James Brown and todays gospel drummers...

Trey Gray

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Hey,

I'm watching "The Blues Brothers" and the first church scene with JB is rocking...

What do you guys think he would think of today's gospel chops drummers backing him up?

cheers and blessings, Trey
 

6topher

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He'd probably think they don't groove enough.

I know a lot of 'urban' (that means black) gospel drummers. Most are really brilliantly talented drummers, but absurdly overplay. They also tune their snare drums so high with thick heads like a P77 that the lugs literally pull & break out of the shell. It's a regular fix for me. I think its because a lot of them come out of marching.

I watched a super talented gospel drummer just strangle the life out of an Al Green tune with chops in a club because he had no idea that Al's songs need to breathe
 

Patrick

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I would expect JB to get exactly what he wanted from his drummer or he's off the bus. Such skills seem to be in the wheelhouse for most of the drummers I have seen playing gospel. If they want the gig. I had to learn similar lesson when I got good country gigs. Play less, don't crowd the singer, get paid.
 

Tornado

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I'll take a different angle on it. None of these guys would have gotten near James Brown unless James Brown knew who they were or what they were about. If he invited them to play with him, he's wanting what they could bring to the table. For all the classic stuff we know and love? Probably not. But if he were still alive? Maybe he'd be reaching out to these guys for something new.
 

paul

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I subbed sometimes for a dance band leader who had me sit close to him (he played piano) so he could tell me what he wanted. I followed instructions and wound up getting multiple calls for very nice gigs. I have no doubt that James Brown would not have been shy about explaining exactly what he wanted and making sure he got it. A smart drummer would pay attention and further his musical education.
 

DrumWhipper

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Man I grew up playing in a Pentecostal church. The first thing I had to learn when I began playing other music is that I couldn’t play constant fills like they want in Gospel music, and I had to learn to sit in the pocket. It was rough at first, but over time I feel like it made me a better drummer.
 

Vistalite Black

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I like how the OP cleverly shifted disapproval of Gospel Chops drummers to the great James Brown (who died in 2006).
Much more effective to claim JB would have disapproved than to assert one's own disapproval.
Of course, that wasn't James Brown's drummer(s) in the Blues Brothers and he was backed by a gospel choir.
I sincerely believe JB would have jumped at the chance to play with Tony Royster Jr. or other talented drummers. Wouldn't have paid 'em much or shared any song credits, but he'd get up on stage with Jay-Z's drummer or another equally prominent drummer, for sure.
 

CC Cirillo

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(I didn’t particular pick up on disapproval of Gospel drummers in the original question.)

I’ll opine:

JB probably would not—depending on song context—be 100% enamored with overblown chops. I don’t think he’d be gravitating towards that vibe for recording.

But if he hired a Gospel drummer for a live show he might spotlight it once or twice.

I’d wager any player getting that call would be (1) drummer enough to know the catalog and (2) be musician enough not to over play.
 

Chalmers

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Well, he tried to get DC in his band when he was only 13 or 14.

I’d guess spanky or sput
 

JDA

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What do you guys think he would think of today's gospel chops drummers backing him up?
"hard to dance to man"
------ James from planet Erzicon
"gimmie the One"
--somebody already said that
" and keep it in the same place"

"watch my butt"
-------James
 
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BennyK

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JB's drummer beats and grooves have been sampled and looped for years , countless times . Like Duke Ellington , the band was his instrument . He played it , it didn't play him .
 
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Dumpy

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James Brown music is all about FEEL and GROOVE. No disrespect to gospel drummers, but there just isn’t enough feel in much that I have heard. I did hear a gospel drummer with feel and groove, but it turns out this guy in particular was a disciple of none other than John Bonham, so he did not follow along with the institutional ubiquity of gospel drumming. The RIGHT gospel drummer would figure out the feel and incorporate enough of themselves in the song without stepping all over it.

One artist I know who would absolutely go ballistic over a gospel drummer is none other than Chuck Berry. He didn’t allow his drummers to play fills. A gospel drummer would be gone after the first fill.
 
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Sprice

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I like how the OP cleverly shifted disapproval of Gospel Chops drummers to the great James Brown (who died in 2006).
Much more effective to claim JB would have disapproved than to assert one's own disapproval.
Of course, that wasn't James Brown's drummer(s) in the Blues Brothers and he was backed by a gospel choir.
I sincerely believe JB would have jumped at the chance to play with Tony Royster Jr. or other talented drummers. Wouldn't have paid 'em much or shared any song credits, but he'd get up on stage with Jay-Z's drummer or another equally prominent drummer, for sure.
Lol, exactly. Gospel drumming/gospel chops is just a style of playing. It's purposefully busy and geared more towards cutting sessions than dance grooves so of course it's not going to work for what we think of as James Brown grooves. But drummers know that too. Jabo and Clyde both played in a variety of styles before getting with JB but they gave the man what he wanted. There are plenty of guys today that could play with him.
 

Tornado

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Lol, exactly. Gospel drumming/gospel chops is just a style of playing. It's purposefully busy and geared more towards cutting sessions than dance grooves so of course it's not going to work for what we think of as James Brown grooves. But drummers know that too. Jabo and Clyde both played in a variety of styles before getting with JB but they gave the man what he wanted. There are plenty of guys today that could play with him.

Right. And most of those guys don't actually play all out like that during church services. They'd get told to stop there too. A lot of this came from drummers taking their kits into church and playing together and cutting on each other all night long. I think most of us would be better drummers if we did that.
 

tnsquint

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I agree with Tornado. I do a lot of gospel events with big name artists and the musicianship is completely off the charts. The amount of information these guys can digest in a very short period of time and then play it back completely lights out is beyond amazing. They are all extremely good musicians and absolutely know what a song calls for. They would be right at home playing with James Brown, Aretha, or any number of other musical styles for that matter.

The idea that “gospel chops” is overplaying, doesn’t take into account the situations in which these guys play. Was fusion music in the ‘70s overplaying? If the only concern is playing a backbeat doesn’t all music start to sound an awful lot alike. Black gospel is an amalgamation of blues, rock, pop, fusion….

Having spent countless hours serving these guys I can tell you it is one of the most exciting things to watch live and I seriously look forward to it any chance I get!
 


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