Billy Drummond: Freedom of Ideas

I’ve been aware of Billy Drummond for years but really started digging into his playing in 2018 after Frank Kimbrough released Monk’s Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk. There’s a lot of music there (70 tracks!) and I had the time to check out the whole thing on a road trip from Minneapolis to New Orleans at the end of that year.

His sound, touch, and creativity on that recording lit something up inside of me and I’ve been obsessively listening to him since. There’s a richness and depth to his playing that I just can’t get enough of.

In addition to his extensive work as a side player, Drummond’s solo work stands on its own. His album “Dubai” is a masterpiece and the title track is hypnotic. Despite being released almost 30 years ago, it still sounds fresh.

More recently, Billy Drummond has been playing with his new group Freedom of Ideas. I had the pleasure of seeing them live the weekend before they recorded the new album, which they announced at the gig.

To say that I’m excited about the new album is an understatement. I hope to see the band live again soon. Get Valse Sinistre by Freedom of Ideas on Bandcamp.

Here are a couple of Spotify playlists that I put together. Let me know if I’m missing anything.

Roy Brooks – The Free Slave

As we’re celebrating Juneteenth in the United States, I can’t help but think about drummer Roy Brooks and his album The Free Slave. One of my drum teachers let me borrow it years ago and it’s been a favorite ever since.

Roy Brooks is perhaps most known for his time with Horace Silver and playing on the albums Song For My Father and Doin’ the Thing (live at the Village Vanguard).

The Free Slave, released under Roy’s name, is a fantastic live album recorded in 1970 and released in 1972. It features an incredible band: Woody Shaw, George Coleman, Hugh Lawson, and Cecil McBee. The band is really dialed in and having fun. Roy Brooks sounds as strong as ever. Check out his solo on “Five for Max.”

What I love about this album is the energy from the crowd. Their love and support for this band is undeniable. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! It’s pretty easy to find online and CD copies are still around on the used market.

Kenny Washington On the Air

Kenny Washington playing drums

Huge thanks to Billy Drummond for sharing that Kenny Washington is returning to the radio with his own program!

His show will air for 2 hours every Monday 5-7pm (PST) / 8-10pm (EST) on Jazz 88.3 KSDS out of San Diego and will be streaming live.

Jazz 88.3 KSDS FM San Diego

Here are a few words from the man himself:

“After 20 years, I’m happy to announce that I’m back on the radio waves at KSDS Jazz 88.3, San Diego. The series is called Jazz Across America which airs M-F, 5 pm-7 PST/8 pm-10 EST with a different host each evening. I’ll be celebrating the great live music that has been recorded in the New York jazz clubs and ballrooms of the past 80 years.

I’ll also be dipping into the “maniac archives” from time to time playing rarities from my collection. Let me take care of your  jazz listening needs on Mondays starting Feb. 14, 2022 from 5 pm-7pm (PST), 8 pm – 10 (EST). You can catch us on the web www.jazz88.org. Please be sure to tell your friends and enemies that The Maniac’s Back!!!!”

Kenny Washington

Philly Joe Jones Solo Book (update)

Since my original post in 2017 there has been a major update to the Philly Joe Jones solo book, so I decided that it’s time to make a new post and give some additional info.

Philly Joe Jones Solo Book cover

The first thing you’ll notice is that the cover has been updated with a modern and full color design, but the real update is that there are 60 new pages! There are now over 380 pages of Philly Joe Jones drum solo transcriptions in the book.

The Philly Joe Jones Solo Book is well worth the $60 price tag. The solos were transcribed over the course of 10+ years by Joerg Eckel, a student of John Riley’s and a really nice guy!

Using the book

Each transcription includes suggested stickings and lists the album that each solo is on. It’s my understanding that Joerg worked with John Riley and Kenny Washington to figure out common stickings that Philly Joe used.

In 2020, the Memphis Drum Shop had John Riley in to show off his cymbal collection and while he was there he also talked about the Philly Joe Jones solo book by Joerg Eckel. John does a great job demonstrating some of the stickings used in the book and it will give you a good overview.

I typically learn the solos by ear and then use the transcriptions to check myself or get help with a sticking if I’m fumbling too much, but I usually try to get the sound of each phrase in my own hands instead of forcing something that might feel awkward for me.

Philly Joe’s strong rudimental foundation:

It’s well known that Philly Joe Jones worked out of the Charley Wilcoxon Modern Rudimental Swing Solos book religiously and Kenny Washington also speaks incredibly highly of that book. If you don’t have it, get it!

Sample page

The transcriptions are copies of handwritten music charts and might be harder to read for some people, but don’t let that be a dealbreaker. When I’m working on a solo, I’ll typically scan the page in so I can load it on my iPad and zoom in. I’ve sometimes made an enlarged & darker photocopy so I can make notes and mark up the pages.

Here’s a sample page from the book that Joerg gave me permission to share:

Pot Luck solo transcription page

Where to buy the book

Memphis Drum Shop, Steve Maxwell Drum Shop, and Columbus Percussion have the new version of the book in stock. Whether you have the original version or not, the new one is worth getting!

If you live outside of the United States and can’t find it online, you can likely order it from the author directly. Leave a comment or send an email to me and I’ll do my best to connect you.

Table of contents

Here are a couple of photos of the table of contents, listing all of the Philly Joe Jones drum solo transcriptions in the book. I’ll also list them out as text below.

Philly Joe Jones Solo Book table of contents 1
Philly Joe Jones Solo Book table of contents 2
Continue reading “Philly Joe Jones Solo Book (update)”

Max Roach Klactoveesedstene

I hadn’t heard this alternate version of “Klact-oveeseds-tene” by Charlie Parker until Billy Hart mentioned the Max Roach solo drum break during his incredible interview with Pablo Held.

After a lot of searching, I tracked it down on disc 5 of Charlie Parker’s Complete Savoy And Dial Studio Recordings box set and then on YouTube (above).

Here’s a quick transcription that I did of Max Roach’s 8 bar solo break, which is a 4 bar phrase played twice.

I worked on it by simply singing the phrase over and over with the recording, tapping my foot or snapping on 2 & 4. After that I brought it to the kit to work on different voicings and adding accents.

It’s also a nice phrase to work on with a ride cymbal pattern and you can even try moving the bass drum notes over to the hi-hat foot.

Have fun!

Charlie Parker Complete Savoy And Dial Studio Recordings