Before I start today’s article, an admission. When I was first planning ‘Drums In The Twenties’, one concern was that I didn’t want it to become solely an outlet for thinly-disguised bragging about vintage drum gear – something by which the internet is already well served. Speaking honestly, I don’t really have that much interest … Continue reading Instruments #3: The ‘Snapper’-style Snare Drum, early 1920s
The 1920s drumming Heroes we’ve met so far, whilst all Americans, represent a quite diverse demographic. Some, such as Zutty Singleton and Baby Dodds, grew up in working-class black neighbourhoods in the South, their grandparents likely to have been born as slaves. Others, like Vic Berton, were raised in the North in comfortable, even opulent, … Continue reading Library #5: Where Are All The Heroines?
The great New Orleans bass player George 'Pops' Foster (1892-1969) played with almost every great black jazz artist in the 'twenties at some point or other, including King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory, 'Red' Allen, Sidney Bechet, Luis Russell and many others.He also left an autobiography rich in detail and humour, a … Continue reading Library #2: ‘The Bassist’s Perspective’: Pops Foster on Drums in the ‘Twenties
I’m going to kick off this series of articles about drum equipment from the ‘twenties - and more specifically those few period instruments I’ve managed to find or make, and use day to day - with the one piece of kit which has had the biggest impact on my working life and which always causes … Continue reading Instruments #1: The Barry ‘Collapsible’ Bass Drum, c.1919
‘Drums In The ‘Twenties’ Transcript of Warren 'Baby' Dodds interviewed by Frederic Ramsey Jr. for Folkways Records in 1946 BABY DODDS: “…I should say, I’ve been through - actually from drum pad… to solos. Now that’s all the way, that takes every bit of it. From drum pad is where you start; no drum, no … Continue reading Library #1: ‘Drums In The ‘Twenties’ : The Dodds Interview
“We were a pretty wild bunch in those days, myself in particular” – Sonny Greer KEY RECORDINGS: With DUKE ELLINGTON AND HIS KENTUCKY CLUB ORCH. / WASHINGTONIANS, 1924-30 Some of the great drummers of the ‘twenties gained their reputations as journeymen, able to slot seamlessly into a wide variety of musical ensembles and consequently to … Continue reading Heroes #6: William ‘Sonny’ Greer, 1895-1982
“Away down in Chicago / There is a name, that’s bound to gain fame / He is a brown, known over town / He’s Jasper Taylor, Jasper Taylor” – Julia Davis, ‘Jasper Taylor Blues’ KEY RECORDINGS: With [W.C.] HANDY’S ORCHESTRA OF MEMPHIS (1917) With JELLY ROLL MORTON & HIS ORCHESTRA (1923) With JIMMIE O’BRYANT / … Continue reading Heroes #4: Jasper Taylor, 1894-1964