Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.
Jazz drummers play time differently.
Some imply time by playing it more lightly while others really emphasize it or “step on it.”
Some drummers play time in a driving, very aggressive manner while others choose a more laid-back approach.
Time can be punctuated with "bombs" and “poly-rhythms” or not interrupted at all by such accents.
The most obvious stylistic examples would be to compare the Swing Era time-keeping of Gene Krupa to that of Max Roach during the Bebop Era to the current styles of Jazz drumming which have been largely influenced by Elvin Jones and Tony Williams.
If the music is very arranged with the instrumentalists playing lots of notes, then a busy drummer would probably not be welcomed in it.
On the other hand, if the music has a great deal of open space, playing more figures or accents behind the time to fill-in might be appropriate.
Other than the cardinal principles of not rushing or dragging, there is no set way for a drummer to go about playing time.
It’s all in how your hear time or, if you will, how you “feel” it.
As drummers develop their own approach to playing time, they tend to build affinities with other drummers who share their view of how time should feel and sound.
The sound part of the equation has to do with choice of cymbals, how the drums are tuned, and how and where accents, fills and solos are played.
While we certainly have undying admiration for the more technical style of time-keeping evidenced by Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson and Joe Morello, and although we had close proximity over the years for observing the approaches of Shelly Manne, Mel Lewis and Stan Levey, we have always had a preference for the time-keeping of Philly Joe Jones and its current exponent, Kenny Washington.
Here’s Philly JJ at work:
Kenny Washington is the drummer on numerous CerraJazz LTD videos:
Another of our favorite drummers playing in the style of Philly Joe Jones is Eric Ineke.
Eric is based in Holland and we first heard his work on a 1981 Criss Cross recording by the late Jazz guitarist, Jimmy Raney, and subsequently on recordings by Dutch Jazz pianist Rein de Graaff, alto saxophonist Herb Geller, who has been based in Germany for many years, and soprano saxophonist David Liebman.
Eric keeps time in a manner that is best described as Philly Joe Jones-lite.
Like Philly, his time-keeping is very insistent, but his accents, background figures and fills are more spaced-out.
He’s not as busy as Philly which serves to make his time-keeping sound even more firm and resolute.
Since 2006, Eric has been leading his own quintet, The JazzXpress, in which his driving time-keeping can be heard in support of some of Holland’s finest, young Jazz musicians: Rik Mol on trumpet and flugelhorn, Sjoerd Dijkhuizen on tenor saxophone, Rob van Bavel on piano and bassist and bass guitarist, Marius Betts.
The JazzXpress’ latest CD is entitled Xpressions in Time [Daybreak DBCHR 75358] and the crackerjack graphics production team at CerraJazz
LTD has developed two videos around audio tracks from the album.
The first of these, Marius Beets’ Boppa [named after the bassist’s son’s baby rhinoceros plush toy], is used in conjunction with a tribute to Jaap van de Kamp’s photographic essay – One Night Stand: Jazzconcerten in
, 1947-1967. See if your ears can pick up Eric switching ride cymbals behind Rob van Bavel’s piano solo beginning at minutes. Nederland
And the same group, this time with Marius on bass guitar, is featured in the following video on Beets’ original composition Aotearoa which has Eric tastefully playing tympani mallets on his drum kit.
At the conclusion of this feature, you will find a video tribute to Eric which includes as its audio track Body Movement, an original composition by Sjoerd Dijkhuizen and Marius Beets which is set to the changes of Body and Soul.
© -Jeroen de Valk, March 2009 - copyright protected; all rights reserved. www.jeroendevalk.nl/
“On November 11968, a 21-years old Dutch carpet salesman and part-time drummer decided to become a full-time musician. His life had become busier and busier, with gigs backing various soloists - among them Hank Mobley - at night and working in his brother's Persian carpet store during the day.
When he was offered a job with the Storktown Dixie Kids, an Eddie Condon-like swing band with an interesting touring schedule, he knew he could quit his day job and concentrate on the music. In 1971, he joined pianist Rein de Graaff's trio, with whom he still accompanies visiting Americans.
His name was Eric Ineke. He entered the music business when jazz was suffering from the British invasion - The Beatles and the Stones were big then, anc jazz's popularity had diminished dramatically - but he managed to survive, playing concerts. "I never did a lot of studio work. I want to be on stage and play; that's what I live for," Ineke states in his fortieth year as a musician.
Ineke soon earned a reputation as a multi-faceted musician - "I play bebop, hard bop and beyond" - with a boundless enthusiasm. On top of that he's a solid professional who's always on time wherever the gig may be and who never complains about life 'on the road.' "Recently, I drove 600 miles from my home in
for one gig with my own band in Jazzclub Unterfahrt in The Hague . No big deal. As long as I car play, I’m just fine." Munich
In those forty years, his groove became deeper and deeper. "I also learned to leave open space, I learned when not to play. And Elvin Jones taught me you don't have to pound away at the beat all the time; when I take an eight-bar solo, you may not notice the amount of bars while I'm at it, but I'll play the exact length of those eight bars."
He took some lessons with John Engels, the country's premier drummer. "He gave me Philly Joe Jones' LP Big Band Sounds, which was a real eye-opener. I was crazy about Philly's phrasing."
In his first years on the road, Dexter Gordon and Johnny Griffin were very helpful. "Dexter wanted me to play like Kenny Clarke, in an earlier style than of Elvin's. While backing him, my time became stronger. I had to be on top of the bear constantly because his time was extremely laid-back. Johnny Griffin asked me to play strong accents with the bass drum. 'Like AT' he said, referring to Art Taylor. I really paid my dues working with
... He would count off an incredible up-tempo, then let the pianist play chorus after chorus, and when you thought: 'I'm exhausted,' he would finally start his own solo and make the whole band burn even more." Griffin
Eric Ineke is mostly self-taught, but is a teacher now himself. For over twenty years he has been teaching young jazz drummers at the Royal Conservatoire in
and the Koorenhu’s, a music school in his home town. The Hague
After accompanying an encyclopedia's worth of jazz giants - just go to www.ericineke.com/, click on 'biography' and then on 'people' - he started leading bands himself. In 1999, Eric became the co-leader of a band with young pianist Wolfert Brederode. "Wolfert said that I should be billed as a co-leader, after having contributed so much to the band."
In 2006, Eric Ineke's JazzXpress came about. "While driving to a gig with David Liebman in
, Antwerp, Belgium Dave said it was about time I started my own hard bop group. 'You should do this, and ask some good youngsters.' That night, Marius Beets was on bass and tenor saxophonist Sjoerd Dijkhuizen came by. Marius said: This is what we've been waiting for!' Sjoerd immediately asked if he could be part of it. Of course he could!"
For the piano chair Eric asked Rob van Bavel, with whom he had developed 'a great rhythmic rapport' after they both had been part of the Piet Noordijk Quartet and the high-energy Jarmo Hoogendijk/Ben van den Dungen Quintet. Young trumpet sensation Rik Mol - just 22 while I'm writing this - was recommended by his former teacher Jarmo Hoogendijk, who had to retire from stage because of a lip injury.
The band's name was made up by Eric's fellow musicians. "They decided that my name should be part of it, and they invented the word Xpress, with the capital X. It looks good on jazz club and festival posters."
Later that same year, the band's first CD was issued: Flames 'n' Fire, on Fred Dubiez's Daybreak Records. "We did compositions I grew up with, by Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter, and some tunes by band members in the same idiom: hard bop and beyond."
David Liebman wrote in his extensive liner notes: ‘Eric is one of my all time favorite drummers and the times we have played together are memorable to me. He is a first class MUSICIAN who knows what is called for at the time as well as being completely dedicated to the art form.’"
Jeroen de Valk,