1. For readers who ‘d like to buy albums that most represent your drumming, which ones would you recommend?Listeners Guide 1
  2. Which drummers on which records do you listen to most for inspiration?Listeners Guide 2

When I started playing, I got heavily into Joe Morello and I was listening to Dave Brubeck records all the time. Joe Morello’s playing was so clean. To this day, the drum solo on the original “Take Five” is still one of my favorite drum sounds of all time. It’s so natural sounding. The reason I listed Greatest Hits is because it’s got “Three To Get Ready,” “Blue Rondo A La Turk” and “Take Five.” Those were the Morello tunes that really got me, when I was young.

Listener's Guide
Paul T. Riddle

I got into Alan Dawson because my dad took me to a jazz festival in Charlotte when I was in the eighth grade. It was the first time that the band on We’re All Together Again played together. Jack Six was on bass, Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax, Alan Dawson on drums and Brubeck on piano. When they recorded this live record, it was great because it took me back to when I was a kid. My dream when I was younger was to go to Berklee, mainly to study under Alan Dawson. Again, “Take Five” on this album is a killer! It’s totally different from the original recording with Morello, but it’s good in its own way. Alan always plays great.

The drum sound on Dad Loves His Work is phenomenal, first of all. I love James Taylor, second of all. I like the way Rick Marotta sounds because the stuff is laid back, but he digs in with it. It’s got some umph to it. There is an open, real funky part in the song “Hour That The Morning Comes” where he plays his ass off. Also, Rick really listens to the songs, which is great

I listed The Main Force for Elvin Jones because that’s the band he had when I saw him for the first time at the Village Vanguard in New York City. Then I went down to see him about three nights in a row with that same band at The Lighthouse in California. That’s why I really like that album a lot. What do you say about Elvin?

I’ve listened to a lot of Tony Williams’ stuff with Miles Davis for years. I also listened to his own albums, like Believe It and Million Dollar Legs. Then I heard about the V.S.O.P. tour. I was lucky enough to see them. It blew me away. It was wonderful. It was totally acoustic jazz miked through a great P. A.; loud and so forceful. Tony’s drums sounded like cannons. That was the first time I’d heard jazz at that volume through a great P. A. It was like hearing a rock band almost. It was pure and clean, yet really forceful. I love everything about the first V.S.O.P. record.

Apple Juice got me off because Steve Gadd played live on it, with Ralph Mac- Donald and Marcus Miller. I just like the music on the record. Plus, one of my favorites, Dr. John, sings a tune. If you enjoy Gadd’s playing, I think it’s a record you would get a kick out of.

Three Quartets gives you the great other side of Steve Gadd. It’s great that you hear a guy play funk, and lay things down so straight ahead and so beautifully; and then he turns around and plays on a record like Three Quartets.

Being from South Carolina, I came up listening to a lot of things like Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and James Brown. When the horn bands started happening, like Cold Blood, Tower of Power and Ten Wheel Drive, I really liked them, and I liked the singer with Cold Blood. Tommy Caldwell and I used to listen to these Cold Blood records for hours! The record before First Taste, Sysiphus, was also good, but Donny Hathaway wrote a bunch of the tunes on First Taste. If you can find it, it’s a great record. Sandy McKee plays drums, and he plays a lot. He’s kind of all over the place, but he plays great. I copped a lot of licks from this guy.

I’ve heard Tris Imboden play with Kenny Loggins since he first joined the band. The Tucker band played a show once where Kenny Loggins was opening, we were in the middle, and Fleetwood Mac was closing. Tris plays with a lot of heart. I had the pleasure of seeing him play with Firefall. The guy plays great. I just really enjoy his playing. I think his heart’s in the right place.

I guess I’ve got every record that Buddy has done with his big band. Live In London is one of my favorites musically. I’ve always loved Swingin’ New Big Band with the original version of “West Side Story,” but Live In London is musically great and the charts are wonderful. I always enjoyed hearing Buddy play.

I think Live At The Fillmore East is one of the best live recordings I’ve ever heard for a rock ‘n’ roll band. When they do those breakdowns, especially when Butch is on the timpani, all of a sudden it sounds like you’re hearing the drums in the hall. You’re not hearing the mic’ right on top of it. Tom Dowd told me that they did this by leaving the vocal mic’s open, so you’re just hearing the ambience of the hall. It sounds so beautiful. If you listen to some of the things that Jaimo plays in the background, man, you’ll hear great cymbal work and press rolls on the snare drum. Jaimo’s been one of the biggest influences as a friend and musically since I was 18 years old. Butch Trucks plays well on this record too.

Having had the pleasure to hear Duane Allman play live several times when I was 17 or 18 years old—he always inspires me when I hear him play guitar, whether it’s on Aretha Franklin records, with the Allman Brother’s Band, on “Layla” or whatever.

The reason I listed Jaimo on the first Sea Level record is because it’s a good one. It’s a treat to hear Jaimo play by himself.

I have the whole collection of Little Feat records. They’re one of my favorite bands in the world. I chose Waiting For Columbus, their live album, because it’s a good overall picture of Ritchie Hayward and the band. Sam Clayton on percussion is excellent also.