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Mel Lewis' Old A Zildjian

4164SB

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Had not seen this pic before of the "famous" Mel Lewis 50's A Zildjian which Buddy Rich dubbed "the best" ride of all time.
 
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RickP

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This is the youtube vidoe of Danny Gottlieb playing this cymbal - There are vidoes of Mel playing it
and it sounds really nice.
 
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4164SB

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Very cool, only wish he'd played it a bit more. I read that he has had Zildjian try to re-produce it, without success.
 

mlayton

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i bought a vintage 20" avedis about a year ago that had a pretty bad crack running along the lathing outside the bell. this is one of the best sounding cymbals that i have ever played. but, here's the kicker. i dont play it. i'm afraid of it getting much worse. it was already pretty bad when i got it.

the comment that was made about the mel lewis cymbal sounding better after it was modified just got me to thinging about mine.

i'd love to have it professionally worked on so it doesnt spread. any thoughts on this? ive ony got 35 plus shipping in the pie right now. if i recall it is a 60's avedis at a little over 2000 grams. original sizzle cymbal as well.

mike
 
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I have a K Custom Organic tide that sounds pretty close to the ride Danny plays on the Youtube vid. Mine doesn't have any rivets but the stick sound and drier quality matches pretty close.
 

Cliff DeArment

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This is one of those cymbals that can play in different tones wherever you want to hear them. You can hear Gottlieb playing in one place and then he plays it again in a different place and it's a different cymbal. That's the magic! :icon_smile:

(It's all about the pitch. No pitches?... something is missing. That's why Gottleib is a so good. He knows pitches very very well! Like knowing a cello...)
 

rondrums51

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That's the sound, man. Mel had such great ears concerning cymbals.

I have one of the very first Istanbul Mel Lewis 21" rides from the 80's, and it sounds very close to that. The first night I played it, I knew I had the perfect jazz ride cymbal that I had always heard in my head.

The guy who sold it to me called me a month later and begged for it back, even offering more money than I paid. I felt so bad for the guy! But I wasn't about to give it up, and he understood why.

It's still my main ride today. If it ever gets a crack in it, I'll commit suicide!
 

Seb77

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Mel used very different sounding cymbals through the years. I wouldn't say the Istanbul Mel models are any closer to that old A than oher cymbals. The Isties were modelled after some Zidjiler/Istanbul cymbals Mel got in the early 80s, not after old Ks or this A. Btw, Danny Gottlieb I think was involved with bringing the original Zildjilers over to Turkey after Mel had passed, for the Istanbul guys to replicate them.
 

rondrums51

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Seb77 said:
Mel used very different sounding cymbals through the years. I wouldn't say the Istanbul Mel models are any closer to that old A than oher cymbals. The Isties were modelled after some Zidjiler/Istanbul cymbals Mel got in the early 80s, not after old Ks or this A. Btw, Danny Gottlieb I think was involved with bringing the original Zildjilers over to Turkey after Mel had passed, for the Istanbul guys to replicate them.
Yeah, mine came from one of the first batches of those. I don't know what year that was. I always assumed 80's. but Mel passed in 1990.
 

rondrums51

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rondrums51 said:
Mel used very different sounding cymbals through the years. I wouldn't say the Istanbul Mel models are any closer to that old A than oher cymbals. The Isties were modelled after some Zidjiler/Istanbul cymbals Mel got in the early 80s, not after old Ks or this A. Btw, Danny Gottlieb I think was involved with bringing the original Zildjilers over to Turkey after Mel had passed, for the Istanbul guys to replicate them.
Yeah, mine came from one of the first batches of those. I don't know what year that was. I always assumed 80's. but Mel passed in 1990.

I has an old K profile--flatter than A's, not a lot of taper, with a shallow bell.
 

Seb77

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I'm pretty sure the series was only introcued posthumously.There are pre-split Mels, meaning from before the Agop/Mehmet split in 1997. Mehmet renamed theirs "Legend".
 

madchops82

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Yes. Cracked or cymbals with chunks out, often sound better.
 

hawker

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I'm reading Mel's biography right now, can't put it down. So far, only one small reference to his drums and cymbals.
So why at a time when everyone of note was only playing A's, did Mel make the switch? Did Isty offer him something he couldn't get from Zildjian? Did he like what he first heard from Istanbul or did it take a while to get there? Inquiring minds want to know. :)
 

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RickP said:

This is the youtube vidoe of Danny Gottlieb playing this cymbal - There are vidoes of Mel playing it
and it sounds really nice.
RickP said:

This is the youtube vidoe of Danny Gottlieb playing this cymbal - There are vidoes of Mel playing it
and it sounds really nice.
Wow, I loved this. Great story, great telling of it and very meaningful. Gee, I only wish I liked the sound of that ugly cymbal. :) Guess it must sound a lot better with other musicians. Thanks for posting.
 
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RickP

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hawker said:
I'm reading Mel's biography right now, can't put it down. So far, only one small reference to his drums and cymbals.
So why at a time when everyone of note was only playing A's, did Mel make the switch? Did Isty offer him something he couldn't get from Zildjian? Did he like what he first heard from Istanbul or did it take a while to get there? Inquiring minds want to know. :)
There is a section on the Mel a bio where they talk about his drums and cymbals, unfortunately not enough about his cymbals IMHO.
I recall reading an interview where Mel exclaims "They're back! " when he first played the Istanbul (pre-split) cymbals. This was in reference to the K like sonic properties of the Istanbul line.

The cymbal Danny agottlieb now owns was used by Mel on some outstanding recordings. Check out Art Pepper and Eleven and a Terry Gibbs Dream Band. The ride itself back in the day had a nice mix of Istanbul K and A Zildjian qualities. I love Mel's cymbal sound but to my ear THE cymbal sound is Art Blakey's on the Art Blakey Big Band (remastered 2013) album. Sure much of the sound is from the player, but Art and his cymbal sound is particularly killing here.
 
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RickP

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image.jpg

Look at all those rivets !!!
 

"poppies"

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Mel's A is definitely an acquired taste, but I think it's one of the best sounds ever. Love the dry, character-filled vibe.
 


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