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The Drums
band, of course, and on the tympani, and for special build-up effects in finales on the cymbal,"
The use of wire brushes in place of drumsticks enabled the drummer to achieve a softer, smoother, more legato sound that was especially effective on ballads. The date of origin of the brushes is in doubt, though white musicians certainly used them during World War I. "The first pair of brushes I ever had,M says Zutty, "were sent from Chicago by Manuel Perez to Louis 'Old Man* Cotrelle, the drummer with Piron. I studied his work a lot in the early days. But Cotrelle didn't care about them and gave them to me, and those were the first wire brushes I ever saw in my life, around 1921. Before that, you had to get your soft effects just by controlling your touch with the sticks."
Tony Sbarboro (Spargo), who reached New York with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in February 1917, attests that he had never seen a pair of wire brushes before this time. In earlier years, in New Orleans, the function of the drummer was simpler though his responsibility was greater. Spargo recalls: "At the average dances that we'd play, the picnics, there was no such thing as a piano. We would work with guitars and string bass. You had to keep going, keep filling in as much as possible, and you never thought of a drum solo. You used the sticks because you needed that punch to make up for the missing piano. Because it fell to the drummer to keep the rhythm going, there was no such thing as individuality or distinctive styles among the drum­mers, and no difference between the work of the white and the Negro musicians." Nevertheless, there was a considerable differ­ence between the accomplishments of the percussionists. *Tn April 1919," Spargo continues, "while we were in England, they had a six-piece band with two drummers. They'd never heard of one fellow playing two drums. But we had a guy in New Orleans, Emile Stein, who was the greatest and most ferocious of them all, and who played so many things that he worked from a piano stool, swiveling around on that stool from the tympani to the bells and the snare and everything. He was the first I saw to do that He could play jazz with the best of them and turn around and play high-class cabaret work "
Both Spargo and Singleton recall that Paul Detroit, who later