has the opportunity to learn from all other drummers present and past. … Continue reading

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Fife and Drums: 18th Century Communications Tools Rattling Windows

SKF NOTE: Newspaper reporter Rodrigo Arriaza makes an important point: drums are communications tools. Not always, but most often, in all music styles, the best drummers think of their instruments as communications tools. Think of a situation where most people … Continue reading

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