SKF NOTE: This exchange between Michael Shrieve and me, which survived on a cassette, shows how slow it was in 1983 for well-known drummers to get career updates to their fans on the page of a print magazine. In this case, Modern Drummer. Usually working three issues in varied states of readiness at one time, Michael Shrieve’s news would reach subscribers and the newsstands about 90-days after our conversation.
That’s not at all a criticism of MD. All print publications, pre-internet, were working under similar circumstances. Today updaters are posted 24/7/365 on blogs and social media.
Shrieve was quite busy when we spoke. His real or planned drumming activities included release of a jazz trio album, a solo percussion album; dates with Roger Hodgson, possibly Stomu Yamashta, Santana, and other projects.
SKF NOTE: This cassette, from my stint as Managing Editor at Modern Drummer, seems to have been a tape I used, circa 1982, for interview follow-ups with drummers. The tape has bits and pieces of different conversations and music.
Tommy Aldridge and I were speaking through a land line in my MD office. I was taping our conversation using my Radio Shack suction cup mic and an inexpensive cassette recorder. I had a few MD readers’ “Ask a Pro” column letters with questions for Tommy.
One reader wanted a second opinion on whether or not Tommy is the drummer on Ozzy Osbourne’s “Diary of a Madman” album. Tommy is, he says, not the “Madman” album drummer. Thirty-seven years after this conversation, this may be old news. But it is perhaps worthwhile to have Tommy Aldridge answering the question, in his own voice, for present and future reference.
SKF NOTE: Paul Motian, Larry Bunker, Jack DeJohnette, Marty Morrell, Joe LaBarbera — pianist Bill Evans’s trios were home to some amazing drummers. As interesting, Evans’s drummers sounded different from each other.
For my ears, the proof of that theory is Philly Joe Jones. Paul Motian and Philly Joe are stylistically at different ends of the drummer spectrum. Yet, they both sound great with Bill Evans.
SKF NOTE: 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.
Introducing The Winans arrived as a new release on my Modern Drummer desk in 1981. I listened to Introducing…. on a marginal stereo system in my rooming house residence — and the music grabbed me immediately. Everything about that album was first class: the Winans, the songs, the arranging, the musicianship, and the production. The drummer and producer was a name new to me: Bill Maxwell.
Long story short, after listening and loving a few more albums with Bill Maxwell producing and/or drumming, Bill stopped by Modern Drummer on August 17, 1982 for a feature interview, published in the August 1983 issue.
This is my first audio excerpt from Maxwell’s interview. It starts at the beginning of our conversation with me asking Bill how he went from bar band drummer to Grammy Award winning record producer for the great contemporary Christian musician Andrae Crouch.
SKF NOTE: A thank you to “Jazz Video Guy” Bret Primack for this new to me clip of Philly Joe Jones as a member of Bill Evans’s Trio. Instructive! The video work on Philly Joe gives us several good moments for studying his playing: brushes, sticks, straight ahead swinging, stop time. I find myself wishing we could hear/see this song — the full concert! — using the camera capturing Philly Joe only.
I enjoyed working with Bret — years ago and ever so briefly — on a drumming project that never went public. Years before getting to know Bret I looked forward to reading his frequent Down Beat interviews. In the same way I am a “Jazz Video Guy” YouTube channel subscriber.