Becoming a Jazz Drummer at 57


DFO Master
Aug 5, 2005
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Roch - a whole bunch of pretty good advice has proceeded me here - and I'm not looking to discount any of it. Just add my two cents...

Beyond learning the basics of jazz/swing rhythm (which you likely already know as it is all over other styles besides jazz) and digging into a bit of independence (in other words, absolutely go through the Riley or Chasing book or both), IMO it is all about listening to and playing along with records. And again, IMO I don't think it matters where you start or what path you take. I think the most important thing is never ever ever let figuring out records and playing along with records to become a chore. If it even hints at that - then IMO you're working on the wrong record. Maybe it will be the right record later, but if it's being a chore... it's the wrong record.

There are a bazillion jazz recordings - my advice...plow into YouTube or better Apple Music (or equivalent) and find a record that sounds it not only be fun to play... but one that is pretty much in your reach to play. And "join that band" and play along - I learned 99% of my drumming vocabulary simply playing along with records...starting with getting the gist of it and then getting more specific... then "borrowing" more of the details (or the ones that seem important) from the drummer you're playing along with.

And then add another record and another and another... I say add, because I still often play along with some records that I've been playing along with since I was 12 years old.

Anyway the point is don't make it a task or a chore - don't let turn into... "I'm working my way through some top 10 "every jazz drummer should know these records" list and I'm just not finding it exciting". If it's not exciting, if it's not a total gas.... then play something else.

Now I'm not saying not to take on challenges - just to take on the challenges that excite you - that you can't wait to figure out, or master.

So in closing - what I'm saying is take all of these great references and use them as part of your shopping list - but don't work on anything because you're "supposed to", just those things that strike you as "Yeah, let me try that!"

Good luck and have fun!

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