Topic: Styles & Genres  (Read 9898 times)

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Offline Bart Elliott

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Styles & Genres
« on: December 14, 2001, 05:04 AM »
How important do you think it is for a drummer to know and understand a wide variety of styles and/or style concepts?

Is it all hinged on the type of music you like or the type of band you're in?

Explain why you DO or DON'T believe it's important.

rlhubley

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2001, 10:42 AM »
This is a good topic.  I think it is and has to be different for every drummer.  I mean, it has to what's important to you, since there really is no right and no wrong.  So, I'll answer for me.

It is very important to me.  My goal as a drummer is to be a working drummer, earning 50% to 100% of my income from music.  I'm not too interested in joining one band and playing with just that one band.  To me, that's like putting all of your eggs in one basket.  I love many different styles of music, and really enjoy playing the different styles.  I also feel like this is a good way to increase my drumming vocabulary.  I can come up with hybrid styles, interesting feels, and really make solos more interesting.  

I've found the best way to gain the knowledge and understanding of the different styles is to just listen.  I'm quite lazy with practice.  But, I do listen to music for 8-12 hours a day.  (the good side of a day job!)  I listen to multiple styles.  If I am going to do a gig or audition in a certain style, I start listening to that style only.  

I find that a constant problems with musicians(not just drummers) is that many of them DON'T listen to enough music.  This is INSANE!!  How can you expect to be a musician if you don't hear music?  I mean, stock brokers read stocks, lawyers read laws, etc, etc.  

But back to the point.  I do think it IS IMPORTANT for ALL serious drummers to really know and understand the style(s) they play.  They should study them, learn to the subtleties of them, etc.

rudibass2

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2001, 12:42 PM »
  I have to pretty much agree with rlhubley . The more you learn the better you'll be even if you only play one type of music . At least you can add some of your oun flavor , even if your just playing covers.
     I was lucky to have a mother that had a very wide music
collection . Before I was old enough to start buying my oun stuff the only exposure I had was to her alblums . I learned by playing along to all the great BIG BANDS . Jazz , Swing , very early rock and pop .Herb Alfred , Calipso , she loves Harry Belafonte.
   After I showed some early signs of talent and determination I was afforded some privite lessions with the understanding that I had to join the JHS band when I started 7th grade.
      At around the same time I got my first set and a stereo and  thats when my thinking became more one dimentional .
This was at the height of the Rock & Roll era , around 1967.
        This is why a stereo phonagraph was needed . FM radio  didn't come about to the way we know it today till 1967
when WNEW FM in NYC  started to air NON - Commercial music.
      In HS I started my first working band. We played everything from weddings to being the house band at a local club for two years.
       All these experiences have helped to shape the drummer I am today , which is a hobbist Rock\Blues drummer , sub in a church band and rudimental bass drummer in an Alumni DCA drum and bugle corp , two of them this year. I play drums more now than I ever have in my life , AND FOR FREE . ;D
    This is way more than I'm sure anyone needed to know but I was just kind of typing my way down memory lane here , sorry.    

drumsonly2002

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2001, 05:18 PM »
Knowing lots of styles is like having lots of dynamics. I hated blues for the longest time unit I started practicing the shuffle as part of my on going drum education. A good shuffle is worth it's weight in gold. Now I love the blues. All styles of music has a gem of drumming to offer. Attitude towards a style is important. A love for what one is playing keeps it fresh. I try to find something special in each song. Hopefully the people watching and listening enjoy the drumming. Lots to learn with drums.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2001, 06:28 PM »
Personally, I feel that it's imperative that musicians (desiring to be professionals) need to know all styles of music. Now when I say "know" I'm mean to at LEAST have a basic understanding of the style and be able to pull it off. I don't mean that you should be able play every style known to man in such a way that it sounds like that's all you've been playing for the last 20 years.

I can't tell you how many times I've been on a gig or session and someone has asked me to do something that I wouldn't NOT have been able to do if I were not versed in many styles of drumming. So as a working musician it is expected of you ... well, for those that want to work.

Even novice players have everything to gain by studying various styles of music and drumming. The develop more technique and thus makes the stuff the love to play even easier. Does it mean that you're not good if you can't play such-and-such style? Absolutely NOT!!! But when you put the shoe on the other foot, you CAN say that you yourself are a BETTER drummer because you know this-and-that. It's not about comparing with other players, it's about being the best you can be!

It's funny, but when I'm in the studio doing a Country session, I hear comments like "oh Bart, he's definitely a Country drummer" or in Jazz session I'll hear, "oh Bart, he's definitely a Jazz drummer", and a Latin session, "oh Bart, he's definitely a Latin drummer". Why do they say that? I'm none of those! I'm just a musician that loves to play all kinds of music. It does make me feel good in that I must be playing the style convincing enough that they think that's what I play all the time.

One thing I really need to study is different drummer's (and artists) styles; I don't do that enough. If someone was to say, "hey, I like the groove, but could you make it sound like Peter Erskine playing it?" ... I want to be able to do that. Telling them to go hire Peter Erskine is probably not the right response, especially if I need to put food on the table. I'm able to mimic a number of players, but I need to listen and analyze a lot more than I do.

I have so much to learn; I will for the rest of my life. My hope is that every lover of music (and drumming) will take the same attitude and explore all that music has to offer ... whether you play for fun or for money ... OR FOR BOTH!!!

If there's anything that I want to do with this forum it's to encourage every to learn, seek knowledge, learn truth and gain wisdom. If one person comes away with something, it was all worth it.

Offline Kevin Gaines

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2002, 12:17 PM »
"If someone was to say, "hey, I like the groove, but could you make it sound like Peter Erskine playing it?" ... I want to be able to do that. Telling them to go hire Peter Erskine is probably not the right response, especially if I need to put food on the table. "

Yeah this is an old discussion, but I'm just looking around, saw this and I have to respond.
Yes you absolutely do tell them to go hire Peter Erskine, unless you are Peter Erskine !  You are the drummer that you are, which encompasses all of your influences.  If Peter is one of your influences, then they might here some Peter in your playing.  But this crap of "could you play like......"  is the ultimate in stupidity.  You have to have confidence in your ability.  I'm not Peter Erskine, I don't have what he has.  Peter Erskine is not me, he doesn't have what I have.  We all bring something different to the table.   I've had the same thing said to me (requesting me to play like....) and I without hesitation said...."Then go hire....." (He didn't take me up on it.)  Gigs are not that scarce for me.

We Must Remain Confident In Our Abilities !!!!!!!!!



PUhurler

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2002, 04:10 AM »
I, being a novice, am interested in learning the basic grooves for as many styles as I can handle.  Is there a website that has notation for funk, jazz, blues, etc?  I think that would definitely help me speed up my learning curve.  Thanks

rlhubley

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2002, 05:03 AM »
that would help.  However, you will learn more by LISTENING than by reading!

sidereal

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2002, 09:14 AM »
OK, you all are agreeing to much. I have to put a stop to that. :)

Absolutely there is a lot to be said for being adept at all styles of music. You'll get more gigs that way. But there's something to be said for specializing in a certain area. I could give countless examples of world-famous drummers who are known as jazz guys (for example), but you wouldn't want to hire them for a metal project, or funk.

If you're so talented at every different area, you're less likely to establish yourself as The Dude when it comes to a particular genre. Think of the mind of a producer who's working on a reggae project, for example. Does he want to bring in a guy whose rep is "he's an excellent studio cat; he can play every style out there" or does he want to bring in the guy whose rep is "this dude is The Man when it comes to reggae; that's all he does." Chances are the producer's gonna call up the second guy.

I'm not knocking the idea that playing in a variety of styles is important. I'm saying one shouldn't shy away from specializing in a particular style. If anything, that might be the way you actually stand out in the crowd, rather than wading through all the other "multi-talented" drummers.


felix

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2002, 10:11 AM »
Another audition that I didn't make was when two guys in the band wanted me for a hard rock project and the singer wanted to hire a hot LA studio cat.  Well, I was on my way back to Ohio all broken hearted in my 91 aerostar (which made it, thank God) when I find out from the guitar player that the studio guy wasn't anything to brag about and the singer quit or was canned or something.  Anyways...he calls me now and then to play on a ditty here and there.  

I guess there are people out there that are super convincing in all kinds of styles, but who the heck can afford them???  Sony?  Speaking of Sony...did anyone get this months EQ mag and see the Sony advertising section?  Big shot of Jessica Simpson in it-  my eyes almost popped out of my head!

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2002, 10:29 AM »
Quote
I could give countless examples of world-famous drummers who are known as jazz guys (for example), but you wouldn't want to hire them for a metal project, or funk.

You just said the magic words ... World-Famous.

Until you gain that kind of status and respect, I certainly would NOT recommend focusing on just one style or genre. We are living in a different day and age.

If you are NOT world-reknown or world-famous, and you choose to ONLY play ONE style of music .... well, refer to this thread:

[url]http://drummercafe.com/drummercafecgi/YaBB.pl?board=general;action=display;num=1015379540

and read how everyone says that you'll need to get a day job to supplement your income while trying to make it as a full-time musician ... because that's what you'll need to do!

I agree, the virtuoso players typically focus on one style or one instrument. But unless you feel that you are heading down that path and believe you've got what it takes to walk such a narrow path ... I would take the WIDE road.

rlhubley

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2002, 11:45 AM »
I'm not so sure most vituosos concentrate on one style, anymore.  The modernday day virtuosos of the drumset are Vinnie, Gadd, Steve Smith, Weckl, Bozzio, IMHO(just the first 5 that came to mind, i know I left out many!).  Now, everyone one of those guys can play some mean jazz, some balls-out rock, sleek fusion, blues, latin, african, and I know that at least 2 of them can pull of some old cajun and second line grooves.  These "masters" play with Paul Simon one day, and John Patittucci the next, and Zappa the day before.  Hell, Vinnie has played with Jewel!, Weckl with Madonna(although it was just a roto-tom part!), Steve with Journey, and Bozzio  was rokken with Dokken on one album!  My point is that in the state of today's music world, even the "masters" have to be able to cover multiple styles.

Offline James Walker

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2002, 12:39 PM »
Not only do the drummers noted above work in a variety of styles, but I'll bet good money that each would tell you that knowing "style A" has helped him to learn/understand/perform "style B," and so forth.  Steve Gadd's jazz work with Chick Corea and Steps certainly informs his playing with Paul Simon or Eric Clapton (and vice versa, I'd bet).  Even if one decided to only play one style (and I think that's highly unlikely in today's marketplace), if one *only* played jazz, or *only* country, or (etc., etc., etc.), their jazz playing wouldn't be as good as if they'd opened up their ears and minds and explored some other styles.

There's also a difference between a musician saying, "I've tried (style X), and I don't really like playing it, and I don't want to devote myself to learning how to play that style well, let me instead focus on the area(s) where I excel," vs. just not learning other styles.  Unfortunately, the "I don't want to learn a style" is often an attitude younger students cop - either they're too lazy to learn these styles, or they're ignorant of how enjoyable and satisfiying it can be to explore these other musics.  

(Please note, I'm not referring to you with this comment, Sidereal!  I'm talking about a certain number of high school - and even college and pro - drummers I've crossed paths with over the years.)

I'm a solid believer in selecting a musical/artistic direction and following it (altho I'm only now deciding on that direction at age 35), as I'm starting to focus my energies almost exclusively on my mallet instrument work, but IMHO a musician (drummer or otherwise) disregarding different styles of music is taking the idea of "specialization" to an unnecessary and self-defeating degree.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2002, 01:33 PM »
Well, virtuoso is subjective perhaps. The drummers mentioned are incredible players, but I don't think of them as "virtuoso". It's just me I guess and the way I use the word. To me, a virtuoso musician is more than someone with masterly ability, technique, and personal style .... it's someone who has mastered a particular genre of music. Perhaps I'm wrong in linking this with the dictionary's definition ... but I almost see the phrase "master of a particular style" being synonymous with "virtuoso".  When I was agreeing with Sidereal, I was not really thinking of drummers per se, but virtuoso musicians at large ... using my potentially flawed definition of the term.

To me, the list of players Robert sited: Vinnie, Gadd, Steve Smith, Weckl, Bozzio ... do have one style that they tend to lean towards ... IMO. Even though they may play on a session for someone outside of their preferred genre, or should I say the genre I perceive they prefer. Regardless, I still think they have a style focus that they prefer. Each player seems to work with other artists that are very close to their respective style preference. It doesn't mean that they can't play other styles however ... just that they lean towards a certain vibe. The way I've come up with the "preferred genre" is by looking at whom they've played with long term, especially later in their career, not just the occasional gig or session.

I'm shooting myself in the foot arguing this point because I really believe that musicians should be well- rounded (not meaning fat) and have an understanding of all styles. I think the mentioned drummers are where they are today because of their diversity.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2002, 01:47 PM »
I just thought of one more thing  ;D surprised? LOL

When talking about these various world-famous drummers who play all these styles, the ones that I view as virtuoso are the ones that come to my mind when I think of a particular style of music.

So maybe this is the difference we are all having. Some of us view the term to apply to a particular instrument, while others view it in terms of a particular style or genre of music.

Jack DeJohnette is a drummer's drummer. I view him as a drum virtuoso, a piano virtuoso, as well as a jazz virtuoso. Does that make sense? They can all apply, but the instrument versus style is different. DeJohnette as a piano virtuoso may be stretching it ... but he IS an incredible piano player.

So which is it?

Virtuoso Drummer?
Virtuoso Jazz Drummer?
or just Virtuoso?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh .... labels drive me insane.

Can't we just say they all kick ass?!  

Misenko

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2002, 01:13 PM »
They all kick ass! Labels are bad I think, cause much of the time they are created by people who like to package people up into little boxes and not let them out! If I became a Virtuoso Jazz drummer, then I would be looked upon with a frown if I suddenly played in a rock band! I wish I was a virtuoso thoug! ;D

Misenko.

SheldonWhite

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virtuoso...
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2002, 11:10 AM »
vir·tu·o·so   Pronunciation Key  (vûrch-s, -z)
n. pl. vir·tu·o·sos or vir·tu·o·si (-s)
   1. A musician with masterly ability, technique, or personal style.
   2. A person with masterly skill or technique in the arts.
   3. A person with a strong interest in the fine arts, especially in antiquities.
   4. Archaic. A very learned person.

Exhibiting the ability, technique, or personal style of a virtuoso: a virtuoso performance.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't think it's so very complicated. All musicians have some things they do better than other things. Jack Dejohnette is my favorite all-time drummer, but I bet he would be challenged to hold down the drum chair for Motorhead or some insane speedmetal band (not that he'd want to). Most of the top drummers would tell you that they have weak areas they would like to improve.
Some drummers have demonstrated virtuosity in more than one style of music, and we esteem them accordingly.
I haven't heard Jack play piano very much, but if you feel he displays masterly skill or technique, he's a virtuoso.

(Even if Keith Jarrett is an even greater virtuoso...)


irishthump

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2002, 11:36 PM »
Hey everyone!

I would'nt say it's important.
 It's ESSENTIAL if you want to develop into a well rounded player.
The way I see it, MUSIC IS MUSIC. By playing and learning about other styles it's impossible not to benefit in some way from it. You may also find yourself having to improve your technique to encompass a different musical genre.
 The more types of music you listen to, the more you have to draw on creatively, I find that if you play in one style for too long you get into a rut. A rut that's hard to get out of!!!

brad

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Re: Styles & Genres
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2002, 06:39 AM »
Hi Folks, i dont think that anyone can argue that the more you know, the more you can offer, and the more options you will have for session work.

its all relative. i guess it depends on what type of work you prefer?

personally, i agree that we are much better "painters" if we have a full range of colours (or col"o"rs for you yanks) on our palette.

felix

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Re:Styles & Genres
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2002, 08:12 AM »
I have a "new" style to throw in.

Affectionately called "math metal"...I highly recommend checking it out kids.  My buddy played some for me this weekend.  I found it even more impressive than "Liquid Tension Experiment" -a lot more.

I'll post the link when I find it.

 

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