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!
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’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):
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.