We recently checked in with our readers and social media followers to find out which jazz records from the 1990s featured their favorite drumming performances. Here are some of the responses.
Kenny Garrett’s album Songbook  would be the one for me. This record has memorable original tunes by Garrett that introduced me to the powerhouse swing of Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums. The pocket Watts creates with bassist Nat Reeves throughout this album is as deep as groove can get. And what truly makes this my favorite is the rhythmic and melodic conversation between Tain’s drumming and the solos of Kenny Garrett and pianist Kenny Kirkland. It’s the first time I heard a band convey fire on record.
I Can See Your House from Here  by Pat Metheny and John Scofield with Bill Stewart is one of my favorite jazz recordings. I can’t get enough of it. Scofield’s quartet records are also up there. I was blown away when Stewart came on the scene.
I’d say Kenny Garrett’s Triology  with Brian Blade. Blade swings like hell, and the band plays with a lot of energy. I love this album!
Alive  by the Chick Corea Akoustic Band. Dave Weckl’s performance on this album is legendary. In my opinion, this group set the standard for the modern piano trio.
Bill Stewart on Peter Bernstein’s Earth Tones . Stewart’s solos and comping blow my mind every time. And I also want to mention Joshua Redman’s Freedom in the Groove  with Brian Blade. How can Blade sound so good?
M.Victor de Jhess
John Scofield’s Meant to Be . To my ears, Bill Stewart has a perfect combination of pocket and swing.
Along with Chick Corea’s Alive album, Dave Weckl’s blazing debut, Master Plan , was a real game-changer in the drum world. The opener, “Tower of Inspiration,” was exactly that, and it still blows me away nearly thirty years on.
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Drum Shop Props
Michael Dawson really activated my memory button with his Editor’s Overview in the February 2019 issue about the value of good music stores. Many years ago, as a twelve-year-old beginning drummer, I’d ride the bus each week from my home in east Dallas to my drum lesson at the McCord’s Music store downtown. I can still remember the exact sound and feel of my instructor’s WFL snare, with a white pearl finish and calfskin heads.
After my lessons I’d hang around the drum department, always planning to someday be able to afford all the goodies that were showcased there. It was many years before I could afford the drums of my dreams, but when that time came, I followed the same path that was mentioned in the column and went straight to a walnut Premier Signia kit. Although [the Signia] series came out in the [early] ’90s, it wasn’t until 2001 that I could make mine a reality.
Later that same year, I had the opportunity to visit the Premier factory in Leicestershire, England. The management and staff there were so gracious. They treated me as if I were one of their famous endorsers, inviting me to play all the latest kits in their elegant showroom before giving me the grand tour of the plant. There I met the charming British woman who actually assembled my kit. I’ll never forget her telling me, “Well, until today no one has ever come over from the colonies to thank me!” To say I was impressed by the friendly, professional manner of my hosts that day would be a gross understatement.
Keep up the great work, MD!