The Hallmark of Great Drummers

SKF NOTE: Who knows why certain memories appear when they do. This morning, a snow storm swirling outside, my high school music teacher, Art Simeone, came to mind. Particularly the drum lessons he gave me from his piano player’s perspective.

Mr. Simeone’s lessons were about, first and foremost, keeping time. Not metronomic time. Improvise a smooch, but keep time “on that ride cymbal,” he’d say.

Right on the heels of Mr. Simeone’s memory fading, in comes a memory of a story I once wrote for Modern Drummer. I asked several great jazz bass players, in brief, What makes a good drummer? What makes a bad drummer?

I have forgotten most of the bassists in the piece. Richard Davis and Eddie Gomez were part of the mix. While their answers varied, I believe all the bassists said good time keeping was the hallmark of great drummers.

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