Philadelphia native, Mickey Roker lost his battle with cancer and diabetes at the age of 84. Granville William Roker, Jr. was born in Miami, Florida on September 3, 1932. The hard driving drummer with a heart of gold is now in Jazz Heaven. His over forty-year reign on the music scene is legendary.
Mickey worked with some of the finest musicians in the business…Including Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Stanley Turrentine, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Nancy Wilson, Lee Morgan and numerous others.
"Somebody just reminded me of when I used to work with Oscar Brown Jr. He wanted fair treatment for all people knowing full well who was getting shafted the most, and of course this was his biggest concern. However he was inclusive when it came to brotherly love I can tell you that! He also knew how to play the stock market… On a side note he gave me a few good tips, and I made a little extra taste!"
Buddy. One word says it all. Icon, household name, a celebrity with a comics wit, a virtuoso unequaled. He was a force of nature to behold. He commanded the best out of his musicians because every time he sat down behind the kit he was the best in the world. Quite simply, no one drove a big band like he did. Beyond his soul shattering technique, it was just the time feel—the drive that he had that was like nobody else. His time felt like a cigarette boat with the front end hiked up in the air cruising on the water at a ferocious speed. At the same time utmost musically always prevailed and he could be just as sensitive too. His astonishing brush playing clearly demonstrated this.
I will say this: if Buddy could have read music he may have enjoyed staying in one place and making big money while staying in town (NY or LA) and being the house drummer for one of those late night tv shows. But (lucky for us) he had to move his band around a lot to keep it working all the time. This gave everybody, everywhere a chance to hear and enjoy Buddy Rich. (...and then again he probably wouldn’t have had it any other way)
So you think that state-of-the-art rack system you emptied your bank account for firmly puts you among the pinnacle of 22nd Century Drummers, right? After all, it is equipped with a remote cable Hi Hat, so it's the “Latest and Greatest.” Would you believe your great grandfather, the guy you got those drummin' genes from, beat you to the punch by nearly a hundred years?
Barry “Frosty” Smith died unexpectedly last night at home, but he’ll live on forever when locals discuss Austin’s greatest drummers. In truth, there’s little debate of Smith’s placement on that list. Smith experienced a fatal episode in his backyard on Wednesday evening, according to friends. He’d suffered a stroke and a heart attack in 2015, which limited his ability to perform.
It was not until the mid-2000s that while surfing online I saw a pic of Vince Treanor (Former Doors road manager) pictured with the 14” floor tom that I knew was John’s. It was sometime in early 2016 when I learned that the drum had changed hands and was now in the hands of a new owner. I was able to contact that owner and was happy to find that he was very friendly and even happier when I realized that the drum was not terribly far from me and that I could go see it. Along with the owner, we were able to look at close up pics of John using the drum in the 60s and match up the color striations to authenticate it as the original drum.
Not So Modern Drummer continues to celebrate the legendary Buddy Rich in 2017. Recognizing the 100th anniversary of his birth… Providing their personal commentary on Buddy are Bob Girouard, Rob Gottfried, Jack Scarangella, and Gary Stevens.
The kickoff for a full year of celebratory dates and festivities takes place on April 7 and 8 at Lincoln Center for special performances titled, "Buddy Rich Centennial: Celebrating the Jazz Drum." The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis, will perform a musical tribute to the legendary drummer featuring Ali Jackson on the drums in a virtuosic display of big band drums and rhythm, with arrangements he has created to honor the music of Buddy Rich.
I know a guy who said for $75.00 dollars, I won't trade fours, or solo. But for a $100.00 dollars- I will. The gig paid $75.00 - So when they gave him fours there was silence. The leader forgot and gave him a chorus.... Silence for 32 bars then he came back in at the top.
There are twenty six very famous drummers profiled in this book who span the twentieth century and the entire history of modern drum set drumming: Chico Hamilton, Phil Seamen, Kenny Clark, Davey Tough, Big Sid Catlett, Papa Jo Jones, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, shelly Manne, Jake Hanna, Mickey Roker, Billy Higgins, Art Taylor, Elvin Jones, Joe Morello, Paul Motion, Dannie Richmond, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Ginger Baker, Jerry Allison, Earl Phillips, Al Jackson JR. and Jim Keltner. Thanks for writing such a comprehensive, educational and very entertaining book, Chet.
In the time before YouTube and VHS/DVD concert and instructional videos, it was very difficult to find any music to watch. If you couldn’t go see concerts, there were only a handful of TV shows that had bands, especially during the daytime when kids could watch. The Muppet Show with Buddy was the first real chance I had to watch a drummer and to understand how it is possible to make the sounds you hear on a record. This was monumental at that age—Buddy on The Muppet Show basically connected the dots for me about how to potentially achieve these sounds from hitting drums and what it LOOKED like to play drums.
Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown's one-time drummer and the creator of one of hip-hop's most popular samples, has died at the age of 73. Stubblefield's wife, Jody Hannon, confirmed the drummer's death to Rolling Stone. The cause of death was kidney failure.
The first Methods and Mechanics for useful and musical drumming was meant to be a galvanizing voice of reason to hopefully direct the next generation to the notion of employability. There was a lot of sensationalism with chops so it was important for me to direct useful musical ideas. Conceptual ideas about playing for the song – listening to the music – trying to get the song across - knowing what the lyrics are. You have to get into the song and become part of the storytelling process and I think those that do will have an easier time finding employment than others who look at it like mathematics or playing things just to impress other musicians.
Not So Modern Drummer continues to celebrate the legendary Buddy Rich in 2017. Recognizing the 100th anniversary of his birth. Providing their personal commentary on Buddy are Pete Cater, Greg Estabrooks, Gordy Knudtson, and Ted Mackenzie
Message: Hey, Long time....if you have any insight into locating my original snare form my 1940 Ludwig Duco set would be great. I would also love to find toms but I believe they didn't exist until the early 60's. Email me and I'll sen you the pics I have. Best, JR
I was asked the other day who I liked out of the new modern type drummers. For me, Lenny White and Billy Hart are totally "modern" as they are master improvisers that don't sound like anyone but themselves. I never know what they are going to play.
Peter Magadini - "You know, I used to hear Shelly play a fair amount in LA. He had a great ride feel (and sound) and a very unique way of playing the ride (different) say from Max Roach and Philly Joe Jones. He had the same style and motion as those guys (my heroes as well) but he had the fingers involved and when it got blistering fast it was only the fingers involved. That part I kept for myself too because it works great and you can keep very fast tempos going for a long time."
Here’s one for ya’ - Did Elvin Jones play behind the beat? I have talked to a few of the bass players who were on the gig for a long time and it was interesting to hear what they had to say...What do you think?
When I listen to Chris Layton, I hear the voice of Austin,Texas. Chris plays a shuffle in what I think is a similar place culturally speaking as Johnny Vidocavich, but instead of the NOLA music language, when Chris plays it's Austin drum-speak. Chris became the heartbeat of Austin music in the late 80s with a good variety of deep shuffles and solid funk beats. He wrote the book on it. If I were to try and pick out a drum style that most closely defines the Austin style of drumming during, this time, it would be his work. As the drummer for Stevie Ray Vaughn, Chris reached a national audience and joined the pantheon of Austin music gods in the late 80s.
Claire was on fire that night… Playing with an impassioned determination that reached the farthest rows, and beyond. Her finesse and sensitivity showed through on every tune. Whether using sticks or brushes, playing fast or slow - stylistically, it didn’t matter…
"Nashville, TN – Giving 100+ drummers a chance to test high-end drums, mingle with marquis artists, and enjoy great food in the heart of America’s most active live music scene, Pearl Corporation recently hosted members of the Nashville Drummer’s Facebook group at the Hard Rock Café’s Reverb Room in Nashville, TN. This unique event showcased six distinct Pearl kits, including their Nashville-assembled Music City Custom drums, as well as a variety of premium snares and hardware to players in attendance.
Notice, if you’re out for the night, and hit up a nearby club…they’ll usually have a “house kit” that the bands of the night are using. Spend that night listening to the two, three, or four bands (if you have that time and patience to spare) and notice how each drummer sounds completely different…even though they’re using the same gear. Call it a social experiment.
Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz has been drumming now for fifty-one years, thirty-six of them with Weird Al Yankovic. Jon has a passion for vintage instruments and is quite a collector, with a lot of rare drums and cymbals in his collection. Those who know Jon also recognize his particular fondness for Ludwig drums. Among them are Vistalites, huge concert-tom kits, and wooden kits in multiple configurations. He’s also a Ludwig artist whose real-world input is highly-prized at the factory. I caught up with Jon currently on tour with Weird Al in the states.