Slow-vs-Fast; Frankie Dunlop/Scott K Fish's interview

kb

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I've got a Big Band gig tomorrow, so I was seeking inspiration.

Frankie Dunlop is one of my favorite drummers, and I knew he'd played with Maynard Ferguson, so I YouTubed it and found "Maynard Ferguson / A Message From Birdland." Not my favorite big band, but great to hear Frankie killin' it in this style. Here's one:

AND, found this great Scott K Fish interview with Frankie Dunlop about playing with Monk and Slow-vs-Fast:

So funny, so real! Frankie totally captures Monk's vibe, and is so honest.

Thanks to Scott Fish!
 
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hawker

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I loved that! Great story and Frankie tells it just like a bop musician. :) And thanks to Scott as well!
 

jansara

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Frankie nailed it. More drummers have crashed and burned on Li'l Darlin" at ?=40 than on Cherokee at 300.
 

Scott K Fish

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Thank you. I've posted a few more Frankie clips on my YouTube channel. He was a great guy.

Best,
Scott K Fish
 

piccupstix

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Hilarious! "I can't even play my damn rudiments!" I've just about fallen off the stool a few times when stuck in a situation like that. Thanks for this!
 

rondrums51

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Frankie was really something. He played those medium-tempo Monk things perfectly. Very difficult to make those tempos groove. Then he turned around and kicked ass in Maynard Ferguson's big band.

He was the best Monk drummer, IMO, with Ben Riley a close second.
 

Scott K Fish

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rondrums51 - I almost agree with you on Frankie as Monk's best drummer. But since Art Blakey laid the groundwork on so many Monk tunes - I give Art the nod.

BTW - none of Maynard's records were readily available when I interviewed Frankie. I had heard none or almost none of these tracks.
 

mtarrani

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rondrums51 said:
Frankie was really something. He played those medium-tempo Monk things perfectly. Very difficult to make those tempos groove. Then he turned around and kicked ass in Maynard Ferguson's big band.

He was the best Monk drummer, IMO, with Ben Riley a close second.
I partially agree. I think Monk's best drummer was Shadow Wilson, but Dunlop's playing seems to be heavily inspired by Wilson, who according to Monk's son was Monk's favorite drummer. Check out this interview with Monk's son, T. S. Monk (also a drummer). Here is a pull quote, "... You can go even a step further: I was sitting with Cecil Brooks III and Michael Carvin; we were listening to the recording, and it was, for all of us, our first chance to really hear Shadow Wilson playing out. Now dig this: Until I heard this recording, I, Ben Riley, and every other drummer after Frankie Dunlop, sort of played Monk with a Frankie Dunlop flavor. Because we all agreed that Frankie Dunlop was the perfect match with Monk. But I listened to this recording and I realized that Frankie Dunlop was on the scene, he was listeningFrankie Dunlop was playing Shadow Wilson, who Thelonious always said was his favorite drummer. So I find that the influence that I thought was coming from Frankie Dunlop was coming from Shadow Wilson." https://www.allaboutjazz.com/ts-monk-his-fathers-voice--monk-quartet-with-coltrane-at-carnegie-hall-part-1-by-chris-m-slawecki.php?pg=4
 

Scott K Fish

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"Frankie Dunlop was playing Shadow Wilson" is a slight to both drummers. Frankie had the gig with Monk's Quartet until the Musicians Union busted Frankie, and Shadow was Frankie's replacement.

I will double-check, but I don't recall Frankie citing Shadow as a major influence. Frankie thought Blakey was Monk's best drummer.

Best,
skf
 

mtarrani

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Scott K Fish said:
"Frankie Dunlop was playing Shadow Wilson" is a slight to both drummers. Frankie had the gig with Monk's Quartet until the Musicians Union busted Frankie, and Shadow was Frankie's replacement.

I will double-check, but I don't recall Frankie citing Shadow as a major influence. Frankie thought Blakey was Monk's best drummer.

Best,
skf
So you are saying that Monk's son slighted both Wilson and Dunlop with that statement that I quoted? Honestly, I think I'll go with Monk's son who has insights into both his father and his father's band members that none of us will ever have.
 

mtarrani

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Scott K Fish said:
"Frankie Dunlop was playing Shadow Wilson" is a slight to both drummers. Frankie had the gig with Monk's Quartet until the Musicians Union busted Frankie, and Shadow was Frankie's replacement.

I will double-check, but I don't recall Frankie citing Shadow as a major influence. Frankie thought Blakey was Monk's best drummer.

Best,
skf
Actually Wilson died in 1959, and Frankie did not join Monk until the 60s.

EDITED TO PROVIDE CHRONOLOGY OF MONK'S DRUMMERS
These are drummers cited on Monk's recordings only. His live, [commercially unrecorded] work is probably different, but this list does show drummers with whom he was associated during commercial recording sessions, many of which were live:
1941-1946 Kenny Clarke
1947-1948 Art Blakey & Shadow Wilson
1950 Buddy Rich
1951 Art Blakey
1952 Max Roach & Art Blakey
1953 Willie Jones
1954 Art Blakey, Art Taylor & Kenny Clarke
1955 Connie Kay, Art Blakey & Kenny Clarke
1956 Art Blakey & Max Roach
1957 Art Blakey, Shadow Wilson, Ossie Johnson & Billy Higgins
1958 Philly Joe Jones & Roy Haynes
1959 Art Taylor
1960 Billie Higgins
1961 - 1963 Frankie Dunlop
1964 - 1968 Ben Riley
1969 Ben Riley & Art Blakey
1970 Lenny McBrowne
1971 Art Blakey
1972 T.S. Monk (son) & Art Blakey
1975 T.S. Monk (son)
 

Scott K Fish

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I will see if I can isolate this part of Frankie Dunlop's interview transcript. There's actually a bit more to the story that concerns Monk's dialogue with the Local 802 representative.

But for the purpose of the historical record, here is Frankie Dunlop verbatim telling us how he preceded Shadow Wilson in Monk's quartet with John Coltrane.

=====

Frankie Dunlop: Well, when I came to New York I didn't have enough time in the union to play in the New York clubs. At that time you had to be a New York City resident for three months. You could play one night a week, I think, or you could play outside of New York, or in a traveling group. That was the reason I couldn't continue working with Monk the first time.

When Monk first heard me play at Connie's (Inn) uptown -- when [Monk] was starting a group after having been idle for about seven years -- when he didn't have a cabaret card. Finally he got the go ahead to work from Local 802, and he got the job at the Five Spot.

Well, he had heard me play at a session at Connie's lounge. He asked me if I wanted to join his group because he liked the way I played, and he was speaking about my beat. That's another thing that encouraged me.

Scott K Fish: Of course you were familiar with [Monk's] work at that time?

FD: Oh sure. He was the only artist I'd purchase records of when I lived in Buffalo. I was really into my music and I loved Monk. I thought that he was so creative then. At that time he was with Blue Note [Records]. His records were 78 RPM at that time. If you dropped or chipped one of those records -- that was the end of it.

So anyway, I was with Monk at the Five Spot for two, maybe three weeks at the most. And the union man came and pulled me off the job.

I opened with Monk on the first Five Spot job that he had. The union man pulled me off because I didn't have enough time as a resident in New York City. He got on Monk about it, and he got on me. I was working steady -- which I wasn't supposed to be doing.

It was really a funny thing the way it turned out. You know that Monk is an idividualist. Well, God rest his soul. He's passed. The group was John Coltrane, Wilbur Ware, and me. Hey, wait a minute! Would you believe that the other three musicians in that group have all passed?

When I left, Shadow Wilson took my place.

http://scottkfish.com
 


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