Chapter Nine 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’.
Many musicians… Myself included - would not have a career today if not for the genius and innovation of Tony Williams. Many who don't know who he is have careers because of Tony, and not just drummers. His musical voice was like a war cry to those of us who were young when he hit the scene. It spoke to us on every level, social, political and cultural.
He changed music and drumming forever in several different genres. Always seeking, and pushing the envelope… Always challenging everything.
I think culturally swingin’ - be bop, post bop etc. is kept off the front page for some very deep reasons. So most knowledge comes from stuff based in rock and pop plus. It's way less homework and easy to cop. To know the inner workings of jazz...You just gotta’ know it. It's a lifelong commitment, and it usually is an unavoidable destiny.
It's hard to play juvenile music after playing jazz.
I’m not being critical, its just that I’m from another generation and took things I liked and cobbled them together to fit my own sensibilities.
Once you have mastered a lot of the technical wizardry that your heroes played, you only have a small piece of the puzzle…The easiest part if you will. It's when you age then hear their phrasing when they were twenty years younger, is when you realize where the real work is.
I have never thought of transcribing another guy’s solo but I will say a hell of a lot of work goes into it.
Name one fusion drummer that can really swing. I'm not talking about playing a ride beat and stacking all his fast chops and 5s and 7s etc up against it…But that has a blues soaked ride beat and some jazz vocabulary.
Was talking with a friend today about how not everyone is going to like your work or art.
You have to be at peace with this… Realizing I don't even like some of the things I do. So I can't even worry about it.