Chapter Seven in our ongoing series of commentary from legendary drummer Mike Clark. His storied observations continue to inspire, and provide keen insight into ‘all things music’.
"Best Drummer In The World?
Who can orchestrate and swing like Elvin Jones? – Nobody.
Who changed everything for everybody and came up with a new way
of looking at things like Tony Williams? –Nobody.
Who has poetry like Philly Joe Jones? – Nobody.
Which one is best? - None...They are all brilliant and different, and if a guy is real fast does that make him better? – No, just faster...I mean please lets use some critical thinking.
Volume is a groove killer! It’s very juvenile for me after all the cats I've played with. It is devoid of grease, swing, and funk. It's like having a person screaming in your ear, and not listening to you. I do like all of the dynamic ranges obviously. But some nights, it’s like somebody is shoving their elbow in your ribs while you’re sitting on an airplane. You can’t relax -hence ‘no groove’. All you can do is stomp the pedals as hard as you can, but there’s no music in that for me. Without groove or dynamics, it’s all in vain. Each to their own…I feel I've done it enough to know that - Volume is a groove killer!
Listening to David Garibaldi in ‘Get Yo’ Feet Back On The Ground’. Damn, He is FUNKY!
Am I the only drummer that uses the kneecap to warm up on as it gets better bounce than the leg?
OK - I just heard a clip of another fusion band playing ‘Actual Proof’ way too fast, and everyone playing everything they know all at the same time...UGH!
I’ve gotta’ say that for jazz, my 22” Istanbul is the nastiest I have ever heard, and I have heard a million cymbals...Damn it sounds so good!
I find it impossible to have a Facebook conversation about jazz without some cats turning it into fusion...I guess that's their jazz... Sigh!
I love it when a guy takes a lesson with me just to show me how good he is...I take his $125.00 and steal his licks...That right there is the lesson!
The other day I was goofing at a rehearsal and played Tony Williams' intro to ‘Freedom Jazz Dance’. The band liked it and thought I had just made it up...Hello! - Homework, Please - So we have an understanding…I did mine, and I’m still doing it.
I know it's a tough axe to play, but when some organ players are cookin’ on other’s solos and the bass gets weird on their own solos… It makes me a bit nuts!
The other day I played with a guy who kinda’ played like Herbie Hancock. It’s always interesting or me having played with him for 5 years. But at any rate, this guy only knew about 12 tunes. Okay, easy for me to say as I am a drummer who is also a bandleader… So I always like guys who know a lot of tunes as it makes the gig a breeze. If you can’t rehearse…I would say if you’re young and have some cool concepts that’s great. But learn a ton of tunes so you can cut damn near any gig. Plus, most of the standards have everything you are looking for in them. You don’t usually realize that until later. When I was young, I wanted to play something NEW until I realized most of what I thought was new had already been played way before I heard it.
I just can’t run behind musicians that I think are mediocre just because they have gigs, or a toe hold on some clubs, or are good at business.
I have to like how a person plays to want to be part of it. I try to treat everyone the same no matter where they are in their evolution. But I'm not going to run behind anyone, extol virtues, or sing praises to people
I feel are not happening to be part of a scene, I see people doing this all the time. I lose work for not joining them in that dance. I couldn’t do it as a kid, and I can’t do it now. Hence, I’ve got to make my own way through this without any politics… So I'm trying to constantly improve my playing and my person.