This week I asked Sydney drummer James Jennings to write about some of his influences and favourite albums. He is possibly one of the best dressed Jazz musicians in Sydney and while still studying at the Sydney Con, he has started to make waves around town. Check it out below:
Top 3 drummers:
Very difficult to List only 3 favorite Drummers as there are so many inspiring players out there. At the moment this would be my top 3 for various reasons.
#1 Brian Blade:
Anyone who knows me would definitely have guessed this as my Number 1 but for reasons everyone is aware of. Brian Blade is why i started to play jazz drums. Brian’s Drumming/musicality is so so so deep and can rival and match any of the greats in the past. So much of my inspiration has come from Brian. His groove touch and feel are all aspects i wish to absorb. When i was 16 i was handed Ryan Kisor’s battle cry, which Brian is on and from that moment i knew i had found a drummer/musician that i truly wanted to grasp. Brian’s versatility as a musician is also absolutely astounding. Be it grooving with Sam Yahel, swinging with Joshua Redman, creating timeless art with Wayne shorter or getting his rock on with Black Dub, Joni Mitchell and Seal. He brings so much history present and future to every stroke he applies to a drum/cymbal.
In my opinion Bill Stewart has changed the way Modern Drummers thing about playing jazz. His sense of phrasing among the limbs is amazing as well as the understanding of the ride cymbal as not only a time keeping devise but a creation of colour.The way Bill has taken from the masters of the past is also inspiring. You can definitely hear the history with large amounts of Roy Haynes ha.The very first album i heard bill on was John Scofield’s What We Do. His creativeness and undeniable groove blew me away! i still listen to that album a lot and still find new things every time which in my opinion is a true sign of a master.
Lately i have really been checking out a fare amount of Hip hop soul and r&b.?uestlove has the best time feel. Its CRAZY!. I really think checking out and really listening to hip hop and r&b is on of the best ways to get your time feel happening in any genre. Drummers such as Spanky, Steve Jordan, Chris “daddy” Dave, Eric Tribbett, Aaron Spears, Gerland Heyward, are just some of the drummers i’m checking out in this genre.
Ok so i cant leave off Eric Harland:
Eric is my biggest inspiration right now. His articulation on the drum set is out of this world. His power intensity and GROOVE are all things i want for my playing. His compositions and arrangements are also amazing. His Arrangement of Monk’s I mean you played with SFJazz Collective is a perfect example of this. Also his total musical support towards other musicians and the music is what makes him one of the most happening and sort after drummers of today.
Other drummers that I’m checking out at the moment include:
Kendrick Scott,Jeff Ballard, Mark Guiliana,Matt Chamberland,Felix Bloxsom Nate Smith, Billy Kilson, James waples,Jorge Rossy, Roy Haynes, Jack Dejohonette, Jochen Rueckert.
I know all 4 of my Picks have been recently “modern” drummers as HIGHLY important as it is to look back on the MASTERS of jazz music and the art of jazz i think it’s also equally as important to listen and check out the new things that are happening in the world of music around us in present times.
3 fav Youtube videos:
Wayne Shorter Quartet:
Kurt Rosenwinkle’s The Remedy:
Aaron Goldberg- Piano
Eric Harland- Drums
Mark Tuner- sax
This album is just full of raw hardcore energy and inspirational solos form all players. This for me is the perfect example of Eric’s musical support to the band. Kurt’s compositions are also jaw dropping.
Chris Potter’s Gratitude:
Scott Colley- Bass
Kevin Hayes –Keys
This Album really hit home to me with how truly amazing Brian Blade is. His groove on this album, on every tune is rock solid but not in a rhythmical pattern way. He could be breaking up the beat without loosing any sense of the groove what so ever!! I also really like Scott Coley on this album and of course Chris Potter is just killing!
Wayne Shorter’s Footprints Live:
Wayne Shorter- sax
Danilo Perez- Piano
John Patitucci- Bass
This album is my example of how a band can work together to create something that has never been heard before. All members’ are virtuosos of their instruments but not for a second dose ego or selfishness entre the music. They are all there 100% for one anther and the music!! P.S Brian Blade is bubbling intensity GOD.
Brad Mehldau’s largo and Live in Tokyo:
Largo is one of my favorite albums I can put on and just simply listen to with out my brain trying to over analyse. The Producing on this album is wicked.
Live in Tokyo I think truly shows what a amazing musician brad is.He makes the piano sound like a 80 piece orchestra with not a hint of physical effort. The way he can build and maintain and solo on this album is another aspect why I choose it for my Top list.
Zubin Mehta Conducting L.A Philharmonic Orchestra Playing Dvorak’s New World symphony #9
P.S check out James with Mike Nock, Karl Laskowski and Alex Boneham at 505 on Saturday