About ‘Drums In The Twenties’

My name’s Nicholas D. Ball, and I’m a jazz drummer/percussionist living in London.

Having initially studied and played jazz music of various eras and subgenres, since around 2009 I’ve gradually found myself specialising more and more in the drumming styles of the early part of the last century, in particular the hot jazz of the 1920s. This decade forms a crucial and fascinating period in the history of jazz, when the form it would take became truly established, its first geniuses appeared, and the drum set as an instrument was born and took shape. I find the jazz of the 1920s constantly exciting, interesting and even moving, sometimes providing a momentary glimpse into lives lived almost a century ago.

I’m lucky enough to make a living today exclusively from travelling the world (or at least, south-eastern England) performing and recording this music which I have grown to love and respect so much. Most of the time whenever I’m not out on a gig, I’m usually engrossed in a kind of never-ending school project, comprising one part dusty historical research and one part furious woodshedding behind the drums. ‘Drums In The Twenties’ is an outlet for all this effort: the show-and-tell session, if you will, for this absurd self-imposed assignment. Over time I will be posting the products, free and gratis, as and when it’s ready (and I feel like doing it). Posts will be made under various CATEGORIES (see menus on ‘home’ page):

  1. HEROES (Drummers Of The Twenties) – comprising profiles of the most important , influential and interesting players. Usually this will involve a brief overview of their careers up to 1930, along with some tall stories and a bit of musical analysis.
  2. INSTRUMENTS (Drums of The Twenties) – comprising articles about my adventures and misadventures with period drums, cymbals, ‘traps and other equipment.
  3. LIBRARY (Drumming Of The Twenties) – comprising literature, interviews, transcriptions and other resources.

Really I’m doing all this for two reasons:

  • For the curious passer-by: to provide a place where information about this subject is gathered together. When I was getting started I had a  hard time working out who to listen to and what was important: there seemed to be so much – and yet so little – useful information readily available.
  • For myself: for purposes of continued motivation!

Thanks for reading,


DISCLAIMER: Though I have tried to use reliable sources and check facts where possible, I may well have got a few things wrong. If you notice something amiss and you’ve found better information – let me know! All opinions expressed are purely my own and as such are open to question. Photos, sound recordings etc. however are in general not my own. If you own anything I’ve used and you’d prefer I didn’t – again, please get in touch and tell me.

AN APPEAL: ‘DRUMS IN THE TWENTIES’ is available to everybody in the world, for free. It always has been, and it always will be. However, these are extremely difficult times for musicians, and many of us are feeling the economic pinch of a year without work. If you’re a regular reader of these pages and you’d like to chip in whatever you can afford to put towards the ongoing costs of maintaining and growing this site, it’d be very, very warmly appreciated. You can do so using the Paypal button below.

Many, many thanks. Nick

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