Connie Kay's ride cymbal jazz beat

rondrums51

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A trumpet player friend of mine posted an audio track on Facebook from the late 50's of J.J. Johnson and Stan Getz playing "Billie's Bounce." His comment about the drummer was, "Connie Kay's ride cymbal and snare drum. That is all." It reminded me of Dizzy Gillespie's comment that Connie's feel was "sanctified."

Connie Kay played very little chops and solo stuff, yet he was one of the most recorded drummers of all time. While playing that magical ride cymbal, he played very sparse accents on the snare, but they were perfectly placed.

The players in your band don't care about your amazing chops and licks. They want the groove.

Something to think about.
 

hardbat

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Saw Connie Kay with Benny Goodman back about 40 years ago. I specifically remember a 4-bar solo he did, where the last two bars consisted of nothing but simply 8 quarter notes on the snare drum. It was perfect.
 

Mongrel

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First-THANKS for turning me onto this guy. Yes, I am already ashamed of myself for not hesringnif him sooner. No need to punish me any further...lol.

Question-does anyone know what sticks he used? He has a very distinct sound coming of the tip of his stick when he rides.

If I didn't know better, well maybe I don't lol, I would think it was a small nylon tip....
 

Prufrock

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Connie Kay always played tastefully and for the music, whether he was playing with the MJQ or with Van Morrison. Am I remembering correctly that he played a 17" ride cymbal? The closest I have been able to get to his sound and feel is an 18" Matt Nolan flat ride.
 

bellbrass

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Connie Kay played very little chops and solo stuff, yet he was one of the most recorded drummers of all time.
The players in your band don't care about your amazing chops and licks. They want the groove.

Something to think about.
You're absolutely right here. It's a lesson I've been learning for quite awhile now. I still want to go toward showoff chops once in awhile, but I'm catching myself more and more and focusing on groove and feel. Funny thing is....the groove is harder to do.
 

Rock Salad

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His bass is also wonderful, I could hear even the feathering on my phone speaker listening to the y.t. above. Cool sounds, thanks guys. Will have to do some more listening to Kay.
 

Frank Godiva

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Santos

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Connie Kay's playing with MJQ is probably my biggest influence, I love him. I'll never be able to play like him, but I love trying!

I hadn't hit my teens when I first heard "Little David's Fugue" off the MJQ / Swingle Singers "Place Vendome" album and it absolutely transfixed me. The way he played his cymbals just hooked me for life. Later on, seeing old LP record sleeves where he had the darbuka drums on his kit, or the triangles and chimes etc, really intrigued me.

You rarely ever heard him blazing away, even though you know he could, but his discretely tasteful grooving in that setting of vibes, piano, bass and drums is more than enough for me.
 

mtarrani

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A trumpet player friend of mine posted an audio track on Facebook from the late 50's of J.J. Johnson and Stan Getz playing "Billie's Bounce." His comment about the drummer was, "Connie Kay's ride cymbal and snare drum. That is all." It reminded me of Dizzy Gillespie's comment that Connie's feel was "sanctified."

Connie Kay played very little chops and solo stuff, yet he was one of the most recorded drummers of all time. While playing that magical ride cymbal, he played very sparse accents on the snare, but they were perfectly placed.

The players in your band don't care about your amazing chops and licks. They want the groove.

Something to think about.
Kay, Thigpen and their predecessor, Dave Tough, are among my heroes. Groove masters (and tasteful) musicians who deserve to be carefully studied IMHO. Oh, add John Poole to that group too!
 

Mcjnic

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His ensemble work on the Astral Weeks sessions is stellar. I love the way he hangs back and allows the songs to breathe and just happen. It is an incredible artistic display. Van gave a simple direction to Connie ... play what you want to play ... such freedom.
It is an ethereal album and Davis and Kay absolutely raised the bar for what could be done in front of a mic.
 

bongomania

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I've heard that phrase before, "wide ride", but I don't really know what it means. Could you or someone describe what makes it wide?
 


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