Are Jazz Guys feathering...

Seb77

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Just recently I saw a video on facebook of Tony Williams on his yellow 24" Gretsch. He was feathering quarter notes at a fast tempo like this.
 

multijd

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I always wondered how much woodshedding tony had to do to get that 4 on floor with left foot at up tempos feeling so flawless...I assume that other than creative genius he was like most of us, having to work on technical challenges...like he did his push pull ride style
Of course the key here is that he was doing with the hihat what others were doing with the bass drum.
 

Tymp2002

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Do you still feather the bass drum at fast tempo's like 280bpm?
Feathering the BD is a pre-bop era technique. Big band jazz for example. Bop/post bop jazz swing drummers leave it out and play BD "bombs" (accents). I vividly remember my university jazz bands director reprimanding us for feathering a bop tune. So it depends on the song. Big band chart? - feather. Bop chart? DON'T.
 

Seb77

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Feathering the BD is a pre-bop era technique. Big band jazz for example. Bop/post bop jazz swing drummers leave it out and play BD "bombs" (accents). I vividly remember my university jazz bands director reprimanding us for feathering a bop tune. So it depends on the song. Big band chart? - feather. Bop chart? DON'T.
Sorry, then your band director got it wrong. You might have been playing the bass drum too loud, but leaving out altogether is not what most of the bop greats did, they just played it softly.

There's a whole narrative of the beat "moving" from the drums to the cymbal with bop that makes a lot of sense on paper because you don't really hear the bass drum as a separate instrument with bop timeplaying - but it is (often) there, enriching the walking bass sound. I remember a real jazz scholar, Dr or phd you would call him, and he reurgitated that myth of the bop bassdrum only being used for bombs. I raised my hand to correct him on that in class, it was so important to me. It's often the non-drummer band leaders and scholars that got their info on drumming second-hand via books and recordings.
I think in the 70s when the bass got louder, the idea of bop feathering got lost for a while, seemed totally unknwon when I first learned jazz in the late 80s. But, it came back with more big band players getting hip to Mel Lewis etc. In my case, it was the John Ramsey book on Art Blakey that was a real eye-opener in that respect because Art wasn't a big band player (in the first place) - and he feathered. Then I saw drummers like Carl Allen live doing it in small bands (fortunately he had set up sideways) which confirmed it.

I have a question here: It seems like Mel buried the beater when feathering (not sure which video I saw this in), his bass drum being almost unmuffled - how widespread was/is this? I'd have a hard time doing this.
 

JDA

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"Jazz Guys.... feather every limb!!"

The whole drum set is feathered! That's the point! That's the approach!
It's entirely feathered until those wings are flapping like a hummingbird!
or in quiet nesting sleep...
(from crow to hummingbird and all birds in-between!

They didn't call him " Bird" for nothing!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Set feathering






carry on
 
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dale w miller

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I have been working on John Riley's "Out in the Open" which is about 300bpm. Super light Kick on 1 and 3 (hat 2 and 4) helps me keep time much better.

From what I have read big band was more 4 on the floor to support pre electric and amplified bass. For Bop, not as necessary.
My metronome doesn’t even go to 300bpm.
 

Swissward Flamtacles

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Not sure if there is a metronome that goes that fast but you can set it to 150 and hear it as 1 and 3 or as 2 and 4. Lots of metronomes also have eight notes that you can include to get to 300 bpm.
 

Tymp2002

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Sorry, then your band director got it wrong. You might have been playing the bass drum too loud, but leaving out altogether is not what most of the bop greats did, they just played it softly.

There's a whole narrative of the beat "moving" from the drums to the cymbal with bop that makes a lot of sense on paper because you don't really hear the bass drum as a separate instrument with bop timeplaying - but it is (often) there, enriching the walking bass sound. I remember a real jazz scholar, Dr or phd you would call him, and he reurgitated that myth of the bop bassdrum only being used for bombs. I raised my hand to correct him on that in class, it was so important to me. It's often the non-drummer band leaders and scholars that got their info on drumming second-hand via books and recordings.
I think in the 70s when the bass got louder, the idea of bop feathering got lost for a while, seemed totally unknwon when I first learned jazz in the late 80s. But, it came back with more big band players getting hip to Mel Lewis etc. In my case, it was the John Ramsey book on Art Blakey that was a real eye-opener in that respect because Art wasn't a big band player (in the first place) - and he feathered. Then I saw drummers like Carl Allen live doing it in small bands (fortunately he had set up sideways) which confirmed it.

I have a question here: It seems like Mel buried the beater when feathering (not sure which video I saw this in), his bass drum being almost unmuffled - how widespread was/is this? I'd have a hard time doing this.
Well it wouldn't have been the only thing this PhD band director got wrong about drums. He was a trombone player who played with some of the greats. Maybe there was a particular drummer he listed to. Perhaps the feathering is a time-keeping mechanism as much as anything.
 

kb

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I have a question here: It seems like Mel buried the beater when feathering (not sure which video I saw this in), his bass drum being almost unmuffled - how widespread was/is this? I'd have a hard time doing this.
I think this was VERY common. Jo Jones, Krupa, Rich, Elvin, TONS of guys did this.

If the length of your pedal stroke is only 1/4" it's hard to play off the head. And if you do, it sounds like: "buh buh buh..." If you let the beater sink into the head, still with 1/4" strokes, you get a shorter, crisper sound, like: "bup bup bup..." This is much less likely to cover up the Bass player.

I know there is a Theory that we shouldn't bury the beater, but from what I've seen and heard, guys have been burying the beater since the very beginning of the drum set.

If your drum has little or no muffling, the only way to get a short sound is to deadstick.
 

tkillian

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When I played this tune (about 340 bpm) believe or not I actually was feathering sometimes. You can't hear it on the video and couldn't hear it in the audience but the guys probably felt it.

We played this tune slower in all are other gigs but John just went bizerk that night. We were off to the races. Thats why you see Nick and I smile at each other like "oh man this is going to be fun..you ready?"


I could probably play it faster today. That was me 35 pounds heavier than I am today.

But no..dont feather at these tempos unless you are doing a buddy Rich or count basie (maybe) big band tune.

In general i feather all the time..well most of the time. But its really not heard

 
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Edward

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That’s the most informative ‘feathering the bass drum’ video I have seen. After listening to your explanation and watching your Mom a lightbulb went in for me. Thank you!
 

hawker

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When I played this tune (about 340 bpm) believe or not I actually was feathering sometimes. You can't hear it on the video and couldn't hear it in the audience but the guys probably felt it.

We played this tune slower in all are other gigs but John just went bizerk that night. We were off to the races. Thats why you see Nick and I smile at each other like "oh man this is going to be fun..you ready?"


I could probably play it faster today. That was me 35 pounds heavier than I am today.

But no..dont feather at these tempos unless you are doing a buddy Rich or count basie (maybe) big band tune.

In general i feather all the time..well most of the time. But its really not heard

Tom, what cymbals here? Are they long gone? :) Great playing and the pang at the end was a nice.
 

Swissward Flamtacles

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If you haven’t checked out Loren Schoenberg’s multi-part radio series with Mel Lewis On the history of Jazz drummers now is a good time. Mel talks about the bass drum in just about every episode.
Thanks a lot for this! The last time I looked, there were only a few episodes on youtube. And I just realized that you can even download the MP3s by right clicking!
 

tkillian

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Tom, what cymbals here? Are they long gone? :) Great playing and the pang at the end was a nice.
Thanks

On bugs bunny the Main ride was a 1950s old A 20". Peter VanNostrand found it for me in ebay. It weighed 2100-2200grams but bell was huge and you could bend the edges of the cymbal


I should have kept it!

I also used a borrowed 20" old k on this gig. Maybe in star trek theme.




18" paiste trad crash and 14" 1950s super thin hi hats.

All gone. I still have the 22 oriental china trash though and still have that snare.
 
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