Monday, June 4, 2012

Excellent examples of bebop drumming

First, what is bebop drumming? The short answer is a swung 8th note ostinado on the ride cymbal with a steady two and four on the hi-hat while accenting passages by dropping bombs on the bass drum and snare drum.

The father of bebop drumming was Kenny Clarke who moved time from the hi-hats to the ride cymbal, and who invented the style of using call and response between the left hand on the snare drum and the right foot on the bass drum. Two and four were taken care on the hi-hat.

Max Roach refined and extended the style, along with other pioneering bebop drummers such as Stan Levey.

Here is a track from the 1945 Town Hall concert featuring Max Roach on drums:

In the above clip you can hear the essence of bebop drumming. However, seeing it is even better. The one clip I show fellow drummers who want to see and hear bebop drumming at its finest is this one from a 1952 Downbeat award given to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. The drummer is a sadly forgotten man named Charlie Smith whose playing has always fascinated me. Here is the clip:

  • Charlie Parker - alto sax
  • Dizzy Gillespie - trumpet
  • Dick Hyman - piano
  • Sandy Block - bass
  • Charlie Smith - drums
A transcription of Smith's playing in the clip is available from this excellent site.

If this topic interests you check out Understanding Music Through Critical Listening in my other blog, Music For Drummers.


John Deleone said...

Charlie ( charles ) smith was my drum teacher in New Haven ct. my former teacher sent me to him to expand my training. Charles was sensational

bill carney said...

Charlie was my uncle. One of the best brush men who ever played. Thanks for the comments ;)

John Deleone said...

Charles was such a very nice guy and a great drummer.My 1st instructor sent me to learn from Charles because we were both Left Handed drummers. I took lessons from Charles untill.he passed away. I believe it was 1966. I will never forget than man.