Drumsville at the New Orleans Jazz Museum

New Orleans Jazz Museum Drumsville

Some good news for jazz fans and drummers traveling through New Orleans this winter. Below is some info from the New Orleans Jazz Museum website.

The New Orleans Jazz Museum presents
DRUMSVILLE!: EVOLUTION OF THE NEW ORLEANS BEAT

New Exhibition at the Jazz Museum Celebrating the Development of the Drum Set and Evolution of Drumming Traditions in New Orleans opened on November 8, 2018 and runs through March 15, 2019.

The New Orleans Jazz Museum will debuted a new exhibition, Drumsville!: Evolution of the New Orleans Beat on November 8, 2018. The exhibit will celebrate both the New Orleans Tricentennial and International Drum Month, along with the development of the drum kit in New Orleans and the ongoing evolution of rich local drumming traditions.

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Philly Joe Jones Interview

There are a couple of new videos up on Youtube that I discovered last week that lead me to an amazing resource: The Howard University Jazz Oral History Project. Some great stuff there.

A couple days ago I posted the Max Roach interview. The next video I want to share is a one hour interview with Philly Joe Jones. It’s full of great stuff and like Max, he also plays some piano during the interview.

The video abruptly flips over to a Sphere concert with Charlie Rouse, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams and Ben Riley around the one hour six minute mark, cutting off the interview. There are audio clips of the interview here, which seem to extend beyond the length of the video, though I haven’t listened in full yet.

Enjoy!

Max Roach Interview

There are a couple of new videos up on Youtube that I discovered last week that lead me to an amazing resource: The Howard University Jazz Oral History Project. Some great stuff there.

The first video I want to share is a one hour interview with Max Roach. It’s full of gold. He not only plays drums and piano, he also shares stories dating back to his days playing in parades as part of his church band.

Enjoy!

When you’re done, don’t miss the Philly Joe Jones interview.

The Engine Room: The History of Jazz Drumming

The Engine Room: The History of Jazz Drumming is a fantastic 4 CD box set released by Proper Records that covers the eras “from Storyville to 52nd Street” and includes 95 tracks recorded between 1923 and 1948.

I’m always surprised when I meet a jazz drummer who doesn’t know about this set of discs, so I decided it’s time to write a quick post about it.

The Engine Room: The History of Jazz Drumming

I first heard about this set during an interview with Kenny Washington on the Drummer’s Resource Podcast (a fantastic interview worth checking out). Kenny mentioned that Engine Room is out of print, so I got obsessed with finding a copy. Luckily, it’s still pretty easy to find, though the price of used copies can vary a bit. I’ve purchased a couple of copies off of Amazon and I’ve seen them range from $30 to $200, though I paid about $50 for each of my copies.

The booklet included with the set is around 50 pages and includes wonderful liner notes by Joop Visser. This alone makes it worth finding a physical copy.

The eras represented:

Disc 1: New Orleans & Chicago styles
Disc 2: Swing
Disc 3: Big Band
Disc 4: Modernism

It’s worth noting that there are two different versions of the packaging. The differences are trivial, but here’s a list if you’re curious:

  • The earlier 1999 set was thicker overall due to the use of plastic jewel cases
  • The latter 2005 release was thin and used cardboard sleeves
  • The UPC code is the same on both sets
  • The booklet is essentially the same in both sets, containing the same information and liner notes. One is a few pages longer than the other, but it’s just because there were added pages for record label promotion.
  • The 2005 set is listed as digitally re-mastered, though I’m unable to hear a difference between the two sets.

Finally, here are some photos of the two sets:

Glass Bead Games by Clifford Jordan

I’ve loved Billy Higgins’ playing since I first heard him in high school. He plays with such depth and lively soul.

I was lucky enough to see him play with Sonny Rollins back in 1993 / 1994 when I was at college in Boston. We couldn’t afford tickets at the time, but a kind usher was nice enough to let us stand quietly in the back of the room.

Every so often I go back through Higgins’ discography and look for something I haven’t heard before. This time it was Clifford Jordan’s Glass Bead Games.

It turns out that this was out of print for a long time and came back into circulation with a reissue in 2006. As good as this is, I can’t believe it took me so many years to discover. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Billy Higgins’ timekeeping is wonderful throughout and his soloing as musical as ever.

Fortunately, this cd is now easy to find and for reasons I’ll explain below, I strongly suggest purchasing a download and not spending money on the overpriced CD.

Buy this as a download and don’t overpay for the CD.

One thing I haven’t seen addressed in the many reviews of this reissue are the audio problems, specifically seeming to affect the cymbals dropping out of the right channel intermittently on a few songs, which is distracting, especially with headphones on.

You can hear an example of what I’m talking about at around 1:40 in the tune Bridgework, which also happens to be the sample snippet from that song featured on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.

At first I thought I got a bad download, so I fired up Spotify and YouTube. The same issue was present. I decided to spring $26(!) for the compact disc to finally get a clean copy of the album. I was surprised that it has the same bad audio.

It’s a shame that this is the best copy currently available. Despite the audio problems on the reissue, I still recommend it, though I’m hoping for a better reissue of this album some day.

I’ve since tracked down a copy of Clifford Jordan – The Complete Strata-East Sessions box set on Mosaic. Disc 6 is the entire Glass Bead Games album and there are no audio issues. The bad news is that this set very hard to find and very expensive.