SKF NOTE: Fred Below had been an inspiration to me for many years. I was surprised, because it was not typical of blues drummers, to hear Fred Below outline his extensive musical background and his influence in shaping the forms and phrasing of Chicago blues. Mr. Below was key in moving blues players from “haphazard” odd number phrasing to the standard blues phrasing of 8 bars, 12 bars and so forth.
In this excerpt, I ask Below a question I often ask(ed) drummers: When you’re drumming, are you thinking rhythmically or melodically? It was, and still is, my belief, that the best drummers think melodically.