Small-group jazz drumming is synonymous with legendary players such as Art Blakey, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, and Tony Williams. Although these five gentlemen had very different approaches to timekeeping, each contributed to the jazz art form and created innovative drum sounds. These include high and articulate tunings, snappy snares, and tom-like bass drums, often recorded using minimal miking techniques. In recent years the classic tones have been explored by today’s greats, like Brian Blade, Bill Stewart, Kendrick Scott, Karriem Riggins, and Billy Martin.
Jazz drum sounds are quite different from what we explored in the previous installments of this series, including all-purpose pop/rock, deep and muffled ’70s tones, and funk. So if you’re looking to achieve a more traditional jazz sound, try these suggestions.
Be sure to check out the complete article in the October 2013 issue for additional insight and tips.
Donny Gruendler is the director of performance programs at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. He has performed with DJ Logic, Rock Holmstrom, John Medeski, and Rhett Frazier Inc. For more info, visit donnygruendler.com.