Instruments #4: The ‘Bock-A-Da-Bock’ or Hand Cymbal, 1927-9

About two decades ago, as a curious teenaged jazz drummer, like many listeners keen to explore the earlier forms of the music I first alighted on Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven records. I started there partly because I already knew some of Louis’s later work, and because I’d read about these early records’ … Continue reading Instruments #4: The ‘Bock-A-Da-Bock’ or Hand Cymbal, 1927-9

Instruments #3: The ‘Snapper’-style Snare Drum, early 1920s

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

Heroes #10: Joseph ‘Kaiser’ Marshall, 1899-1948

 “One of the great drummers of the early days of jazz” – Leonard Feather KEY RECORDINGS: With LUCILLE HEGAMIN, 1920-22 With FLETCHER HENDERSON & HIS ORCHESTRA, 1923-29 With McKINNEY’S COTTON PICKERS, 1929 With LOUIS ARMSTRONG, 1929 A select number of individuals in jazz history were awarded honorific ‘noble’ nicknames by their peers; some of these … Continue reading Heroes #10: Joseph ‘Kaiser’ Marshall, 1899-1948

Heroes #9: Chauncey Morehouse, 1902-1980

"The Dixieland drummer[’s] success depends entirely on his own originality" – Chauncey Morehouse KEY RECORDINGS: With THE GEORGIANS, 1922-24 With JEAN GOLDKETTE & HIS ORCHESTRA, 1926-27 With FRANKIE TRUMBAUER & HIS ORCHESTRA, 1927 With BIX BEIDERBECKE & HIS GANG, 1927 In jazz, as in many art forms, certain historical figures occasionally acquire a mythical status, … Continue reading Heroes #9: Chauncey Morehouse, 1902-1980

Instruments #2: Jasper Taylor’s Wooden Washboard, c.1924

The tradition of washboard jazz is a deep and wide-ranging one, with numerous legendary players down the decades occasionally having reason to pop the thimbles on at one time or another in search of a bit of down-home gutsiness, a crowd-pleasing showpiece or simply a lightweight and space-saving alternative to the drumset. But the origin … Continue reading Instruments #2: Jasper Taylor’s Wooden Washboard, c.1924

Heroes #6: William ‘Sonny’ Greer, 1895-1982

“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