Brad Webb – New Orleans Drummer

I first became aware of Brad Webb as part of Extended Trio and got to see them play in St. Paul, MN a couple of years ago.

I didn’t know anything about the group, other than that they were from New Orleans, which was enough for me. Later I’d find out how lucky I was to see them this far north. They’re all incredible musicians and rarely travel up this way as a group.

I was immediately taken with the whole band and watching Brad play is infectious. He’s got such a contained energy and his ideas flow freely.

I got to talk to him after the show and learned that he has a deep classical music background and studied at New England Conservatory.

He also showed me his beat up ride cymbal (I think I remember him telling me that he found it near a shed in a rural area) and introduced me to LA Backbeat drumsticks, which are made in Louisiana.

Brad Webb Making Faces

Aside from playing in Extended Trio and other groups, Brad Webb is a composer and has his own group that’s active in New Orleans.

Brad’s new album was just released. Get it on Bandcamp.

Update – June 2020

Here’s a new interview with Brad from the Talkin’ Jazz: The Virtual Sessions. Fred Kasten hosts the long-running Talkin’ Jazz interview series, which is a collaboration between the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Enjoy!

Ed Blackwell Transcription – Sounds of Joy

For as long as I can remember, Ed Blackwell has been on my short list of favorite drummers. I was first introduced to him by a teacher and mentor of mine, Phil Hey, who studied with Ed and later played with Dewey Redman.

When I was studying with Phil he had me to get two albums that Ed Blackwell plays on:

  

I think both albums are essential and they hold a special place in my collection.

The Transcription

I’ve always liked the first drum break on Sounds of Joy and have had it written out in my notebook for a few years. I love the simplicity of Blackwell’s phrasing.

As an exercise to learn how to use MuseScore, the free music notation software, I decided to get it into the computer. Let me know what you think.

Transcription of Ed Blackwell solo on Sounds of Joy by Joe Lovano

Thanks for visiting.

Podcasts for Jazz Musicians

UPDATED February 11, 2020

I’ve been listening to podcasts for over a decade and am a bit obsessed. I find it so informative and inspiring to hear other musicians talk about their lives.

This is by no means a comprehensive resource and I’ll update this post as I discover new podcasts and episodes that are worth checking out.

Leave a comment if I missed something that should be included. What are your favorite music podcasts?

Here’s a sampling of the jazz related shows and podcasts for drummers that I listen to (in no particular order):

Bernie’s Bootlegs

This one is really nice. In his own words, the host describes the podcast as “to explore the stories of successful musicians and share their perspectives on important aspects of being a professional artist in a digital age.”

Notable interviews so far: Colin Stranahan, Nicole Glover, Charles Goold, Justin Barber, Noah Preminger, David Binney, Glenn Zaleski, Kelly Green.

https://berniesbootlegs.com


Pablo Held Investigates

Another good one! Long form interviews with an incredibly impressive list of musicians: Bill Stewart, Joey Baron, Wayne Shorter, Jeff Ballard, Dave Holland and the list goes on.

Available as a podcast, but I suggest watching the videos if you can.

https://pabloheldinvestigates.com


Working Artist Project

This podcast is a more recent discovery for me and I’ve heard that there are new episodes in the works. Darrian Douglas is a great interviewer. Notable guests have been Jason Marsalis, Charles Goold, E.J. Strickland and Kelly Green.

spreaker.com/show/the-working-artist-project


You’ll Hear It

A podcast from Open Studio with daily jazz advice for the modern player featuring Peter Martin & Adam Maness.

youllhearit.com/podcast


NYU Jazz Interview Series

Produced by the NYU Steinhardt Jazz Studies program features interviews with jazz greats, hosted by Dr. David Schroeder, Director of Jazz Studies.

steinhardt.nyu.edu/nyu-steinhardt-jazz-interview-series


The Third Story

This is a thoughtful interview show by Leo Sidran, son of Ben Sidran and I always get something out of each episode. There have been some really great guests. Check out the episode index.

third-story.com


A Noise From the Deep

Trumpeter Dave Douglas leads monthly conversations with significant jazz artists on music, composition, improvisation, and concerts. Guests include Henry Threadgill, John Zorn, Carla Bley, and Andrew Cyrille, among many others.

greenleafmusic.com/podcasts


Straight No Chaser

Three time winner of the JazzTimes Readers’ Poll for Best Podcast and is a recent discovery that I’ve just started digging into.

straightnochaserjazz.libsyn.com


Jazz Bastard Podcast

This is essentially a deep dive album review show and there have been some great episodes. They rarely release interview episodes, but there’s one standout: The interview with Charles McPherson is gold. If you listen to nothing else, seek this one out. He talks about meeting Charlie Parker and playing with Mingus. So good!

jazzbastard.com


IYOUWE Universe by Lenny White

This is a podcast by the great drummer Lenny White. Past guests include Ron Carter, Mike Clark, Jeff “Tain” Watts and Billy Hart.

stitcher.com/podcast/iyouwe-universe


I’d Hit That

A great podcast for drummers by mystery man Dave, who is clearly friends with most of the guests, which makes it really fun to listen to. This show seems to be on hiatus.

idhitthatpodcast.podomatic.com


Working Drummer

With over 200 episodes and counting, Working Drummer Podcast is the source for those interested in what it’s like to be a professional drummer.

workingdrummer.net


Drummer’s Resource

Favorite episodes of mine include Kenny Washington, Ralph Peterson, Michael Carvin, Ed Soph, Terri Lyne Carrington and John Riley.

drummersresource.com/podcasts


Riff Raff

A podcast by guitarist Shane Theriot. Memorable episodes are with John Scofield, Johnny Vidacovich, Leni Stern and Mike Stern.

shanetheriot.com/the-riff-raff-podcast


Trap Set with Joe Wong

The Trap Set is a podcast about the lives of drummers. The show is produced in Los Angeles, CA.  A new episode is released each Wednesday.

thetrapset.net/past-episodes


Drumeo Gab

This is a pretty loose podcast format that I go in and out of listening to. Drummers should check out the Johnny Vidacovich interview and explore from there.

drumgab.libsyn.com/johnny-vidacovich


Contraption

This is a new discovery for me and it’s really great. I was excited when I heard Ulysses Owens Jr. talking about the brush book he’s putting out, especially since he studied brushes with Kenny Washington.

There’s also a great interview with Johnny Vidacovich.

contraptionpodcast.com/blog/


Bonus Episode – Fei’s World

I stumbled across this on while searching for Ralph Peterson. She does a nice two part interview with him.

feisworld.com/blog/ralph-peterson-jr

Headphones for Drummers

I don’t play very loud, but hearing protection is still a concern because I have a bit of tinnitus from my years of playing in bands without earplugs.

When I have a gig or go to a show I’ll typically wear my Westone ES49 custom earplugs. These are really great, but when practicing for a long time I need something more (and something I can plug into my phone to play along to albums or use a metronome app).

KAT Ultra Isolation Headphones

I’ve been using the KAT headphones for a couple of years. They sound fine and the isolation is pretty good, though I still get a lot of “boom” from the bass drum that causes some hearing fatigue.

The build quality is okay and for $70 I don’t expect a lot more. I’ve had to make some minor repairs, like re-gluing the pads on and fixing a broken clip. Not really a big deal.

My only major complaint with these headphones is that the size of the ear pads is a little small. My ears hurt if I practice more than a couple of hours because they are being pressed on by the headphones.

Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones

The Vic Firth headphones are very similar to the KAT headphones.

The reviews are slightly better for these and they’re just $80.

If I were starting my headphone journey again I’d probably order both and return the pair that isn’t as comfortable.

UltraPhones High Isolation Studio Headphones 

I was recently was given a used pair of UltraPhones by a friend. I’ve been aware of them, but the $200+ price tag kept me from buying them. I wish I had gotten these sooner!

Created by drummer and educator Gordy Knudtson, these are simply the best, featuring 3M Peltor hearing protection headphones fitted with Sony 7506 Studio Monitor components mounted inside.

The UltraPhones are incredibly comfortable and the sound quality is awesome. They also block out more bass frequency than the KAT headphones.

I can’t overemphasize how comfortable these are. I’ve worn them for up to 4 hours and barely knew I had them on.

If you can afford it, don’t hesitate buying a pair of these. You can buy them directly from GK Music.

Advice to young musicians: Protect your hearing. You won’t regret it.

Elvin Jones and Comping

Elvin Jones playing drums

Nicholas Payton recently posted his thoughts about comping on the drums over on his Instagram account. There’s some deep insight that I wanted to share. Drummer George Coleman Jr. also chimed in with some great info.

Nicholas Payton on Elvin and Comping:

“Here’s the thing: The “Elvin thing” most drummers get into, it often ceases to be conversational and becomes filler. You gotta make sure there’s substance and reason for everything you play. Don’t just play noodlely sh*t on the drums because you can.

All fills and accents have to be about creating an energy, moving the song forward, and a dialog. If not with the soloist, a conversation between the kick and snare or the toms. Whatever part of the kit you’re engaging with, make it purposed.

Continue reading “Elvin Jones and Comping”