Seeing Kweku Sumbry on drums with Immanuel Wilkins earlier this year was incredibly inspiring and memorable. I think about that concert a lot and if you heard my interview with Colin Stranahan you heard me geeking out about it. Kweku is such a special player.
The rest of Immanuel’s group is fantastic as well. Micah Thomas is an incredibly gifted piano player who I’ve seen perform as part of Billy Drummond’s Freedom of Ideas. Bassist Rick Rosato has a great group with Colin Stranahan and Glenn Zeleski. Their “Live at the Jazz Standard” album from a few years ago is one I still put on.
While catching up on YouTube the other night I was thrilled to discover a recent Immanuel Wilkins Quartet show from Amsterdam that’s available thanks to Bimhuis. The quality of their streams is excellent. I hope you enjoy this group as much as I do.
After missing the Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes when it made the film festival rounds, I am very excited that it is premiering on PBS at 9pm Eastern on Friday. I hope you all can tune in to watch it.
I also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that a recording of a Max Roach clinic that I attended in 1991 is available on YouTube. The audio is a bit rough, but the content is fantastic and there’s a transcript available.
For years my friend and mentor, drummer Phil Hey, has been telling me about the 1973 Gretsch Drum Summit in Central Park that he was lucky enough to attend. I’ve often daydreamed about being there and how unbelievable it would be to see Elvin Jones, Mel Lewis, Freddie Waits, and Papa Joe Jones all in the same afternoon. Incredible!
In telling me about that afternoon, Phil raved about Papa Joe’s solo hi-hat performance and that Jones joked from stage that his solo was a “TKO: Time Killer Only.”
There’s a great post on the official Gretsch site with lots of detail about this afternoon. Better yet is that audio is available! This may be old news to some of you, but it’s new to me so I thought it’s worth sharing.
You can find the audio on Wolfgang’s vintage archive. If you click on the large “play” button at the top of the page you’ll get the impression that you can only listen to samples. Don’t let that fool you. Clicking on each track will allow you to listen to the entire thing and I believe you can also purchase the recording.
This is a real treasure and I’m thrilled to have discovered it after hearing about it all these years.
I’ve been going through a box of old cassette tapes, which are mostly gig recordings and drum clinics made on a pretty awful tape recorder. Some of you may remember the Max Roach clinic I posted a few years ago.
The Cachao tape pictured here was given to me by one of my high school teachers and mentors (Gordy Knudtson), probably around the time that I bought the Latin Sounds book; late 80s or early 90s. It was my way in to learning about Afro-Cuban / “Latin” music. Not a bad start!
Finding this cassette sent me down a rabbit hole and I discovered the PBS American Masters documentary, Cachao: Uno Mas(2008). I’ll post it below and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Also highly recommended is podcast episode #323 of Discussions in Percussion where they talk to John Santos, who is featured in the Cachao documentary. That podcast is great and this episode alone is incredibly inspiring.