John ‘JR’ Robinson is messing with my brain

It was clearly about time I would take serious notes on John ‘JR’ Robinson‘s discography. Obviously, the starting point of the obsession was this following video (I bet most of you already know it).

After you experience that a lot of things start crossing your mind. Things like”Dude, how many 80s tracks I ‘ve considered cheesy music with good drum machines?” or “how ignorant am I to NOT know this song has a live drum take of this caliber in it”. Anyway, I get pretty sentimental with trivia like that.

The research led me to start listening to all the Rufus feat. Chaka Khan records but particularly the ones they recorded with JR behind the drums (79-83). Masterjam is probably my favourite one until now. The album kicks off with the following track:

Yeah I know, Quincy Jones is the Midas of pop but before we give him the credit for the whole thing just check out this drum take. I was out taking a stroll while listening to it, feeling it and grooving with it. And then… the 2.54 mark hits me like punch.

Some drummers just need less than a quarter note to make themselves legendary in a track. I honestly don’t know how do you keep your composure while knowing you CAN do that but it inspired me deeply to follow that method in every way I can.

 

 

Andy Newmark -The Space Between

Along with the infamous Mike Clark (standalone post will be done later), Andy Newmark is for me one of the most iconic musicians of funk discography. He’s the drummer on ‘Fresh’ by Sly & The Family Stone, a record that has made funk history.

I was never aware of his session career until I made a careful listen to Roxy Music‘s ‘Avalon’ (1982). There are numerous songs with special grooves in there but the one that really stands out for me is ‘The Space Between’.

The drumming here brings out a  darker ‘JR Robinson’ vibe with a tendency to small artistic intricacies rather than serving a strict pattern. All in a ‘one take’ kind of attitude.

This came out 16 years ago…

Boy, time flies. I was only 10 when the first singles from “Parachutes” came to light. I remember both “Trouble” and “Shiver” being on heavy rotation in the golden MTV years.

Being a teenager during the 00s its easy to see why I can’t say a single bad thing about this band. They re stuck in “hard drive”, can’t erase them, can’t change the station when one of their early stuff is going on.

For what is worth, Parachutes is a pretty DARN GOOD record. When it came out, surely everyone accused the band for ripping off Radiohead. Now, I ‘ve previously stated what’s my opinion on “stealing” and I pretty much think the same in this case. These guys embraced influences, airplay and always had a very good connection with music that’s not considered “shitty radio songs”. At least for the most part of their career…

The Sound of Joe Morello

Been a long time but summer is busy here. Got a bunch of posting ideas soon to be published.

Today’s subject, mr. Joe Morello. The guy that made people sing the drum solo due to the massive hit material of Dave Brubeck Quartet’s in “Time Out”.

As it occurs, I’m really trying to get my feet on the ground on jazz comping. My opinion is that -as in everything we do- you gotta find the sound that suits for you. It would be like an example you can always steal and rely on.

Being a rock drummer myself, you can tell that comping is not my strong suit. I took me years to throw away the concept of playing swing without thinking strictly the ride pattern. I believe that’s a major step. But in the long way I still have I have the difficult task to make my kit sound good while doing so.

Enter Joe Morello, the guy with the rockiest bass drum and tom tuning during the ’60s jazz era. It’s easy to tell when its him banging the skins mainly due to his signature tom phrasing tonality.

I ‘ve never seen the Dave Brubeck Quartet play a standard before and I’m glad this upload exists cause you can really delve into Morello’s thinking. Like most of the drummers I like he’s always on the hunt for THAT lick tha will make every song part bounce and feel light/heavy/danceable whatever you name it.

He’s got the sound I would go after… I’ll see you again in 50 years then…